After a summer of hype and hope for the Georgia State Football program, the season opener on Sep. 4 ended in a familiar way- a loss.
Fans and students brought the energy early to the Georgia Dome, filled with optimism for a new era in the Panthers short Football history. Unfortunately, a lot of that energy left 12 seconds into the season when sophomore receiver Glenn Smith fumbled his way into a Charlotte defensive touchdown.
The 49ers would shortly follow that touchdown with a field goal taking a 10-0 lead early.
Georgia State went into halftime with a 20-3 deficit.
In the second half, the Panthers defense locked down even more with four total sacks on the night, which is impressive considering the defense only tallied 12 sacks the entire 2014 season.
“When a defense hold a team to 23 points and only three in the second half, they usually win,” head coach Trent Miles said at his postgame conference.
Meanwhile, the offense continued to struggle against the 49ers defensive attack and senior quarterback Nick Arbuckle attributed a lot of that to the fact Charlotte hired a new defensive coordinator this offseason. The offense clearly missed senior receiving core stars Joel Ruiz and Donovan Harden dearly.
“Of course, those are two first team All-Conference players … That’s like taking out Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez when he was playing Falcons,” Miles responded to the question if the offense was affected by Ruiz’s and Harden’s injuries.
The Panthers made a couple of late-game scores, however those were not enough, as the final score was 23-20 in favor of Charlotte.
Bobby Baker, a transfer from the junior college Pierce in California, re-wrote a few columns in Georgia State’s Football history. According to Georgia State Communications, Baker now holds the record for fumble recoveries in a single game with three and tied the record for interceptions in a game with two.
“We came out real fired up … I know I was excited to go out,” Baker told the media after.
With a remarkable five turnover recoveries, Baker said one of the few things he could’ve done to top it was to “score.”
Throughout the game, multiple tweets from spectators called for coach Miles to lose his job.
Since becoming the head coach for Georgia State in 2013, Miles has a 1-24 record. Two fans were even spotted towards the end of the game, chanting “Goodbye Miles,” before exiting the stadium.
In response to the criticism, Miles stated that he told his team not to believe in the hype, because he believes “there’s always going [to be] something negative.”
Arbuckle took the blame off the coaches and simply stated the team “didn’t execute on the field.”
Baker said “coach Miles is a great guy,” and he feels like everyone on the team is fighting for their jobs day-in and day-out.
Baker concluded by saying that if everyone on the team came in with the “fighting” mentality on a daily basis, then “coach Miles will be a happy man.”