GSU returns home after winless road trip

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For the second consecutive week, Georgia State (1-2) was outmatched on the road. Memphis (2-1) defeated Georgia State 59-22 behind a dominant performance all over the field.

Running back Darrell Henderson shredded the Panthers with 233 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Panthers’ defensive line was beat badly and often by Memphis blockers. Not only was Memphis’ run attack fluid, its passing game was also on point.

Brady White threw 19-26 for 269 yards and five touchdowns, and the Panthers applied rare pressure on him. Starting cornerback Cedric Stone and starting safeties DeAndre Applin and Remy Lazarus did not play due to injury. Fellow defensive back starter Jerome Smith did not return to action after an early ailment.

“Three of the four are freshmen out there playing in the secondary,” head coach Shawn Elliott said. “They’ve got to grow up, they’ve got to play a little harder, but it is what it is. We gotta get them better. It’s our job to get them better, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

A positive Georgia State can take away is the running game from its true freshman running backs. Seth Paige ran in the Panthers’ lone score of the game, and Destin Coates ran for a season high 68 yards.

Memphis rebounded after falling to Navy 22-21 in the previous week. Elliott said the score says everything about how the game unfolded. The Panthers will want to do something similar against the Western Michigan Broncos (1-2) this week.

“I thought our guys’ mindset, their approach, the way they prepared for this week was what
you’d hope for,” Memphis head coach Mike Norvell said. “It’s an expectation within our program that when you get knocked down, you’ve got to pick yourself back up. All in all, I thought it was a great win.”

Western Michigan is coming off its first win of the year after routing FCS opponent Delaware 68-0. When facing FBS teams, the Broncos have not played up to par, much like Georgia State hasn’t.

In week one against Syracuse, Western Michigan was 20 percent on third downs. They only slightly improved against Michigan the following week, finishing 24 percent.

Georgia State quarterback Dan Ellington’s play regressed again as he threw an interception and passed for just 107 yards against Memphis, but a bounce-back game is needed for Georgia State to play efficient offense. Improvement in blocking will undoubtedly be the start of a fix for the Panthers’ offense.

Western Michigan’s 122nd ranked run defense has been porous in its three games. Another career high game could be in store for Coates. Wide receiver Penny Hart is far off from the paces of his previous two seasons that strike fear in opposition defenses. He is due for a breakout game.

The Western Michigan meeting is the final game before the Panthers begin their Sun Belt Conference schedule. A win for Georgia State would salvage a non-conference showing that has turned disappointing after its opening day win. Kickoff is Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. inside Georgia State Stadium.