3 thoughts after Georgia State’s loss to Liberty

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Having now watched a replay of Georgia State’s 41-33 loss to Liberty, here are my three thoughts about the game:

  1. That’s about the weirdest boxscore I’ve ever seen for an offense. In 16 minutes, 27 seconds of possession, Georgia State racked up 33 points and 405 yards. That’s an efficiency that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen. And 97 percent of those yards came through the passing game because the Panthers didn’t have the ball long enough, and were rarely in position, to try to establish a running game. They rushed for 11 yards, which isn’t a program low. That dubious honor occurred last year when the Panthers rushed for 8 yards at Appalachian State. Guess who is coming to the Dome on Saturday?
Category

2015

2014

2013

Rushing

106.8

96.3

102.2

Yards per carry

3.5

3

3.4

 

2. Whatever Trent Miles and defensive coordinator Jesse Minter were trying to do on defense obviously didn’t work. A bit of an understatement, I know. The Flames’ offensive line destroyed Georgia State’s defensive line, rushing for 263 yards and passing for 239. Liberty tried a little bit of everything on offense and the Panthers didn’t have an answer for anything, continuing a pattern that’s been happening for 2-plus seasons, with a few isolated exceptions. The Panthers posted no sacks on Saturday. They posted just six tackles for loss in 82 plays. I stopped counting how many missed tackles there were after the first quarter. Liberty picked up third-and-longs of 7, 11, 13,  and 7 yards before Georgia State finally made a stop (more on that in the next section). It was very much like most of last year’s performances by a defense, but this was/is supposed to feature more talent than last year’s.

GSU defense

2015

2014

2013

Points

39.2

43.3

36.7

Rushing

205.5

303.4

221.2

Passing

289

193.7

245.2

3rd down

45

52

50

Sacks by

8

12

11

Red zone %

81

82

87

 

I don’t believe that Miles will make any changes to the staff, or the responsibilities of those on staff, despite the pressure that I’m sure he must be feeling. I don’t know if changes or reassignments would help at this point.

Athletic director Charlie Cobb said before the season that wins would be a measure of progress. This was a game that before the season I thought the Panthers could win. Charlotte was another. The Panthers are 0-2 in those games and didn’t look great in either one. Now the Panthers enter Sun Belt play and shouldn’t be favored in any of those games. The only non-conference game remaining is at Ball State, which will be tough.

3. Still, the Panthers had a chance. Here’s the bizarre part of the game, and something that happens over and over to this team: despite not trying to run the ball, despite a defense that was leaking like a sieve, the Panthers had a chance to tie the game late. And then came one of those mistakes that Georgia State makes at least once a game: a roughing the kicker penalty, this against against Bryan Williams.

Georgia State was trailing by eight points early in the fourth quarter and would likely get good field position when Liberty lined up on the 25-yard line to punt, just their second of the game. Williams ran into the punter. On his radio show, Miles said Williams was there and simply overran the ball. The infraction gave Liberty a first down and they took advantage to kick a field goal and take an 11-point lead. This is the second big mistake made by Williams this season. He was also beaten for a long touchdown pass by Charlotte.

“Our penalties happened at very inopportune times,” coach Trent Miles was quoted as saying on the school’s website. “We had an eight-point game and all week long we were working on a middle (punt) return with a block and we had it drawn up perfectly and we just over-jump the ball and we get a 15-yard penalty.”

 


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