WHAT: Arkansas State (5-2, 4-0 Sun Belt) at South Alabama (3-6, 2-3)
WHEN: 4 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile
TV: None (streaming via espn3)
LINE: Arkansas State by 11.5
THIS GAME WILL DETERMINE: If South Alabama has any hope to make a bowl game this season. The Jaguars need to win out to reach the postseason, and must beat arguably the best team in the Sun Belt Conference to get there.
THREE THINGS TO LOOK FOR
1. Will South Alabama stick with one QB? The Jaguars’ revolving door under center continues after Dallas Davis was pulled in favor of Cole Garvin last week against Louisiana-Lafayette. Garvin, who is expected to start on Saturday vs. Arkansas State, was pulled in favor of Dallas three games previously against Troy.
2. Will South Alabama be able to run the ball effectively? The Jaguars ran the ball with decent success against ULL despite the pre-game announcement that leading rusher Xavier Johnson was suspended for the season. Arkansas State is one of the best pass-rushing teams in the country, so USA might need to establish the running game.
3. Can USA’s defense force Arkansas State into mistakes? The Red Wolves are one of the top offensive teams in the Sun Belt, with quarterback Justice Hansen having thrown for 25 touchdowns this year. South Alabama’s best win this season came over Troy, when the Jaguars forced three turnovers on the way to a massive upset.
South Alabama LT Noah Fisher vs. Arkansas State DE Ja’Von Rolland-Jones: Rolland-Jones is approaching the all-time NCAA record for sacks, and Fisher will be the man largely tasked with blocking him. Look for USA to give him a little help with running backs and fellow linemen, but Fisher will need to play at the top of his game.
BY THE NUMBERS
0-5 — South Alabama’s all-time record vs. Arkansas State, one of two current Sun Belt members the Jaguars have played but never beaten (Georgia Southern is the other).
South Alabama offensive lineman D’Tavieus Taylor (knee) is questionable. Arkansas State running back Warren Wand (ankle) is probable.