The Idaho Vandals would probably like to stay away from the south right now. But they’re in the Sun Belt conference, and that’s that.
Idaho did manage to slip past Louisiana-Monroe, but has lost to Louisiana-Lafayette, Troy and Coastal Carolina in recent weeks. In fact, the ’17 Vandals have done a lot of losing, period.
So why are the visitors installed as only-slight underdogs against the Georgia State Panthers, who are 6-4 and hoping to improve their bowl-committee resume on home turf? Maybe it has something to do with the Panthers’ 31-10 loss to Appalachian State last weekend, in which GSU looked totally out-classed against a Sun Belt contender.
But Aaron Duckworth isn’t Jalin Moore, and Idaho represents a completely different – and lower – level of scoring punch than the Mountaineers. No doubt the Panthers were embarrassed by App State, but they’ll be hoping for redemption in front of a home crowd in Atlanta.
Who: Idaho Vandals at Georgia State Panthers
When: Saturday, December 2nd, 2 PM EST
Where: Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Lines: Idaho (+4) vs GSU (-4) / O/U Total: (47)
The soggy-potato quality of the Idaho offense is reflected in the O/U. If bookies don’t expect either team to score a ton of points, then what exactly are the Vandals’ chances?
QB Matt Linehan has struggled at times, despite a nice clean stat line with plenty of yards and almost no giveaways. Duckworth has been much the same, racking up nice rushing totals while Rome collapses. Bad offenses with decent statistics are more of an NFL phenomenon, but it happens in college…especially when a squad plays as much garbage-time as the hapless Vandals have in ’17.
Georgia State must run the ball better to give Conner Manning, who was intercepted last weekend, time to throw. But take a lesson from the Big 12 this season, where blue-collar defenses were able to stop all but the most high-powered opponents.
Against a smaller, slower opponent the Panther defense is an excellent unit at home, recently holding South Alabama and Georgia Southern to a combined 30 points over 8 quarters.
Take GSU against the point spread with at least 2 units of your stake.
This is a competitive, physical, bowl-eligible team playing at home against a doormat. Idaho’s defense is showing signs of life, but this week is the Vandals’ turn to be KO’d by an under-rated ‘D.