An Instant Football Classic Is On The Way

Photo courtesy of Georgia State Athletics

The Sun Belt Conference is far from being the football powerhouse that the SEC is now, or what the ACC was in the early 2010s. Ironically, this is what makes the conference even more exciting to watch. Each week the stakes rise for each team, introducing the unpredictable aspect college football has to offer. 

Speaking of the unimaginable, flashback to week two of the college football season when fellow Sun Belt program Appalachian State went down to College Station, Texas and beat sixth-ranked Texas A&M in their house. The game was an absolute thriller. Legend has it, the mountains shifted a bit after the celebration students had. App State’s campus erupted into absolute madness even local neighbors couldn’t be mad about. 

 Following the Texas A&M game, App State found themselves in yet another tight contest against the Troy Trojans. It was 28-26. Two seconds remain on the clock and it’s 4th and 10 and the Mountaineers are on their 42-yard line. With two seconds left, Chase Brice throws a heave of a hail mary that miraculously found the hands of Christian Horn to give the Mountaineers the victory. Safe to say, App State has had a magical season only George R.R. Martin could come up with. App State fans still aren’t sure if the book is finished yet, however.

So, is this an Appalachian State newspaper or The Signal? Right, it’s Georgia State’s official newspaper, so let’s act like it. Without further ado, let’s introduce the Georgia State Panthers into the mix. Unfortunately, the Panthers sit at 2-4, and it’s not the season Head Coach Shawn Elliot would’ve preferred. A couple of games could’ve gone either way, such as the 42-41 loss to Charlotte or the 35-28 loss to North Carolina. The Panthers could easily be sitting at 2-2 heading into week five. No matter the outcome of their next game, Georgia State has some advantages heading into the Appalachian State game in week six. 

Similar to previous years, Georgia State football has always had an above-average running game, especially in the SBC. In 2021, the program was second in overall rushing in the conference. In 2019, they ranked third in rushing offenses in the SBC. As of right now, the team stands third in the rankings in rushing. This could prove to be an advantage as App State ranks ninth in the SBC in rushing defense as they let up about 137.6 ypg in rushing yards to opponents. 

On the flip side, it would be naive to think App State couldn’t also put points on the board. They have arguably the second-best quarterback in the conference in Chase Brice. Through five weeks of football, Brice has thrown 15 touchdowns to only 2 picks and completes about 70% of his passes. The offense is currently ranked fifth in the SBC, but take this ranking with a grain of salt as the top two teams – Georgia Southern and Troy are dominating on the offensive end as they both average 310-plus ypg. There’s a big drop-off with the other teams after that. 

Statistics alone prove why this matchup could be a classic. Georgia State will be hungry to win despite its record and App State will continue to ride off the high of playing exhilarating football. 

The game already has the hype behind it as fans and football lovers will be able to watch the game live on ESPN2, on Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m.