Chad Lunsford jump-started a lifeless Georgia Southern team in the second half of the 2017 season in his first six games as a head coach at any level, won 10 games in his first full season as a head coach in 2018 (and the program's fourth as a full-time FBS member), and, after a seven-win 2019, has 17 wins in his last 26 games. That's an unbelievable start for a first-time head coach, one that should be celebrated nationally. Instead, it feels like we're entering 2020 with more questions about Georgia Southern football than praise.
Maybe because the Eagles proved themselves in the FCS and made a flawless FBS transition with back-to-back nine-win seasons? We see the potential and want to know what happened during a somewhat disappointing seven-win season?
Georgia Southern, ranked 98th in the HERO Sports Preseason College Football Rankings, return 44 percent of their total production from last year, including 80 percent on offense, led by senior quarterback Shai Werts (above). It's never bad to have returning talent, but without better chain-moving efficiency in third-year coordinator Bob DeBesse's option-based system—31 percent third-down conversion rate—they might find themselves in more one-score games against inferior competition.
Even with four one-score wins (including back-to-back overtime wins), Georgia Southern won a modest seven games after winning 10 in 2018. In 2020, they'll ride a soft second-half schedule to bowl eligibility and beat Georgia State in the regular-season finale (and crush the Panthers' bowl hopes in doing so) to win seven games for the fifth time in seven years.
|Sept. 5||at Boise State||Loss (0-1)|
|Sept. 12||vs. Campbell||Win (1-1)|
|Sept. 19||vs. FAU||Win (2-1)|
|Sept. 26||at Louisiana||Loss (2-2)|
|Oct. 3||at UL Monroe||Loss (2-3)|
|Oct. 14||vs. App State||Loss (2-4)|
|Oct. 24||at Coastal Carolina||Win (3-4)|
|Oct. 31||vs. South Alabama||Win (4-4)|
|Nov. 7||vs. Troy||Win (5-4)|
|Nov. 14||vs. Texas State||Win (6-4)|
|Nov. 21||at Ole Miss||Loss (6-5)|
|Nov. 28||at Georgia State||Win (7-5)|