Before the season I listed the 10 players who I thought would most impact Georgia State’s football season.
Over the next days, I’ll review the list and detail how each player performed in the 1-11, 0-8 in the Sun Belt campaign.
As they were listed, we will count down from 10 to 1.
We started with No. 10 Matt Hubbard, moved on to No. 9 Shawayne Lawrence, No. 8 Robert Davis No. 7 Bruce Dukes, No. 6 Marcus Caffey and No. 5 Tarris Batiste.
We move on to….
No. 4 Michael Ivory
Here’s what I wrote:
How can Ivory make a difference? First and of most importance, protect the blind side of whomever plays quarterback. Ulrick John was a dependable starter for the Panthers the past two years at the spot. If Ivory can maintain John’s consistency, and avoid the injuries that sometimes hampered John, it should be considered a win.
Secondly, if Ivory can use his massive size to create a push on the left side of the line for the run game, it will allow offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski more flexibility in his play-calling.
Best-case scenario: Ivory keeps Ronnie Bell, Nick Arbuckle or Emiere Scaife upright and gets to frequently watch the back of a running back’s jersey as he runs down the field. Statistically, leading a line that cuts that sacks allowed number by half and improves the running game’s averages to 140 yards per game and 4.0 yards per carry.
Worst-case scenario: The line, which may feature five new starters depending upon what happens in August, doesn’t develop chemistry, which results in a lack of communication, missed calls at the line and production similar to last year’s.
So, was it the best-case scenario or worst-case scenario?
The best-case scenario.
Until Ivory’s injury in the loss to Louisiana-Lafayette, Georgia State’s offense was quite prolific with averages of 30.2 points, 125.2 rushing yards and 331.5 passing yards per game.
To see the impact of losing Ivory, the final averages were 22.7 points, 96.3 rushing yards and 279 passing yards per game.
One player shouldn’t have contributed to that much of a difference, but the team was thin on the line and losing Ivory forced shuffling across the front. The chances affected chemistry and the ability to execute.
The line still gave up far too many sacks (31).
If Ivory can come back healthy, the line could be in good shape for next year.