2023 Limestone vs West Georgia

Gulf South Football Returns: Limestone Vs. West Georgia Preview

Gulf South Football Returns: Limestone Vs. West Georgia Preview

The wait is over and Gulf South Football returns in a big way this weekend, including a matchup of playoff hopefuls kicking the season off tonight.

Aug 31, 2023 by Ron Balaskovitz
Gulf South Football Returns: Limestone Vs. West Georgia Preview

The wait is over and Gulf South Conference Football returns in a big way this weekend, including a matchup of playoff hopefuls kicking the season off on Thursday night, on what is a packed Thursday night schedule across the league, with seven of the league’s nine teams opting for the weeknight start.

The GSC will be tested out of the gate, with five of those seven games on Thursday night featuring road contests.

But it’s a game between West Georgia and 2022 playoff qualifier Limestone that leads things off and has fans excited to start the season in the Gulf South Conference.

Limestone at West Georgia

  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • Location: Carrollton, Georgia
  • Streaming: FloFootball

Last Season: Limestone, 8-4, first round of playoffs; West Georgia 8-2, did not qualify for playoffs

Series History: West Georgia leads 2-0. Won 24-14 in 2019 at Limestone, and 42-14 in 2018 at West Georgia.

Maybe the most under-the-radar game on the Week 1 schedule features two teams who each won eight games last year, and pack a punch on offense.

West Georgia comes in on an 11-game winning streak in season openers, last dropping their debut game all the way back in 2011. Sixth-year coach David Dead has helped the Wolves top 34 points in each of his five previous opening contests.

It won’t be an easy task for the Wolves, who take on a Limestone Saints team that is one of the most experienced teams in the nation, returning 17 of their 22 starters from last season’s playoff team.

Limestone’s key to success is their offense, one that led the South Atlantic Conference a season ago in yards per game (464.3), passing yards (266.4), first downs per game (21.9), and total first downs (263), while finishing second in the league in scoring (34.8 points per game) and rushing yards (197.9). With nearly everyone back, this is going to be a tough offense for the Wolves to try and slow down.

The Saints are led by junior running back Tre Stewart, who boasted over 1,500 yards on the ground, while finding paydirt 15 times, including a school-record 320 yards against UVA-Wise.

Quarterback Dustin Noller is also back for the Saints, setting school records last season for passing yards (2,460), completions (180), completion percentage (59.8), and passing touchdowns (21). His top two targets from last season, Jelani Baker and Drew Dixon, who combined for over 70 grabs and 10 touchdowns, are also back.

West Georgia looks to counter with a defense paced by senior All-Region safety Deontae Overstreet and captain Camyen Feagins. They’ll look to lead a defense that gave up just 23.9 points per game a season ago, including giving up less than 180 yards per game through the air, while picking off eight passes.

If there’s an edge to be had by West Georgia in this one, it should come when they have the ball and take on the Saints' defense.

The Wolves were one of the highest-scoring teams in college football last season, netting 40.4 points per game, and torturing teams through the air, averaging over 320 passing yards per game on their way to 26 passing scores.

Sophomore quarterback Ben Whitlock takes over as a starter and captain for the Wolves after passing just 12 times last year as a true freshman.

He’ll be helped by the return of Terrill Cole, who has amassed over 1,200 yards in his two seasons at West Georgia, including six career touchdowns. The Wolves also bring back four running backs who rushed for touchdowns, while adding an All-Conference transfer in Wesley Kennedy III, which should help ease Whitlock into the season.

If Limestone wants to take the jump and be a playoff threat again, they’ll need to shore up a defense that surrendered over 31 points per game last season and was gouged on the ground, giving up nearly 205 yards per game.

Senior linebacker Chandler Matthews is back after leading the league with 87 stops a year ago.

The two teams did have one mutual opponent in 2022, West Florida, who topped West Georgia last season by a 42-28 score in Carrollton, and then went on to beat Limestone in the opening round of the playoffs by a 45-19 final.

Thursday’s game can be streamed exclusively on FloSports.

Gulf South Week 1 Schedule

Thursday, August 31

  • Mississippi College at Keiser, 5 p.m. CT
  • North Greenville at Charleston, 6 p.m. ET
  • Shorter at Samford, 6 p.m. ET
  • Chowan at Barton, 6 p.m. ET
  • Delta State at Missouri S&T, 6 p.m. CT
  • Angelo State at West Alabama, 6 p.m. CT

Friday, September 1

  • Kentucky Wesleyan at West Florida, 6 p.m. CT

Saturday, September 2

  • Point at Valdosta State, 7 p.m. ET