The Georgia Southern football team is looking to bounce back and break a two-game losing streak as they travel to Mobile to take on South Alabama in their second conference matchup of the season.
The Eagles extended their losing streak to two after falling to Louisiana 37-24 in the first conference game of the season, putting the Eagles at an overall record of 1-3.
This game against UL was redshirt-junior quarterback Shai Werts’ return to the field after being out since LSU, and his comeback was less than successful. Werts only threw for 37 yards, completing six passes on 12 attempts as well as rushing for 93 total yards. The redshirt-junior fell victim to three sacks against UL.
With coach’s response to Werts’ play, it can be expected that the quarterback will be back in action on Thursday, as his performance was chalked up to just being rusty.
A big returner coming back to the field is junior running back Wesley Kennedy III, who has been out for the past four games due to academic suspension. Now that the junior has served out his suspension, everyone is eager to see him back on the gridiron.
‘He's a guy that’s got a lot of juice,” Head Coach Chad Lunsford said about Kennedy. “He's a guy that's a playmaker force, and has shown that his first two years with us here. Obviously, our team is excited that he's back.”
Kennedy played in all 13 games last season, starting six where he was on the field for 416 total plays. The junior rushed for 495 yards and three touchdowns last season, so there’s a lot of expectations for Kennedy’s return.
The Eagle defense showed to struggle against the Ragin’ Cajun offense, allowing for 37 points and 440 total offensive yards from UL. As a team the defense logged 57 tackles against UL, and proved to be successful in recovering two fumbles off of muffed punts by UL.
“Getting outscored and fourth quarters definitely not what Georgia Southern football needs,” Lunsford said. “On defense we had a lot of missed tackles. We had a lot of situations where we didn't get adjusted to their formations... Too many yards after contact, not wrapping up and making sure that we got the ball carriers down. Got out rushed in the ballgame.”
Safety Donald Rutledge Jr. led the Eagle defense against UL, this being his first big game of the season with 10 tackles and one tackles for loss of three yards as well as notching one pass breakup.
USA is also struggling in the early season, being on a three game losing streak and sitting on an overall record of 1-4.
The Jaguars also opened up their conference play with a loss, falling 17-30 to ULM. While a disappointing loss, USA still put up 142 rushing yards on the Warhawks as well as throwing for 286 yards.
USA’s success with their passing game could pose a problem for the GS defense, as they’ve shown to struggle against passing offenses in the past.
Sophomore quarterback Cephus Johnson has played in all five games for the Jaguars, throwing for 514 yards and rushing for 192 yards on the season. Johnson has rushed for four touchdowns this season as well as throwing for three.
The Eagle defense should also be preparing for senior running back Tra Minter who has led USA this season, rushing for 432 yards on the season and averaging eight yards per carry. The senior has also rushed for two touchdowns on the season.
On the defensive end for the Jaguars, sophomore linebacker Nick Mobley has proven to be a tank on the field, racking up 41 total tackles on the season. Mobley also led the team against ULM where he notched nine tackles as well as a sack for a loss of 11 yards.
The Eagles will be traveling to Mobile, Alabama Thursday, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
Kaitlin Sells, The George-Anne Managing Sports Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org