Week 2 Game Preview: SLU @ South Alabama

On Saturday, September 2nd, the Lions of Southeastern Louisiana University travel to Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, for a matchup with the University of South Alabama Jaguars. Both teams are coming off double-digit win seasons, and lost their first matchups of the year, so both teams are coming in hungry and looking for that first win. With this being an FCS vs FBS matchup, South Alabama is heavily favored, having an 87.7% chance of victory, per ESPN analytics.

Southeastern comes off a 48-7 defeat on the road up in Starkville. The Lions kept things close and interesting in the first half, and went into halftime down 17-7, but Mississippi State came out and put up 31 in the second half while the Lions couldn’t do anything. Coach Frank Scelfo was not enthusiastic about his teams performance, but was happy with some individual performances. Harlan Dixon looked sharp out there, running for 51 yards, but unfortunately for the Lions, USA has a good run defense. We will see the quarterbacks for the Lions forced to throw downfield more, something that wasn’t really established well last Saturday, as almost every completion was a checkdown last week. SLU comes in with both the 1st and 2nd team Preseason All-Conference quarterbacks, who will rotate drives again like last week, so we should see some downfield passes this week. It is likely that we will see Zachary Clement get the nod to start the game, as was the case last week. USA looked pretty shaky in pass defense, allowing Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt to complete 14-15 passes for 294 yards and 4 touchdowns. SLU needs to take the Green Wave’s lead in order to move the ball consistently.

Jaguars quarterback Carter Bradley did not perform well last week, throwing for under 200 yards and 1 touchdown against 2 interceptions in a 37-17 loss. Southeastern has a young and inexperienced secondary, so South Alabama needs Bradley to step up and make plays with his arm this week to ensure a win. Both teams have much better run defense versus pass defense. Ball security will also be preached to USA’s offense, as in addition to the two Bradley interceptions, the Jaguars offense put the ball on the ground three times and lost all three. Likewise, Tulane also lost three fumbles, so SLU better hope their ballcarriers can hold onto the rock this week. SLU fumbled 4 times against Mississippi State but only lost one.

It’s too early to say how both teams’ defenses will hold up, as both teams played superior teams in week 1. SLU didn’t cover well, but did not have many issues tackling and even recorded a sack. The defensive woes for USA look about the same. It’ll be a more competitive game for both teams this week than last.

The game will air on ESPN+ at 4 PM CT.