Jimmy John's Order Now

Keys to a Georgia State victory over Appalachian State

Jonathan Ifedi runs towards the end zone during Saturday night's loss against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. Photo courtesy of Jordan Kidd/ GSU Athletics

Georgia State (6-3) is set to host Appalachian State (8-1) Saturday night, in what is a must win game for both bowl outlook and the program as a whole. Georgia State is coming off a devastating loss to Louisiana-Monroe where they not only lost 45-31, but also lost their star quarterback, Dan Ellington, and safety, Remy Lazarus .

Georgia State’s game against the Mountaineers is easily the most important four quarters in the young program’s history and a win would do wonders for future seasons. The Panthers are on a bigger stage, as the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.

It’s not an understatement to say Georgia State are the underdogs, as they face off against the best defense in the Sun Belt Conference. Through nine games this season, the Mountaineers have only given up 19.1 points per game, compared to Georgia State, whose defense gives up an abysmal 36.0 points per game. 

The Panthers, on paper, are David, as they face off against the Goliath of the Sun Belt, which just beat South Carolina on the road. Georgia State will need to put together a heroic performance in this one.

However, contrary to the one sided stats, Georgia State has a great opportunity to defeat the Mountaineers and shock the nation, like it did against Tennessee and Army. Here are the three keys to victory for the Panthers.

The first key to victory for the Panthers is to keep the Mountaineers offense off the field. While the Mountaineers are better defensively, the Panthers rushing offense ranks second in the conference. The team’s rushing attack, led by senior running back Tra Barnett, accumulates an average of 274.4 yards a game with 24 touchdowns for good measure. Georgia Southern exposed the Mountaineers’ weakness against the run and Panthers will have to follow suit.

The second key to the game is to get stops and get the Mountaineers off the field after third down. Before you say, “well duh,” Georgia State, in their last three games, has given up an average of 33 points per game and has relied on its offense to outscore opponents. Georgia State won’t be able to lean on the defense too much Saturday, as the absence of Lazarus will surely be felt.

Moreover, the defense has to be able to take the pressure off of true-freshman backup, Cornelious Brown, who looks likely to start the first game in his young career. If the game devolves into a shootout, the moment may be too much for Brown to handle. 

Jimmy John's Order Now
Jimmy John's Order Now

The final and most critical key is for Georgia State to take advantage of the home field crowd, which the team hopes will be one of the program’s largest. Georgia State is undefeated at home this season and they will need every bit of help from the fans to pull off the upset. The turnout will be crucial.