Georgia State won’t open summer camp until August, so it’s a perfect time to start looking ahead to the teams the Panthers will face during the upcoming season.
I’ve already done:
- The opener against Charlotte
- Week 2 opponent New Mexico State
- Week 3 opponent Oregon
- Week 4 opponent Liberty
- Week 5 opponent Appalachian State
- Week 6 opponent Ball State
- Week 7 opponent Arkansas State
- Week 8 opponent Louisiana-Lafayette
- Week 9 opponent Texas State
- Week 10 opponent South Alabama
- And Week 11 opponent Troy
Let’s turn to Georgia Southern. The Eagles ran over the Panthers 69-31 last year in the Georgia Dome in the first meeting in football between the two schools.
It really wasn’t close.
Georgia Southern rushed 63 times for 613 yards, a Sun Belt record. It was the most points ever given up by Georgia State as the Eagles rushed for 10 touchdowns.
The Panthers will play in Statesboro on Dec. 5.
2014 record: 9-3, 8-0 Sun Belt Conference.
Coach: Willie Fritz, second season.
Starters returning: Five on offense, including running back Matt Breida, quarterback Kevin Ellison, offensive lineman Darien Foreman, wide receiver Derek Keaton.
Eight on defense, including defensive linemen Jay Ellison and Bernard Dawson, linebacker Antwoine Williams and safety Matt Dobson.
Offensive system: Spread option.
Defensive system: 4-2-5.
Three significant stats about Georgia Southern:
- Breida led the nation and with 8.7 yards per carry and led the Sun Belt with 123.8 rushing yards per game.
- Georgia Southern rushed for a Sun Belt record 55 touchdowns and averaged 381.1 rushing yards per game.
- Georgia Southern’s defense allowed an average of 388.1 yards per game with opponents holding the ball for an average of 27:42 minutes.
Key stats returning:
- Jay Ellison led the defensive line with 36 tackles, including four tackles for loss and two sacks.
- Dawson had 35 tackles and three sacks.
- Williams had 66 tackles
- Kevin Ellison rushed for 1,096 yards and passed for 1,001.
- Dobson had 62 tackles and three interceptions.
- L.A. Ramsby rushed for 691 yards and 12 touchdowns.
How does Georgia State match up
Based upon last season, few teams match up well with Georgia Southern in its quick, option attack.
However, the Eagles must replace four starters on the offensive line, which I think will be tougher than coach Willie Fritz makes it seem. But he gets paid to coach and I get paid to write, so there’s that.
Even if Georgia Southern’s offense isn’t as explosive as it was last year in averaging 39 points per game, it will likely still be very good. Plus, with eight starters returning on defense, the offense should get its share of chances to gel and build chemistry without worrying about having to play catch up in games.
Unless Georgia State’s defense can show significant improvement and discipline against option attacks this year, this could be a tough to watch for Panthers fans.