PSA: My thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by Hurricane Florence. Despite the time change earlier in the week to noon, I was thinking that the game would eventually be canceled. While Florence is still dangerous due to flooding, the impact on the upstate won’t be as bad as initially thought and it will arrive later than anticipated. Therefore, the game will rightly go on at the earlier time of noon on Saturday. If you have any doubts about coming to the game, err on the side of safety.
Coach Swinney’s mantra about Georgia Southern being a four quarter game that will test Clemson is not merely coach speak to keep the team focused – the Eagles have the potential to upset the Tigers and at the very least keep the game competitive into the fourth quarter.
The Eagles are a lesser known and only slightly less dominant version of Appalachian State that won six national championships before moving up to the FBS level.
The former head coach is gone along with several staff members, the interim coach was promoted to head coach (Chad Lunsford), they landed the top recruiting class in the Sun Belt, and they Eagles are currently 2-0.
Georgia Southern was once coached by Paul Johnson and running the ball is as sacred as Howard’s Rock is to the Tigers, but the Eagles offense will look different than Georgia Tech’s next Saturday. Instead of the flexbone, the Eagles will run the ball out of shotgun and pistol formations similar to New Mexico. They look like the spread-to-run teams commonly seen in college football, but with less passing and more veer influences. The coaching change also switched their defense to a base 3-4 predicated on speed with experienced players.
Coach Swinney praised their sophomore quarterback Shai Werts from Newberry HS – a player that he said Clemson offered as an athlete that also turned down a scholarship to South Carolina. Although their identity as a team is built around running the football, they are capable of passing when the situation calls for it.
Georgia Southern has six players on the 2018 Preseason Sun Belt All Conference Team (1stor 2nd). Senior defensive end Logan Hunt and junior cornerback Monquavion Brinson represent the Eagles on the first team.
Three seniors represent the Eagles on the second team along with junior kicker Tyler Bass: Running back Wesley Fields, tight end Ellis Richardson, and center Curtis Rainey.
Clemson is favored by 33.5 points, and the Over/Under line is 47 per betfirm.com. Given the impending hurricane (regardless of the weather) – this should be a fast and low scoring affair.
Prediction: Clemson 35 Georgia Southern 6