The success of the program has been a result of speed and athleticism on both sides of the ball, with leadership from several underclassmen. The shotgun based triple option, paired with a zone blocking scheme has led to a Sunbelt leading 370 yards rushing per game and 41.3 points per game.
Defensively the Eagles lead the Sun Belt as well in scoring defense (21 ppg) and are second in rushing defense behind UL Monroe, only allowing 158 yards on the ground per contest. The Georgia Southern defense has struggled this year against the pass and are tenth in the conference in yardage surrendering 242.4 passing yards a game. They use a 4-3 defense with solid interior lineman and two very athletic LB's, which makes them very strong against the run. The Eagles have struggled to apply pressure with their defensive front and subsequently have to bring the blitz often to apply any kind of pressure.
Players to Watch
QB Kevin Ellison (So.) is a 6'0 190-pound scrambler, who excels at making people miss in the open field. The Eagles aren't afraid to air it out every now and then to keep teams off balance and do a good job of making you think twice about loading the box on them. Look for Ellison to make several quick screens throughout the course of the game along with a few shots down field. Ellison averages 98.1 yards rushing per game and seven yards per rush, with 11 TD's on the ground. Ellison also averages 85 yards through the air and has five touchdowns passing this season.
RB Matt Breida (So.) is a 5'10 185-pound speed back that hits the hole in a hurry with 4.3 explosiveness. With all of the space that the triple option creates for ball carriers, defenses have a tough time trying to coral this shifty back. Ga. Southern does a really good job of getting Breida involved in all aspects of the game, playing the dive back, the pitch back, and even gets involved in the passing game with screen passes and a few wheel routes. Breida is averaging 122.7 yards per game and 8.9 YPC with 13 total touchdowns on the season.
DT Jay Ellison (So.) is a 6'1 305-pound bull who plugs up the middle with his strength, but still has the speed to help in pursuit if needed. Ellison is regarded as one of the best athletes on the defense and should be avoided if possible. Ellison has 26 tackles, 4 TFL, and 2 sacks on the season.
LB Edwin Jackson (Sr.) is a 6'0 230-pound play-maker, who flies from sideline to sideline and is regarded as the best athlete. Jackson is quick to diagnose plays and leads the team with 71 tackles.
LB Atwione Williams (Jr.) is 6'3 245-pounds and is a great athlete in his own right. Williams is obviously a little rangier than Jackson and is used more in the pass rush, leading the team in sacks (3), forced fumbles (2), and tackles for loss (7). Williams is also second in tackles (53) and second in Pass break ups (4).
Keys to Victory
Offensively the Bobcats must revive the passing game to compliment the run. Tyler Jones must develop a pocket presence, stand in there, and deliver strikes. He has the ability to be one of the top quarterbacks in the Sun Belt, and if the coaching staff can get him some easy crossing routes and completions early to develop a rhythm, we could see the revival of the Texas State pass offense from earlier this season.
Defensively Texas State must have a similar game plan to that of which they used against Navy. The Bobcats could struggle to stop the dive, with a weak interior line, but must play assignment football and make one on one tackles. Look for David Mayo and Trey McGowan to get involved early and often, and don't be surprised to see some creative formations from DC John Thompson. The defense will have a tough task against a versatile rushing attack, but can also cause damage if they're are able to create a turnover or two.