Previewing Georgia State vs Arkansas State Red Wolves

The Georgia State Panthers are looking to ride the momentum of their upset win over the previously No. 22 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers into their game against the Arkansas State Red Wolves this weekend. The Panthers, who are 5-5, including four wins in their last five games, would become bowl eligible for the third straight season with a victory on Saturday.

On the other hand, the 2-8 Red Wolves’ bowl hopes have been dead since their 28-27 loss to the No. 23 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns on Oct. 21. Arkansas State finally picked up their first FBS win of 2021 with their 27-24 defeat of the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks last weekend.

Let’s look at some of the numbers that could give us an idea of how Saturday will go for the 17-point favorite Panthers.

This year, Arkansas State has had a callous time stopping the run, ranking near the bottom in both yards allowed per carry (6.5) and rushing yards allowed per game (264.8). Unfortunately for Red Wolves’ head coach Butch Jones and company, the Panthers love to run the ball, averaging 215.7 rushing yards per game, which ranks 17th in the nation. The dynamic duo of Tucker Gregg and Jamyest Williams are looking to feast to the tune of over 200 yards combined, with the possibility of sophomore running back Marcus Carroll getting some touches late if the game gets out of hand.

On the other side of the ball, Arkansas State has been generally ineffective. The Red Wolves have mustered a lowly 82 rushing yards per game, good for 127th in the nation. While this could be the effect of playing from behind frequently, the equally unimpressive 2.9 yards per carry (126th in the country) doesn’t earn them the benefit of the doubt. The Panthers are in the top-50 in yards allowed per carry (4.03), despite opponents pounding the ball against them. 

Georgia State opponents have run the ball 425 times this season, good for 11th most in the nation. Arkansas State is unlikely to continue this trend after throwing the ball 50 times against the Warhawks last week. Look for the Red Wolves to air it out and make Georgia State defend the pass, which they’ve done pretty acceptably or pretty poorly, depending on what you look at. The Panthers have allowed a passer rating of 145.62 (104th in the nation) and 255 passing yards per game (103rd in the country).

But the Panthers have done well in limiting the damage done through the air on each down. Success Rate is a stat that takes yards allowed per play and puts in the context of down and yards to go. The Panthers are a top 25 team when it comes to preventing successful pass plays, which will be crucial for when Red Wolves’ redshirt sophomore quarterback Layne Hatcher attempts over 40 passes on Saturday.


If the Panthers can stop the Red Wolves on early downs, then they may win handily. Arkansas State is 120th in the nation in third and fourth down success and 103rd in third down conversion percentage. But the Panthers have had a tough time getting off the field defensively, allowing conversions on 46% of opponent attempts, good for 121st in the nation. Saturday’s game could be decided based on who controls more third downs.

If the Panthers can render the Red Wolves running game inconsequential and limit their efficiency through the air, then the Georgia State offense can move at their desired pace, eat clock and handily secure their third consecutive bowl bid.

Prediction: Georgia State 38, Arkansas State 17

Catch kickoff at Center Parc Stadium this Saturday at 2 P.M. EST or watch it on ESPN3.