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BYU Enemy Scouting Report: Georgia Southern Eagles

BYU travels to Statesboro, Georgia to take on the Eagles of Georgia Southern. Here is an overview to get to know this unfamiliar opponent better.

NCAA Football: Georgia Southern at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Game location: Allen E. Paulson Stadium- Statesboro, GA

Game time/channel: 4pm ET/ESPN+

(Note that you will need an ESPN+ subscription to be able to view this game)

Spread: -20 (BYU)

Head coach: Kevin Whitley (interim), Clay Helton

The Eagles are in the middle of an awkward transition at head coach. Chad Lunsford was fired in late September after starting 1-3. Cornerbacks coach Kevin Whitely has been the interim coach ever since, posting a 2-4 record in that span.

Earlier this month, Georgia Southern announced they were hiring Clay Helton to be their head man of the future. Helton was dismissed from his prestigious job of head coach at USC just a few weeks into this season. Now he takes over a program that is struggling with a 3-7 record. While he isn’t currently roaming the sidelines as the official head coach, he is actively working on the transition.

Helton stayed for seven years as the official head coach of the Trojans. While in L.A., he guided them to two New Year’s Six bowls including a dramatic win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl following the 2016 season.

2021 Season Thus Far

As mentioned, the Eagles are limping to the end of the season with a 3-7 record. They fired their previous head coach after starting 1-3, with their lone win coming against FCS Gardner-Webb. They earned their first win over an FBS team against Arkansas State, beating them 59-33.

They are currently 2-5 in Sun Belt Conference action. Their most recent game was a victory against Texas State, 38-30. They enter their game against BYU with some momentum following that high-scoring victory.

2021 Team Rankings

Scoring offense: 108th

Total offense: 96th

Passing yards: 122nd

Rushing yards: 20th

Scoring defense: 103rd

Total defense: 115th

Pass yards allowed: 125th

Rush yards allowed: 74th

Other notable stat- 125th in red zone scoring percentage allowed

Teams score in the red zone (field goals and touchdowns) 93.9 percent of the time against Georgia Southern’s defense.

SP+ ranking: 116

BYU checks in at 41st in ESPN’s SP+ rankings.

Biggest Strength- Rushing offense

The Eagles boast a multi-pronged rushing attack led by running back Logan Wright. They run almost a shotgun version of the classic triple option. Four different players have at least 50 carries this season thus far. They have a top 20 rushing offense in the country. Quarterback Justin Tomlin also gets involved, as he has 195 rushing yards and two touchdowns this season. BYU’s defense will need to be well-prepared and disciplined, as they are 76th in yards per carry allowed.

Biggest Weakness- Pass defense

Georgia Southern has one of the worst passing defenses in the country. They allowed 405 yards passing to South Alabama and 364 to Arkansas. Jaren Hall and company are likely the most talented offense the Eagles have faced this season. With Puka and Samson Nacua along with a hopefully healthy Gunner Romney, the Cougars should be licking their chops at a chance for a big day through the air in Statesboro.

Best Player- Logan Wright, RB

Wright spearheads an impressive rushing attack for the Eagles. He has 122 carries for 711 yards and six touchdowns through 10 games. He averages 5.8 yards per carry, one of the best averages in the country, right around names like Bijan Robinson from Texas and even BYU’s own Tyler Allgeier.

How BYU Can Win

The formula is pretty simple for a BYU victory- control the game on offense and take advantage of opportunities for explosive plays. Given how many yards and points Georgia Southern’s defense allows, there will be plenty of chances. Plus, BYU boasts one of the best running backs in college football in Tyler Allgeier. With how dominant he has been against talented Power 5 defenses, there is no reason to believe Allgeier can’t impose his will on the Eagles.

BYU’s defense will need to be ready for a multi-faceted, tricky running attack by the Eagles. As long as they don’t allow big chunks on the ground, the Cougars will win comfortably.