How good is Georgia Southern?

It is the middle of November and this coming Saturday the Mids have a team boasting a lofty 8-2 record coming to Annapolis. If this were a BCS school from one of the power five conferences this would obviously be a huge deal, so does the fact that it is Georgia Southern boasting that record and not say a Purdue or a Georgia Tech make it less interesting?

The Eagles though are an interesting story themselves this fall. In their first year in the Sun Belt Conference, Georgia Southern started the season 1-2 before getting on a roll. They visit Navy on the back of seven straight wins and have shown an ability to put up big scoring days together out of their run first, option attack.

This will be a battle of option versus option, and purely by the numbers you would have to say that the Golden Eagles version of the attack has been the most effective to this point. The game will feature the number one rushing attack by yards in the nation against the number two rushing offense. Georgia Southern wins this battle by almost 26 yards per game. Strangely enough it also features the 125th best passing attack (Georgia Southern) against the 126th best (Navy).

Where the numbers differ though is in the category of per game scoring offense. Navy has struggled at times to finish drives this season and as a result they rank just 52nd in the country with 31.8 points per game. Georgia Southern, however, has run the option offense much more effectively in the red zone and they are currently 8th best in the nation when it comes to points per game scoring, averaging just under 43 points each time out. That 11 point difference is what the Mids will be hoping to make up on Saturday.

The timing of this game is another interesting factor. The Mids are coming off of a bye week after the emotional up and down loss against Notre Dame. The Eagles are coming off of their worst statistical display offensively of the season in a game where Texas State scored the last 15 points to almost come back and upset the Sun Belt leaders. Navy needs to win to boost their bowl hopes, while Georgia Southern needs the win to legitimize their season and pick up an out of conference win over an FBS school.

In summary this is not a team to be taken lightly. The Eagles actually received a vote in the “others receiving votes” section of the AP poll this week, a stunning achievement for a school technically still in transition to FBS play. They run the ball well and only lost to an 8-2 Georgia Tech team by four points earlier this fall. It looks set to be a close, evenly fought game where the team which makes the fewest mistakes wins. If you like option football then this is the game to watch on Saturday afternoon.

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