First off, I would like to start off by giving New Mexico State their credit. New Mexico State has a talented ball club, and if they cut down on the mental errors, they should easily qualify for their first bowl appearance since 1960.
We did not see Larry Rose III Saturday, but we did see Tyler Rogers throw for 382 yards. We saw Rose’s backfield partner, Jason Huntley terrorize the Georgia Southern defense on the ground, and through the air. Huntley combined for 172 all-purpose yards on 27 touches, 11 of which were catches out of the backfield. Anthony Muse and Gregory Hogan torched the Eagles secondary on several occasions.
But the story Saturday was not what the Aggies did, it was what the Eagles didn’t do. In what has to be one of the worst attended homecoming games I have ever seen, Tyson Summers failed to make halftime adjustments necessary to beat NM State. They ran away with it in the 2nd half.
The program is continuing its downward spiral. 0-5 for the first time.
With play calling which can only be described as bordering on insanity, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Costantini would dial up blitz after blitz, just to get torched Tyler Rogers repeatedly. The most maddening part of it was that the front four was getting pressure on Rogers without blitzing. There was no need to expose the secondary, time after time.
Lead by Raymond Johnson and Logan Hunt; the defensive line was able to get three sacks, 7 TFLs, and 5 QB pressures on the day. If the Eagles had merely dropped back into man coverage with an umbrella over the top, then perhaps Tyler Rogers would have forced a few more throws into tight spaces. He had six picks against App State and two more on Saturday.
It is unfortunate enough to lose your homecoming game, but in front of a sparse crowd of 16,278, makes it seem worse. Apathy is somehow more stinging than anger to me. In case you are new to this, if Georgia Southern stops caring about its football program, something is seriously wrong. The football program is integral to the school’s identity.
That’s two years in a row of lost homecoming revenue after last year’s Thursday night game vs. Louisiana, that game had only 16,786. A Thursday night homecoming game is bad enough, to follow it up with last night’s debacle? Let’s just say; I needed a few drinks to cool off before writing this.
Yesterday was the first Saturday home game in Statesboro since December 3rd vs. Troy of last year. It certainly lends credence to the theory that Tom Kleinlein is not the best at putting together schedules, but I digress.
Homecoming in Statesboro is supposed to be a special time and place.
It’s October. The oppressive south Georgia summer heat starts to subside. The fraternities and sororities are decked out in full regalia. The smell of grilled meat, beer, and football are in the air. Anyone connected to the University likes to make the yearly trek back to Statesboro to relive the glory days, if only for a weekend.
When fans don’t want to experience that slice of Valhalla on Earth, folks, I don’t know what to tell you. I hadn’t been to homecoming in two years, and it hurts my soul.
Where do we go from here?
New Mexico State needs to go 3-2 down the stretch, and they’ll be bowl eligible. Possible trip to the Arizona Bowl is staring them in the face.
Well, that’s a guessing game.
Could they be waiting for the 7th loss when they officially become ineligible for a bowl game? Possibly.
Could they be waiting till after the David Dean/Rance Gillespie lawsuit resolves itself? I obtained court documents that state that the judge in the case filed a motion on Friday 10/13. So it could be close to being resolved. It remains a black cloud that projects a less-than-savory image to the college football coaching community.
Losses to Georgia State and App State? Well, those both seem inevitable at this point. Why wait?
The lack of political instincts exhibited by Tom Kleinlein during this Hindenburg of a season continues to baffle me. Most FBS ADs wouldn’t think twice before dumping an unpopular coach to save face.
I’m out of answers. I am out of vodka. I am out of patience, and so is Eagle Nation.