Georgia Southern took a major fall back to earth and finished 2-10 last season. Chad LUnsford took over halfway through the season and will be a full-time head coach for the first time in his career after serving in various roles at GSU since 2013. The Eagles have an over/under on the cusp of a bowl Game at 5.5 wins with +1400 odds to win the Sun Belt (as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook).
The Eagles ran the ball fine last year en route to 222 rushing yards per Game, but without much passing that only led to 20.8 points per Game. With sophomore quarterback Shai Werts having a full season under his belt, improvement should be made all around with new coordinator Bob DeBesse (New Mexico) hopefully the answer. They’ll still run some form of the triple-option, which is what Werts is there for. Behind a line that returns three seniors including standout center Curtis Rainey, more success is possible in the running Game. Werts (722 yards) and top running back Wesley Fields (811 yards, 5 TDs) will be the main benefactors along with backup Monteo Garrett (243 yards). When passing, Werts at least has options between last year’s leader Malik Henry and sophomore Wesley Kennedy.
The Eagles are moving to a 3-4 defense under new coordinator SCot Sloan (App. State) and while there could be growing pains, nine starters return to the group. After allowing 32.2 points per Game last year, improvement is close to a guarantee. Seniors Logan Hunt (end) and Tomarcio Reese (linebacker) are the guys that need to step up most in the new formation, while the secondary should be stout. Senior safeties Joshua Moon and RJ Murray form one of the best duos in the Conference and Monquavion Brinson returns at cornerback. This group was much better in the second half of last season and will look to carry that performance over in the 3-4.
After winning only two Games last year, a bowl berth seems like a long shot, but as seen in the odds, it’s more than possible in the Sun Belt. The biggest Games may be in non-Conference because the Eagles could beat both UMass and NMSU. But if they lose both, winning five Games in the Sun Belt will be difficult, mostly because they host the three best teams in the conference: Arkansas State, App. State and Troy. It also doesn’t help that GSU closes the season with five road Games in its last seven and three of its last Four. Both sides of the ball are set to improve and the offense should run through most in the conference, but due to Schedule, a six-win season may be a year away for LUnsford in his first full year as head coach.
2018 Georgia Southern Eagles Football Schedule
Sept. 1 vs. South Carolina State
Sept. 8 vs. UMass
Sept. 15 at Clemson
Sept. 29 vs. Arkansas State
Oct. 6 vs. South Alabama
Oct. 11 at Texas State
Oct. 20 at New Mexico State
Oct. 25 vs. Appalachian State
Nov. 3 at UL Monroe
Nov. 10 vs. Troy
Nov. 17 at Coastal Carolina
Nov. 24 at Georgia State