Georgia Southern, ranked No. 1 and No. 17 UT-Chattanooga, ranked No. 14 before last week’s loss, will tangle it up at Paulson Stadium and UTC will seek its first conference win of the season and third win overall. Georgia Southern is beginning a stretch of three straight home games but will then hit the road and face Appalachian State at the end of the month and Wofford on the road two weeks later.
The Georgia Southern Eagles have not won a Southern Conference title since 2004 but the Eagles currently sit 3-0 in conference play 4-0 overall and are ranked No. 1 in the FCS Coaches poll. The Eagles offense is clicking to the tune of nearly 48 points per game and is racking up over 500 yards per contest. Jaybo Shaw is the trigger-man for the offense and last week passed for three scores with 110 yards for a team that churns up rushing yards. Robert Brown and Dominique Swope both notched double-digit carries in the 41-14 victory over Elon as the Eagles rushed for 317 yards. Swope had two touchdowns while Brown rushed for a score. Ezayi Youyoute, JJ Wilcox and Jerick McKinnon are also lethal in the backfield. McKinnon leads the team with six touchdowns, five rushing and one receiving.
Chattanooga meanwhile enters the affair with Georgia Southern after blowing a 24-point halftime lead in a 28-27 loss to The Citadel. BJ Coleman helped helped the Mocs to an early lead with 253 yards passing and a score but threw a pair of interceptions to aid The Citadel’s comeback bid. For the season Coleman has thrown six interceptions to match his six touchdowns despite completing 60 percent of his passes. Ron Moore broke out in his first game of the year against The Citadel but Coleman will likely be looking Joel Bradford’s way this Saturday.
Defensively the two teams will look for pressure from the front seven and Chattanooga will be relying on Joshua Williams. This season the junior defensive end has racked up four sacks and five QB hurries and has lived in the opposition’s backfield. Sophomore linebacker Wes Dothard leads the team in tackles for loss with seven. Expect those two to try and disrupt the Georgia Southern offensive attack. If Williams can pressure Shaw to run or pitch outside, Dothard or senior linebacker Ryan Consiglio should be able to wrap up.
The Georgia Southern defense has some playmakers in senior DB Laron Scott who finished with ten tackles and two pass break-ups against Elon and Brent Russell. The junior defensive tackle Russell came away with a sack and another TFL against Elon and has 3 sacks on the season and 6.5 TFL. Deion Stanley is the Eagles leading tackler so far this season. Michael Butler, John Douglas and Josh Gebhardt can also get after the quarterback.
Fletcher Proctor is Assistant Managing Director at Score Atlanta, a full service Atlanta-based sports marketing company and media partner with GPB Sports.