Rivalry games are part of what makes sports so unique. There is an even level of respect and love for the team on the other side, and that will be the case when Georgia State and Georgia Southern square off against each other. There will be no love lost between these two teams.
The Panthers are coming into this game hot, winning four of their last five games and firing on all cylinders after winning their first game at Georgia State Stadium. The Panthers have also won the previous two matchups in the series. The Eagles, on the other hand, are coming in on the opposite side of the spectrum. The Eagles recently fired their head coach, Tyson Summers, and have yet to win a game this season
Don’t let that fool you though; when it comes to rivalry games, you can throw out the records, history and everything else. One thing for sure is that the Eagles will bring their A-game Saturday in Statesboro. The Panthers still have a lot to play for this season with the potential for a bowl game and the Sun Belt championship is still on the table. The Eagles would want nothing more than the opportunity to play spoiler.
Georgia State recovered their offensive juice, which they lost going against Troy, and is in a good spot going into the matchup with Georgia Southern. In each of the Panthers four wins this season, they have rushed for over 100 yards. The Eagles are giving up a whopping 209 yards per game on the ground this season and 5.3 yards per carry. Also, the Eagles are giving up 260 yards through the air but could struggle against the Panthers’ potential potent passing attack if they can get the run game going. Quarterback Conner Manning and wide receiver Penny Hart are really on a roll right now, and it could spell trouble for the Eagles. Georgia Southern is giving up 41 points per game this year, so defense has not been their forte.
Another key to victory for the Panthers is to continue to play sound stout defense. They’ve had a few lapses this season, but generally speaking, the Panthers have been solid on defense and have forced teams to turn the ball over. Senior safety Brian Williams has had four interceptions on the season, which ties the Georgia State single-season record. Williams and the defense held South Alabama to 41 rushing yards. This defense is stingy and opportunistic so points may be hard to come by for Georgia Southern.
Despite defeating South Alabama, Georgia State head coach, Shawn Elliott is not letting up.
“I’m gonna keep my hand on the back of their necks, and we’re going to push hard. That’s how we’re going to do it,” Elliot said. “We can’t worry about success and somebody telling us that we did a good job, when you win you need to be as hard on them as you can.”
Elliott got his first win at Georgia State Stadium against South Alabama. Now we will see if he can get his first win as Georgia State’s head coach in the rivalry.