#77 Georgia Southern Football 2015 Preview

Georgia Southern Eagles

Overall Rank: #77
#2 Sun Belt

Georgia Southern Team Page#77 Georgia Southern Football 2015 PreviewBuy Georgia Southern Football Tickets

Georgia Southern simply dominated the Sun Belt in their first year in the conference. They went 8-0 and looked darn good in the process. Even most of their losses were pretty impressive. On the opening weekend of the season, the newly minted FBS program lost at North Carolina State 24-23. Two weeks later they lost to Georgia Tech by just four. Their final loss came at Navy on November 15th and that was the only game the Eagles did not look good. Year two in the Sun Belt and year two under Coach Willie Fritz could even be better. At the least, it will end in a bowl now that Georgia Southern is eligible.

2014 Record: 9-3, 8-0
2014 Bowl: None
Coach: Willie Fritz (9-3 at Georgia Southern, 146-65 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Doug Ruse
Defensive Coordinator: Jack Curtis

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Matt Breida, RB, 1,485 yards
Passing: Kevin Ellison, QB, 1,001 yards
Receiving: B.J. Johnson, WR, 312 yards
Tackles: Antwione Williams, LB, 66
Sacks: Ryan George, DE, 3.5
Interceptions: Matt Dobson, S, 3

Other Key Returnees: QB Fabian Upshaw, RB L.A. Ramsby, WR Derek Keaton, S Antonio Glover, LB Deshawntee Gallon, DE Bernard Dawson, DT Jamal Johnson

Key Losses: WR Kentrellis Showers, WR Zach Walker, LB Edwin Jackson, OL Garrett Frye, OL Manrey Saint-Amour, OL Logan Daves

This is not your typical triple option offense of the heyday of the FCS era, but it is certainly still a very effective offense on the ground. In fact, no team in the FBS rushed for more yards per game than the Eagles. And all of the top rushers are back, led by Matt Breida and Alfred Ramsby. Breida rushed for 1,485 yards and 17 touchdowns. Seven of those touchdowns came from at least 50 yards out. Ramsby added 691 yards and a dozen touchdown runs. Kevin Ellison is the man in charge of running the read option spread offense. He gained 1,096 yards on the ground and threw for 1,001 more. This offense is not going to throw often, but they do want to go over the top to keep the opposition honest. Receiver B.J. Johnson is the main threat to go deep. The offensive line will have quite a few new faces, but they are at least experienced. Expect UAB transfer Roscoe Byrd to make a big impact right away.

The secondary was a liability in 2013, allowing 234.4 yards per game through the air. Safety Matt Pritchard has made some big plays, but the unit needs better play from cornerbacks Darius Jones and Caleb Williams. Getting pressure from the front four would certainly help. Bernard Dawson and Ryan George will be in charge of that. Linebacker Antwione Williams can get into the backfield too, but he is sliding over to help replace the departed Edwin Jackson.

The Bottom Line:
The expectations may be running away from Georgia Southern a little bit. It will be tough to follow up that 8-0 Sun Belt debut with another 8-0 season. The non-conference slate does not offer many favors either. On top of trips to West Virginia and Georgia, the Eagles host a very good Western Michigan team. The only “easy” non-conference game is against The Citadel. The Sun Belt schedule does not include Louisiana or Arkansas State and that should help this team get to at least seven wins and remain a competitor for a Sun Belt title.

Projected Bowl: GoDaddy Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 381.1 (NR in nation, NR in conference)
Passing Offense: 107.2 (NR, NR)
Total Offense: 488.3 (NR, NR)
Scoring Offense: 39.1 (NR, NR)
Rushing Defense: 153.7 (NR, NR)
Pass Defense: 234.4 (NR, NR)
Total Defense: 388.1 (NR, NR)
Scoring Defense: 23.4 (NR, NR)
Turnover Margin: 0.67 (NR, NR)
Sacks: 2.00 (NR, NR)
Sacks Allowed: 0.42 (NR, NR)


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