Reviewing Georgia State’s loss to Air Force

Reviewing Georgia State’s 48-38 loss to Air Force on Saturday at the Georgia Dome:

Something is wrong on the defense. That may seem obvious after giving up more than 500 yards for the second time in three games.

That’s not written as a criticism of coordinator Jesse Minter.

He may be making the correct calls on every play. I know there were times last year that he did, but the plays weren’t executed as they were taught.

That may be happening again this year.

How many times on Saturday did the Panthers’ secondary fall for play-action?

How many times did the outside linebacker fail to set the edge against Air Force’s option?

That’s not coaching. That’s execution of what has been coached. And it’s been coached.

Coach Trent Miles defended the defense by saying this was the first time that many players had seen that offense.

That’s true. But they have worked against option-based offenses and know the fundamentals of eye-discipline and setting the edge.

I know because I see them work on it time after time.

How can the defense be fixed, or at least able to force more than three punts?

Start by cutting back on penalties. Twice the defense forced fourth down only to be flagged and give Air Force another chance. Miles questioned those calls after the game, but that doesn’t change what happened.

Miles referenced that his is a young team with just six seniors who play. Everyone seems to be waiting on the lights to go on for the younger guys.

I don’t know how much longer they can wait because progress doesn’t seem to be occurring at a noticeable rate.

Almost 500 yards were allowed to a FCS team.

More than 430 were allowed to a low-level FBS team.

Now more than 500 yards allowed to a mid-level FBS team.

What might happen next week at Washington?

Can the defense be simplified? I hope to ask Minter that on Monday. It may already be simplified.

But plays need to be made.

Offense continues to blaze. It doesn’t seem to matter which running back is played or which wide receivers are used, the offense continues to roll.

The stars this week were running back Kyler Neal, who had more than 170 yards in offense, tight end Joel Ruiz, who had six catches for 95 yards after basically being shut out last week, and wide receivers Donovan Harden (six for 90) and LynQuez Blair (two touchdowns).

Was the offense perfect? Nope.

Arbuckle had another unlucky interception when a pass was tipped and landed right in the hands of a defensive lineman.

But just as it’s hard to defend more than 500 yards given up by the defense, it’s hard to argue against the 500-plus yards accumulated by the offense.

Other notes:

This was the highest-scoring game in Georgia State history. The previous record of 86 was set against Old Dominion in 2012.

Neal’s 25-yard touchdown run was his first at Georgia State.

Neal’s 73-yard reception was the seventh-longest pass play from scrimmage in school history.

Linebacker Joseph Peterson set the record for career tackles with 200 in the second quarter.

Duvall Smith set a career high with 50 yards, including his first touchdown.

Numbers to consider:

0 sacks by the defense, the second consecutive week that’s happened. Granted, they weren’t playing teams that feature drop-back passers, but no sacks is no sacks.

1 turnover by Georgia State’s offense. That’s eight this season.

6 third downs converted by Georgia State out of 12 attempts

8 third downs converted by Air Force out of 13 attempts.

100th career point scored by kicker Wil Lutz. He trails career leader Albert Wilson by 54 points for the school record (156).

414 yards passing by Nick Arbuckle, tying the school record. Had Neal finished his long reception by getting the last two yards for the touchdown, Arbuckle would have had the record. Neal said he owes him.


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