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Don't fool yourselves, Southern deserved to lose this
Favian Upshaw eludes Arkansas State defenders in Wednesday night's loss.

Watching red-eyed and tired in the newsroom, I thought I may have been lucid dreaming when I saw Omar Bayless catch that horridly thrown pass to put Arkansas States up one with less than 10 seconds left.
    What on earth was this? Arkansas State is not a good team. Like, they’re objectively horrible. This was a team that was beaten by Central Arkansas last week, a team I was previously unaware had a football team.
    I, having no affiliation to Georgia Southern other than being a media member, was actually hurt by that loss.
    Keep in mind I’m a South Carolina fan. It takes a lot to hurt me when it comes to football. I mean, a lot. I know heartbreak and disappointment. And this got to me.
    I think concerns about this team became clear from the first game when Georgia Southern struggled to break off big runs against a pitiful Savannah State squad in week one. Then came the South Alabama game in week two, where the offense looked average at best and the defense was consistently on their heels.
    UL-Monroe made my concerns grow worse, as it took a tipped field goal to win that game against a 1-3 team that may finish 2-10. Western Michigan is when the doors really started to fall down and the flaws for Georgia Southern became super exposed -- but I couldn’t even have seen this debacle coming.
    For those of you familiar with my work, I focus on the “five factors” of football when evaluating teams. If you don’t know what they are, refer back to my columns on to help explain what I’m about to say.
    Arkansas State was one of the five worst teams in offensive success rate, drive finishing and average field position while also being a bottom-25 team in turnovers and explosiveness. Simply put, Arkansas State was 0-4 for a reason. This wasn’t a team that caught a bunch of bad breaks over four games. They’re simply bad.
    Saying all that, Arkansas State averaged a whopping 7.3 yards per play last night. That’s an incredible amount considering Arkansas State came into this game averaging 4.7, which was ranked 106th in the country. Let that sink in.
    Then, the team that ranked last in success rate in the country coming into this game (31.5 percent) posted a 50 percent success clip against the Georgia Southern defense. That’s every other play being successful. Based on explosiveness and efficiency alone, Georgia Southern should have lost this game by 40 points.
    Where in the world did this offensive explosion come from? Georgia Southern and their defensive minded head coach Tyson Summers had over a week to prepare for this offense and
    they ran wild over the Eagle defense. Especially on the ground against a Georgia front seven that was supposed to be the strength of the unit.
    Arkansas State ran for seven yards a pop on Georgia Southern. Coming into this game Arkansas State was ranked in the bottom 10 in all seven advanced stat rushing statistics. Let that one sink in too.
    Once your done comprehending just how bad of a defensive performance this was for Georgia Southern, make some room for this nugget. This game was not as close as one score indicates. Georgia Southern was thoroughly whipped in this game. Up-and-down the field.
    As a matter of fact, I’ll go as far as to say Georgia Southern got their butts caved in. The only reason this game was close was because of turnovers.
    Turnovers are a product of luck for the most part, and that couldn’t ring more true in this game. All three fumbles could have hit the ground and rolled any number of ways, it just so happened those balls bounced into the hands of a Georgia Southern defender. When you leave it up to physics and a ball shaped to have no rhyme-or-reason -- the ball favors no one once it hits the ground.
    Even on the first interception, when that ball is tipped it could fly any thousands of numbers of ways. It just so happened that physics and gravity caused the ball to fall near where Joshua Moon was close enough to dive under it. Good for him, but it was all by chance.
    Even still, it’s a huge indictment on the Georgia Southern offense that they had all of those turnovers and still couldn’t take advantage of any of them. Georgia Southern went inside the Arkansas State 40 yard line five times and came away with four field goals. That’s a losing formula folks.
    I saw many fans on Twitter lament Summers going for it on fourth down early in the game, well I commend him for it. Settling for field goals will lose you games and it happened right before your eyes Wednesday night. If Georgia Southern converts 4th-and-2 twice and comes away with two touchdowns in five trips instead of four field goals -- that’s the difference between a win and a loss.
    If Arkansas State was as lucky as Georgia Southern was to recover three fumbles, this game wouldn’t have been close. Georgia Southern just got smacked around by a bad team, and it needs to be said so someone can wake up and try to fix these problems.
    Oh, and the schedule gets so much harder from here on out. So unless Georgia Southern doesn’t want to be sitting at home come bowl time, coach Summers and his staff have a lot to fix before next week’s road trip to Georgia Tech.