Things are changing in Statesboro…again.
Only a few years after Flexbone disciple Jeff Monken coached the Georgia Southern Eagles to an incredible FCS-over-SEC upset against the Florida Gators, GaSo found itself playing an ordinary brand of football and losing to ordinary Sun Belt teams in 2017.
As one FBS head coach recently said, “Georgia Southern is an easy job to figure out. Every time they try to change what makes them Georgia Southern, they pay for it.” Following that maxim, the school gave hard-nosed assistant coach Chad Lunsford a spin after firing former HC Tyson Summers.
The Summers-less Eagles have committed to running the ball and patiently waiting for the defense to get better. 3 straight losses turned the volume up on the coaching-carousel talk. But in the last 2 weeks, the squad appeared to turn a corner, and administrators rewarded Lunsford with an official head coaching contract this week.
The new skipper will try to score a road victory with his rejuvenated roster this Saturday, as GaSo travels to face a 2-9 Coastal Carolina team.
Who: Georgia Southern Eagles at Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
When: Saturday, December 2nd, 1 PM EST
Where: Brooks Stadium, Conway, SC
Lines: GaSo (-3) at Coastal Carolina (+3) / O/U Total: (53)
The point spread began as a pick’em, and has moved sharply in the Eagles’ direction. Are bettors convinced that Georgia Southern is a brand new team with Lunsford at the helm, or is the action a reflection of the lowly reputation held by Coastal Carolina?
Perhaps more of the latter. Unlike a lot of 2 or 3-win teams in a highly-competitive FBS, the Chanticleers haven’t really shown any signs of life in ’17. Their 2 victories have came against UMass and Idaho, essentially the dregs of the entire division. Coastal Carolina lost to Western Illinois by 42 points…if that gives you an indication of how the program has fared this season.
CCU’s best performance was a 39-38 loss to Arkansas in which WRs Chris Jones and Malcolm Williams combined for over 200 yards receiving. But after QB Kilton Anderson tossed Jones a TD pass to go up by 13 in the 4th quarter, the defense collapsed, allowing 2 late touchdowns.
Worse, the Chanticleers’ opponent on Saturday is not playing like a team on a temporary high with a new coach. Georgia Southern was a talented, but ailing club that is now beginning to look like its usual animal. The Eagles rushed for almost 400 yards in last week’s 34-24 road win over Louisiana-Lafayette, junior Wesley Fields leading the way with 8+ yards per carry.
We’re liking Georgia Southern against the spread or on the money line. Don’t pay attention to the record – just look at how the team is playing right now, and the pick becomes obvious.