Panthers set to begin Sun Belt play

Quarterback Conner Manning finds his place in the Georgia State Offense. Photo by Dayne Francis | The Signal
Quarterback Conner Manning finds his place in the Georgia State Offense.  Photo by Dayne Francis | The Signal
Quarterback Conner Manning finds his place in the Georgia State Offense.
Photo by Dayne Francis | The Signal

After a rough 0-3 start to the season, the Georgia State Panthers are getting some much needed time off this week as they recharge and begin preparations for the start of Sun Belt play. Georgia State is 5-18 all-time in Sun Belt conference play, with all five wins coming from the 2015 season that launched the Panthers to the university’s  first ever bowl game.  


Oct. 1 – @Appalachian State Mountaineers


  • The history… The Mountaineers and Panthers have played twice with Appalachian State as the lone victors so far in this young series. The Mountaineers dominated the Panthers 44-0 in 2014 in Boone, North Carolina and then 37-3 at home in the Georgia Dome.


  • Last season Appalachian State held Georgia State to 225 total yards, including 166 yards in the air and 59 on the ground.  Wil Lutz provided the lone score with a 25-yard field goal. Mountaineer quarterback Taylor Lamb passed for three touchdowns to three different receivers and 498 yards in the Mountaineers victory.


  • In 2016 the Mountaineers are 1-2 so far this season with a 19-17 overtime loss to the Tennessee Volunteers, a game many could argue they should have won, a dominating win over the Old Dominion Monarchs then got hammered playing host to the Miami Hurricanes. Appalachian State will travel to Akron, Ohio on Sept. 24 to play the Zips before playing host to Georgia State.


Oct. 8 – Texas State Bobcats


  • The history the Panthers have one victory in this three game cat fight with the Bobcats.  So far in this series, the Bobcats have won by an average of almost 17 points in their victories.  Both teams have exceeded 20 points in at least one of their victories over the other.  


  • Last season… the Panthers notched their first victory over the Bobcats on their home turf with the third win for Georgia State in 2015. Former quarterback Nick Arbuckle led the Panthers to a total of 643 yards in the 41-19 win at Texas State.  Wide receivers Robert Davis, who had 177 yards and one touchdown and an average of 35 yards, and Donovan Harden, who found the end zone twice, had a monster day in San Marcos, Texas.


  • In 2016… the Bobcats welcome new head coach Everett Withers by opening their season with a 56-54 overtime victory over the Ohio breed of Bobcats. Three overtimes to be exact. After an early week off Texas State lost 42-3 at Arkansas Razorbacks.  The Bobcats will have played Houston and Incarnate Word before making a visit to the Georgia Dome.


Oct. 15 – @Troy Trojans


  • The history… The series between the Panthers and Trojans is closer than some might expect with the exception of 2014, where the Trojans won 45-21.  However, in two of the three games of this series, the victor has only won on average by just over a touchdown.


  • Last season… the Trojans paid a visit to Atlanta where the home team scored their hat trick of three straight wins. Tight end Keith Rucker led receivers with 154 yards, and the running game saw one of their best days on the ground led by running back Glenn Smith with 87 yards.


  • In 2016… Troy is a team to keep an eye on.  So far they have defeated Austin Peay 57-17 and nearly upset Clemson in Trojans head coach Neal Brown’s second year. The Trojans 37-31 win over Southern Miss and will face conference foes New Mexico State and Idaho before the toe meets leather versus the Panthers.


Oct. 29 – @South Alabama Jaguars


  • The history… The Jaguars and Panthers met for the first time in 2010 and five times total.  South Alabama leads the series 3-2 with victories in 2010, 2013 and 2014.  With the exception of 2013, the home team has been celebrating at the end of the game.  


  • Last season… the Panthers held such a celebration with their fourth win over the Jaguars.  After the third quarter, the game was tied at 10 with a field goal by kicker Wil Lutz. The Panthers scoring came alive and pulled away after Demarcus Kirk scored on a 1-yard run and Nick Arbuckle completed an 11-yard pass to wide receiver Penny Hart for a 24-10 win.


  • In 2016… the Jaguars started off with a bang after Mississippi State kicker Westin Graves bounced a field goal off the uprights to give South Alabama a 21-20 victory to start the year. The Jaguars followed that tremendous program building win and started conference play with a 24-9 loss to Georgia Southern and a 28-23 loss  versus La-Lafayette. South Alabama will have played Nicholls, a team that nearly beat UGA, San Diego State, Arkansas and Troy.


Nov. 3 – Arkansas State Red Wolves


  • The history… Arkansas State and Georgia State first met on the gridiron in 2013 and played every year since with the Red Wolves victorious in every case.  


  • Last season… the Panthers were very close to their third win of the season.  Going into halftime, Georgia State led Arkansas State 27-20.  The Red Wolves scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull out a 48-34 win.


  • In 2016… the Red Wolves have started out the season with 3 losses to Toledo, Auburn and Utah State and will maneuver through Central Arkansas, that team down south and Sun Belt foes South Alabama and UL Monroe before their visit to the Georgia Dome.


Nov. 12 – ULM Warhawks


  • The history… met for the first and only time in 2013 where the Warhawks completed a 38-10 victory at Malone Stadium in Monroe, Louisiana.  


  • In 2016…  ULM entered the 2016 season with a win over Southern before being handed a 59-17 loss by the Oklahoma Sooners and a 23-21 win  by Georgia Southern. Auburn, Idaho, Texas State, New Mexico, Arkansas State and South Alabama are all on the slate before they take a visit to Atlanta.


Nov. 19 -Georgia Southern


  • The history… The road team has owned their opponents home field advantage. The first meeting between the two was in 2014 where Georgia Southern laid 69 points on the Panthers turf.  


  • Last season… The Panthers returned the favor on their visit to Statesboro a season ago earning their sixth win on the season and bowl eligibility for the first time in school history.  


  • In 2016… Georgia Southern has opened up with 3 victories over Savannah State, South Alabama and UL Monroe and have a fairly tough schedule with road games to Georgia Tech and Ole Miss before making their final road trip of the season to the Georgia Dome.


Dec. 3 – @Idaho Vandals


  • The history… This will be the first meeting between the Vandals and Panthers.


  • In 2016… The Vandals are 1-2 so far this season with a narrow victory over Montana State followed by losses to both Washington and Washington State. Idaho will be looking to end their final season on a high note as an FBS program when the Panthers come to town.