Texas State Bobcats (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS) vs. Georgia Southern Eagles (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date/Time: Thursday, October 29th, 7:30 PM EST
Where: Paulson Stadium
By Mike M., NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Tex St +21 / Ga. South -21
Over/Under Total: OFF
Texas State heads north to take on Georgia Southern in a Thursday night Sun Belt conference battle under the lights in Statesboro.
Georgia Southern enters the game with a 5-2 record and is coming off a 31-13 loss at Appalachian State last week, the first time they have fallen to a conference foe since joining the Sun Belt conference for the 2014 season. The team has responded well to losses in the recent past; after three defeats last season they came back strong the following week and outscored their opponents a combined 133-31, and after losing to West Virginia to open 2015 they beat Western Michigan the next week 43-17 despite being a near touchdown underdog.
The Eagles have continued their dominant running attack from last years team that ended the season ranked first overall, as this year they again hold the top spot in the NCAA in rushing yards with 368.8 per game, which is at least 30 more yards per than any other team in the country. Junior quarterback Kevin Ellison leads the Georgia Southern variation of the spread-read option attack, and after being suspended for the first two games of the season has performed well since, rushing for 376 yards and six touchdowns on 48 carries. He is joined in the backfield by running backs Matt Breida, L.A Ramsby and Wesley Fields, all of whom have each contributed at least five rushing touchdowns this season. Breida is the cream of the crop, running for 953 yards and 11 touchdowns on 100 carries so far this year after leading the team in 2014 with 1,485 yards and seventeen touchdowns, and will look to continue his strong season against an overmatched Texas State defense that ranks 124th nationally against the run.
Head coach Dennis Franchione is now in his fifth season as the Texas State head coach, which should not be confused with the Texas State Armadillos from the movie Necessary Roughness, a team that was coached by Robert Loggia and starred Scott Bakula as quarterback, Sinbad as a dominant defensive lineman and Kathy Ireland as placekicker. Franchione has had his fair share of movie-type drama throughout the past 15 years of his coaching career, starting in 2000 with TCU. After leading the Horned Frogs to a 10-1 season, Coach Fran told the team and fans he wasnt going anywhere, and then took a job with Alabama days later. TCU wouldnt let him coach in their bowl game due to his betrayal, especially after he wore an Alabama colored tie to the Heisman trophy ceremony that year in supposed support of his star running back Ladainian Tomlinson. He lasted two years at Alabama, and then after secretly interviewing for the Texas A&M coaching position and accepting the job offer, he never returned to Tuscaloosa and instead decided to show his love and loyalty to his players by telling them that he was bailing on them by video tele-conference, which is the modern day equivalent of dumping someone by text message. The Crimson Tide faithful responded well to this betrayal by holding multiple rallies to smash the bounty of Franchione bobblehead dolls that remained at the school, including one where anyone could pay $5 to hit one of the dolls with a golf club. Five years later he resigned (rather than be fired) from Texas A&M after leading the team to just a 32-28 record, but it was his borderline illegal activity that had a lot to do with his being run out of town. It seems Coach Fran was selling a newsletter for $1,200 annually to donors and alumni that included information such as the firing of assistant coaches before the coaches themselves were notified and even more damning, specific injury information on players that was not released to the general public which in turn could be/was used for a large advantage when gambling on A&M games. The stank of the newsletter scandal followed Franchione for a few years after leaving Texas A&M as he was later turned down for jobs at San Diego State and UNLV before finally getting hired at Texas State.
The Bobcats are coming off just their second win of the year after beating South Alabama 36-18 last week and taking out all-mighty Prairie View A&M in week two. Unfortunately it wasnt all good news for Texas State as they lost both starting right guard Felix Romero and second-string running back Chris Nutali to injuries that will cause them to miss the remainder of the season. This could be a serious detriment to the offense, which much like Geo.South also runs a variation of the option attack and relies strongly on their running game, which ranks 19th overall in the NCAA, to generate offense. Bobcats quarterback Tyler Jones, who has run for 418 yards and six touchdowns to go along with 1,259 yards passing and seven touchdowns on the season so far, will certainly have his work cut out for him Thursday attempting to keep pace with the Eagle offense.
After losing last week I expect Georgia Southern to continue to come back strong after suffering a defeat and take advantage of a terrible Texas State defense that is 125th in the NCAA in total D and 124th in points allowed. Georgia Southern has played well at home of late, covering in six of their last eight games at Paulson Stadium and should continue to build upon that success against an overmatched Texas State squad. On a Thursday night highlighted by TCU vs. West Virginia and Patriots vs. Dolphins, go with Georgia Southern in a game that will probably only be watched by alumni and those who wagered on it.
Mikes Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Georgia Southern -21
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