On Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. the Georgia State Panthers will take on division rival Georgia Southern for bragging rights. The Panthers are coming into the game with a 5-6 record and are in fourth place in the division compared to Georgia Southern’s 8-3 record as they’re third in the division.
The Panthers are coming are coming into the game as underdogs for many reasons. First off, the Panthers are a 5-6 team going on the road against the Eagles who are undefeated at home. At the home the Eagles are beating opponents by at least 25 points per game.
Georgia Southern is coming into the game with the best running game in the nation, averaging 378 yards a game. Whereas Georgia State’s defense is giving up 198 rushing yards a game. Expect the Eagles to come in dominating on the ground game.
Not only do the Eagles have a dominant running attack, but their offense is averaging at least 37 points a game. The Panthers’ defense are giving up 33 points per game. The Eagles shouldn’t have any problem passing their average season points this game.
The Panthers still have a chance in this game, if their defense can stack the box and prepare for the running attack. The Panthers can stack the box because they shouldn’t have to fear the Eagles passing game. The Eagles are only averaging 64 passing yards a game. In fact through nine games, the Eagles have only attempted 96 passes and those passes are averaging a mere 6 yards per attempt. So the Panthers shouldn’t be too concerned with anything deep in the passing game.
The Panthers offense in this game, will need to come in running the ball rather than passing. The Panthers may average only 96.7 rushing yards per game, however they are going against an Eagles defense that is giving up 137 rushing yards per game. The Panthers have a high chance of creating a good running attack against the weak running defense of the Eagles. If they can get the running game going, the Panthers will be able to open up the pass.
The Panthers should go run first because they are facing an Eagles defense who is only giving up 202 passing yards a game. Plus the Eagles in their first nine games only gave up 15 passing touchdowns, which is less than two per game.
Overall in this game, expect the Eagles to stick with what they’ve been doing all season which is running the ball. The Eagles shouldn’t have a problem running the ball against the Panthers run defense, as the Eagles have a total of 39 rushing touchdowns on the season so far.
However, expect the Panthers to do the opposite of what they’ve been doing all season, by coming into the game establishing the run. If the Panthers can create a running attack on the Eagles weak run defense, and continue averaging over 300 passing yards a game, then the Panthers have a great chance of leaving the game with a win.
By: Devone Slappy
Q.B. vs Q.B.
Georgia State will have the advantage at the Quarterback position against Georgia Southern. Kevin Ellison, the Eagles quarterback, is only completing 46 percent of his 71 passing attempts, and has thrown for 479 passing yards and three touchdowns. Ellison is only averaging 53 passing yards a game and has a QB efficiency of 108.
Whereas Nick Arbuckle, the Panthers quarterback, is on another level compared to Ellison. Arbuckle has thrown for 3,814 passing yards with 23 touchdowns, and is completing 64.2 percent of his passes. In addition Arbuckle has a quarterback efficiency of 153, and is averaging 347 passing yards a game.
Ellison’s only advantage is his running game. Ellison has 637 rushing yards this season along with eight touchdowns and seven yards per rush attempt. Arbuckle is negative in rushing yards because of the number of sacks he has taken. Overall Arbuckle has the advantage in passing and Ellison has the advantage in rushing.
R.B. vs R.B.
The Eagles have the clear advantage at the running back position. The Eagles have two rushers with over 100 carries. Matt Breida has the most carries with 180 along with 1,495 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. Brieda averages 136 rushing yards a game. The Other rusher is L.A. Ramsby with 138 carries and 707 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
Ramby has more rushing yards than the Panthers starting running back Demarcus Kirk. Kirk has only 75 carries for 320 yards and two touchdowns. He is only averaging 32 yards a game. The Eagles clearly have the better running backs.
W.R. vs W.R.
At the Wide Receiver position, the Panthers will have another advantage. The Panthers have two main receivers with at least 55 receptions. Penny Hart is the number one receiver with 966 yards and seven touchdowns. The number two receiver is Robert Davis with 932 yards and five touchdowns. Both are averaging over 85 yards per game.
The Eagles on the other hand only have two receivers with eleven catches. BJ Johnson is the number one receiver with eleven catches, 186 yards and zero touchdowns. The number two is Ryan Longoria with 11 catches, 113 yards and zero touchdowns. The Eagles team as a whole at the wide receiver position only has 696 yards compared to the Panthers 3,813.
Final Football Column- Panthers heating up
By: Jeremy Johnson
The Georgia State football team is building momentum heading into the final stretch of the season. The Panthers have been competitive in every game as of late and picked up the school’s largest victory against Texas State on Nov. 14.
The Panthers have finally returned most of the offensive weapons that had Panthers’ nation excited coming into the season.
Running backs Taz Bateman and Kyler Neal both returned to the lineup against Texas State to add a jolt to the Panthers’ rushing attack as the Panthers proceeded to rush for 172 total yards.
Senior wide receiver Donovan Harden has gotten into the flow after an early season foot injury had him sidelined for the first few weeks.
Harden has figured his role in the Panthers offense as they are now running like a well-oiled machine with now three horses at the wide receiver position in Harden, freshman Penny Hart and junior Robert Davis.
The offense is still battling injuries at tight end as Joel Ruiz is out for the season and Keith Rucker was sidelined against Texas State. But the emergence of the three big time talents at wide receiver has helped ease the sting of losing two big targets.
The Panthers are about to come into some of the biggest games of the season as they face rival Georgia Southern.
The Troy game was unquestionably emotional as it was be senior day for Panthers such as Nick Arbuckle, Joseph Peterson, Bruce Dukes, Tarris Batiste and Wil Lutz. This emotional boost and execution on both sides of the ball led the Panthers to a 31-21 victory over the Trojans.
The Panthers were fired up playing and having a chance to grab another late season win over a Troy team struggling to get to .500 this season themselves.
The Panthers now travel 208 miles to face bitter rival the Georgia Southern Eagles. This game will have implications on the standings, for the fan bases and for the futures of both programs.
The Panthers will be carrying loads of momentum behind them as they roll into Statesboro. They will be fighting for win number six and could become bowl eligible for the first time in program history.
The Eagles will be looking to stay alive in the Sun Belt Championship hunt as they currently trail Arkansas State by one game in the standings.
The Panthers’ momentum will make them a dangerous opponent going into the matchup as they are jelling late in the season and would love to play spoiler to their rivals.
The Eagles will not be caught off guard by the Panthers due to the magnitude of this growing rivalry.
The Panthers’ offensive rhythm will keep them competitive in the game. The scoring opportunities will be limited due to Georgia Southern’s ball control triple option offense.
The improving Panthers’ defense will need to be ready for a heavy dose of cut blocks and physical run attacks from the Eagles.
Players like junior Shawayne Lawrence, Jalen Lawrence, Carnell Hopson and David Huey will have to provide an anchor in the middle of the defense to give the Panthers a chance to play spoiler and get bowl eligible against the Eagles.
GSU vs GSU Prediction
Georgia Southern 38 Georgia State 35
This heated matchup is closer than the stats may indicate. The Eagles are the NCAA’s top rushing attack. The Eagles have four rushers over 500 plus yards rushing for the season. This could be the formula that makes the difference as the Panthers have a high powered offense. The Eagles will be able to keep the Panthers offense on the sidelines, making scoring opportunities scarce for the Panthers. This will be a closer game than last year’s 69-31 Georgia Southern victory. The Panthers are making strides as seen over the last few weeks but Southern is a more finished product at this point and also have the home field advantage this year.
Georgia Southern 48 Georgia State 51
The Panthers should be hungry in this one. Added to the difference the results of this game will make on paper, rivalry and pride will also kick in for Trent Miles’ football team. In the pass happy offense that quarterback Nick Arbuckle engineers, don’t be surprised if the extra fuel of his final guaranteed college game pushes the team to a season-high in points. Although Southern probably won’t score 69 points again this season, Georgia State’s defense still hasn’t proved to be consistent enough to hold the talent in Statesboro. A close, high scoring finale, with Southern having the edge in talent for most positions, it would be logical to pick the Eagles. However, it appears logic has escaped this college football season and Georgia State is arguably the hottest college football program in Georgia given the circumstances-you know, the white jersey circumstances. With this current winning streak and improvement shown when backs were against the wall, Trent Miles will survive to see another season at Georgia State.
Georgia Southern 30 Georgia State 33
In my opinion, I think the Panthers will come out with a win. I do not believe it will be an easy or even a pretty win, but I still think the Panthers will have the edge in this game. The Panthers are going to establish the run this game to go along with their great passing game.
The Eagles have a bad run defense that gives up over 130 rushing yards a game. The Panthers offense is already averaging 27 points a game while only averaging 96 rushing yards. The Panthers are scoring mainly through their passing game, so imagine if the Panthers could just get 140 yards from their running backs this game? If you thought the passing game was good now, imagine it how great it can be with play action.
Just wait and see the Panthers have their best running game of the season.