Georgia Southern vs. Liberty: FBC Mortgage Cure fearless prediction and game preview.
Georgia Southern vs. Liberty: FBC Mortgage Cure Broadcast
Georgia Southern (7-5) vs. Liberty (7-5) Game Preview
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Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl
– Georgia Southern is still relatively new to this whole bowl thing – it’s still relatively new to this FBS thing having made the move up to the big leagues in 2014 – but it’s been good so far in the bowl games. It’s only been in two of them, but it rocked Bowling Green 58-27 in the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl, and it came up with a whale of a win last year in the walk-off field goal 23-21 win over Eastern Michigan in the Camellia.
It’s a fun team with a fun offense – at least, it is when it’s working – that was good enough to hand Appalachian State its only loss of the season.
– Liberty has only been a part of the FBS college football world for the last few years, and now it’s in its first bowl game, head coach Hugh Freeze is the highest paid head coach outside of the Power Five schools, and the program is getting a national stage to play on.
Like Georgia Southern, this is a fun team with a. fun offense – at least, it is when it’s working – that was good enough to blow out a solid Buffalo team and at least hang with BYU.
– It’s validation time. Liberty won seven games, but two of them came against FCS schools, two of them came against New Mexico State, and two came against New Mexico and UMass teams that were among the worst in the nation.
Georgia Southern might have beaten Appalachian State, but it took the momentum of that game and got rocked in a 49-28 loss to Troy – this has been one uneven team. Win, and that would make it eight wins or more in four of the five seasons at the higher level.
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Why Georgia Southern Will Win
– Can Liberty stop the run? Sort of, but not really. Most teams that didn’t crank out the big rushing yards against the Flames spent most of their time getting the passing attack rolling. LU defensive front isn’t bad, but it couldn’t handle the Louisiana spread attack – giving up over 400 rushing yards – and had issues with New Mexico’s run-only attack.
Georgia Southern’s option attack hasn’t been quite as devastating as it was in year’s past, but it’s still averaging over five yards per carry.
– Liberty might never have the ball. It’s a fast-paced offense that likes to keep defenses on its heels, and time of possession just doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of what it does, but that plays right into the Georgia Southern game plan. The offense likes to go on long, grinding marches if it can – it should have the ball for over 35 minutes.
– The Eagles should dominate the field position game, partly because of their offense, and partly because of their punting game. Freshman Anthony Beck has had a terrific season averaging close to 42 yards per kick, and with limited attempts – just eight returns – the Eagles are getting big yards with a touchdown boosting a 14.6-yard average. Liberty? It has one of the nation’s worst punting game and its returners are only averaging 1.25 yards per try.
Why Liberty Will Win
– The passing game is the real deal – as it’s supposed to be under Hugh Freeze. Stephen Calvert is good for 200 passing yards or more per game, and he’s been careful with the ball with just two interceptions – both in the loss to Virginia – over the last ten games of the season.
He’s a terrific veteran, and he gets a showcase game along with his top target, Antonio Gandy-Golden, a 6-4 deep threat who caught 74 passes for 1,333 yards with nine scores. They should go off, because …
– The Georgia Southern secondary can be lit up. It was hit for 270 yards or more for five straight games before shutting down the Georgia State offense. Great passing attacks beat this team, giving up a 60% completion rate or more in all five losses. Liberty is 4-0 when it connects on 60% of its throws.
– Yeah, Georgia Southern runs well, but it doesn’t move the chains, it doesn’t convert on third downs, and there’s absolutely no passing game to worry about. Liberty’s defense isn’t anything special, but it can get behind the line and it can be disruptive. Get up fast on the Eagles, and they’re in huge trouble.