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The road has certainly not been smooth for the Georgia State Panthers in their third year as a program, as the team has started 2012 0-3, but Georgia State athletic director Cheryl Levick is preaching patience as the one of college football's newest programs continues to grow.
After a 38-14 loss to the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners, Levick was quick to praise the work the program was doing in its infancy and offered a bright outlook for the future.
"We know the potential these young men have and we see the potential every day in practice and we can't seem to convert on the field yet," Levick told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "But we will figure out a way."
Georgia State finished 6-5 in their first year, 2010, and 3-8 in 2011.
The school has tried a variety of ways to increase attendance for home games, which are staged in the Georgia Dome, a prime spot to gain the program some local visibility, according to the AJC.
For more on Georgia State and college football, head over to SB Nation's college football page.
After injuring his left arm during a loss to the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners, Georgia State Panthers quarterback Ben McLane wasn't ruled out of the Panthers' upcoming game against the Richmond Spiders. GSU offensive coordinator John Bond said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"At some point, we’ve got to let a guy play through some growing pains," Bond said. "In order to get a guy, you’ve got to let a guy play."
McLane hurt his arm when he was sacked in the second quarter against Georgia, but didn't tell his coaches that he was experiencing numbness in his arm and could not close his hand. Backup Ronnie Bell, a recent transfer from Ohio University, eventually came in and threw a touchdown pass.
McLane has started all three games this year for the Panthers, but has encountered fumbling issues. In fact, he's fumbled eight times alone in the past two games. GSU faces Richmond Saturday in the Georgia Dome.
For the second time this season Georgia State was manhandled on its home field, falling to UT-San Antonio 38-14 in the Georgia Dome. Georgia State was outgained 442-307 on the game and turned the ball over four times.
"We have a gutty bunch, but we are not doing what we need to do," said Coach Bill Curry. "We fight and scratch, but that isn’t enough… we need to eliminate the mistakes that have been plaguing us. The players are giving effort, but that’s not enough. And these are all things I have said repeatedly, but there is nothing left to say."
UTSA converted on seven of their first eight third down attempts which lead to long drives, an overwhelming time of possession advantage, and a gassed Georgia State defense. The roadrunners scored on all four of their first half possessions.
UTSA’s first possession featured a 42 yard run by running back David Glasco II. That 11 play drive went all the way down to the Georgia State nine yard line before the road runners settled for a field goal. The ensuing Georgia State possession lasted only three plays as McLane found Albert Wilson down the sideline for an 85 yard touchdown pass, the longest in Georgia State history.
The 7-3 lead would be the only time the Panthers were ahead the entire game as the Roadrunners then scored 35 unanswered points.
Ben McLane injured his wrist late in the first half and he returned briefly, but was benched for Ohio University transfer Ronnie Bell. McLane finished 6 of 14 for 126 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Bell was 5 for 11 for 95 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He is the fifth quarterback to appear in a game for the Panthers in the last 14 games.
Bell flashed a very strong arm on a number of occasions and showed ability to make plays with his feet by rushing for 22 yards on three carries. He showed poise in the pocket and delivered a number of good balls. But Bell also showed a little bit of over confidence in his ability by forcing two passes that should never have been thrown, resulting in two interceptions. UTSA scored 21 points off of Panther turnovers.
UTSA quarterback Eric Soza was effective throughout the entire game. His mobility proved to be an issue for the Panthers as he ran for 51 yards on nine rushes and Georgia State failed to record a sack for the third straight game. Soza managed the game well, took chances when he could, and was efficient running the option. He finished the game 17 of 24 for 206 yards and two touchdowns.
GSU had no answer for Soza on defense. The secondary was consistently out of position and when they were in position they didn’t make the play. On a 20 yard touchdown pass from Soza to Marcellus Mack that made the scoore 31-7, Jamal Ransby had perfect position to make a play on the ball, and instead of doing so he watched as Mack came across him to catch the touchdown pass.
While the game was already in hand, it is plays like those that have exemplify the Panther’s struggles. The defense simply does not make enough big plays to get teams off the field. Meanwhile, the offense remains stagnant and without identity.
Georgia State’s running back Donald Russell carried the ball just 10 times on the day. He finished with 76 yards and a 7.6 yards per carry average, which brings his total on the season to 266 yards on 37 carries and a 7.1 yards per carry average.
Curry said after the game that they would reassess the quarterback position once they find out the extent of McLane’s injury.
Georgia State’s defense has been gashed for the third week in a row, giving up 107 yards to UTSA QB Eric Soza, who came into the game averaging only 187 yards per game. GSU has particularly had issues getting off the field on third down as UTSA converted on seven of their nine third down attempts, which lead to the Roadrunners scoring points on each of their first four possessions and taking a 24-7 lead into the half.
On the first drive of the game UTSA took advantage of a 42 yard run by David Glasco II and advanced all the way down to the GSU nine yard before settling for a field goal.
The ensuing Georgia State possession was capped by Ben McLane hitting a streaking Albert Wilson for an 85 yard touchdown pass, the longest in Georgia State history. That pass would be the lone bright spot for a struggling Panther team over the first 30 minutes.
UTSA responded immediately to the touchdown by returning the kickoff to the Georgia State 16. They would score on a five yard touchdown pass from Soza to Aaron Grubb to make the score 17-7.
Georgia State’s would use hard running by running back Donald Russell on their next possession to move the ball all the way to the GSU 26 before the 46 yard field goal attempt by Christian Benvenuto was blocked.
UTSA would score on a 1 yard touchdown run to make the score 24-7 with 5:27 remaining.
The Georgia State Panthers (0-2) welcome the UTSA Roadrunners (2-0) to Atlanta, GA as two of the newest football programs in the country meet up Saturday at the Georgia Dome. Even with their short histories, this is the second meeting between the two schools. UTSA escaped with a 17-14 overtime victory last year.
This is only the second season in UTSA history. The team made the move up to the WAC after spending their inaugural season as an FCS independent. In their first year in FBS, the Roadrunners are a perfect 2-0, defeating fellow FBS newcomers South Alabama and Division 2 Texas A&M-Commerce.
UTSA has a balanced attack led by quarterback Eric Soza. Soza has passed for 374 yards so far this season on 30-52 passing with four touchdowns and one interception while also rushing for 60 yards so far this season.
David Glasco II and Evans Okotcha are a solid one-two punch for head coach Larry Coker. The duo combined for 216 yards this year with two touchdowns, both by Glasco II.
Game time, TV schedule: 6 p.m. ET. No TV
Spread: Odds are not published for games involving FCS teams.
For news, analysis, and more: For more coverage of Georgia State football, stay tuned to SB Nation Atlanta.
Georgia State is preparing for Texas-San Antonio this Saturday at the Georgia Dome, and Wednesday's practice was one of the more spirited of the year, according to head coach Bill Curry:
"There's a lot of energy every day, it's just a matter of getting them to expend it," coach Bill Curry said. "We are improving and that (the energy) will be fine as long as we do it in the game."
Practices before the season-opening loss to South Carolina State and last week's to the Volunteers didn't have the positive vibe that has been building this week.
"I've never had a poor team develop into a really good team without this," Curry said.
Another positive at Georgia State's practices is that quarterback Ben McLane has yet to fumble the ball all week. This is notable because McLane fumbled the ball six times against Tennessee, with most of those coming from the center exchange.
For more on Georgia State football stay tuned to SB Nation Atlanta.
Through two games, the biggest problem the Georgia State coaching staff is trying to figure out is how to get to the opposing quarterback. The Panthers have yet to record a sack this season.
Getting the team to realize that a pass rush involves more than the defensive line is the first step, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"All sacks are a function of all 11," Georgia State coach Bill Curry said. "Most breakdowns are a function of all 11. We’ve got to do a better job of all of them."
One of the problems on defense has been getting the players to learn a new scheme. The team switched from a 3-4 defense to a 4-2-5 this season.
The Panthers have lost games to South Carolina State and Tennessee by a combined score of 84-19.
For more coverage of Georgia State football, stay tuned to SB Nation Atlanta.
Here are some notes and quotes from the weekly GSU football press conference. Head coach Bill curry was joined by Grant King this week who is the only Georgia State player to have started every game in which the Panthers have played.
Curry Opening remarks:
“Every game is a big game for us, for obvious reasons… Larry Coker is a wonderful coach. He was an offensive wizard as a coordinator and then was coach of the year twice at Miami. His system requires a lot of discipline. They run the option like a good option team. They run drop back passing like a good drop back passing team. They run the power run game good like a good power run team.
Eric Soza is their QB and has been their QB, which is a big advantage for them. I am very impressed with their WR Cam Jones who is number one. He is very fast.
They have a very well drilled offensive line. Their place kicker is 6 for 5 this season including a 51 yarder to win the game against South Alabama. He is 17 of 24 for his career, so he is human but this year he has been excellent.
The leader of their secondary is Brandon Reeves. Free safety Tristan Wade is an excellent player.
Last week we got a great lesson in hustle plays. Jarrell Robinson made a hustle play that saved a touchdown on a kick return. Our defense ended up holding and Tennessee missed a field goal. We have to hustle like that on every play.
Enthused about the improvement of our team. Particularly the offensive and defensive lines. Both lines are providing goo leadership.
McLane has continued to take steps forward. Coach Bond assured me that our center-qb exchance will be fixed. McLane said he simply didn’t have his eye on the ball because he was trying to read the Tennessee blitz.
Have to improve in our pass defense.
There was a moment where a hustle play actually cost us a touchdown. Grant King pulled and ran all the way across the field to try to set up a touchdown run by Donald Russell. Russell didn’t see him coming and tripped over his foot, so we had to settle for a field goal.
Injury update- The injury situation is day to day. Giles has a shoulder issue that they are continuing to run tests on. Williams moved better today but is still hobbled. We will never make excuses because of injuries."
Curry on Pass coverage- "The soft coverage was not by design. We did not line up and say hey try to make a tackle in the back of the endzone. Guys were too tentative and gave the receivers way too much room.
Curry on whether they thought about playing Bell- We had a guy that was hitting passes when somebody was open. Said he wasn’t looking at the ball, he was reading the blitz. Wasn’t wide eyed at all.
Curry said Ben McLane hasn’t dropped a snap in practice this week.
Grant King on how has Ben changed- As a new QB he has been doing a great job, especially with a new no huddle system. He didn’t miss a check Saturday.
Curry on the NCAA Delic ruling- Was a very big one. NCAA has procedures, and we understand, and we have worked diligently. We were told reasons that we will not reveal. It’s a big loss. He will get stronger. He promised us that he would do everything he could to help us on the scout team. We have been told there isn’t any kind of appeal, but if there is I would recommend we do it.
Curry- Last year’s loss to UTSA was devastating. I had a big hand in it. Not so much we owe UTSA one, but we owe ourselves. We let that one get away. I made some dumb calls.
King- The players had a hand in it too. We could have executed better in that game.
Curry on simplifying the offense- we were thinking way too much in the first game. We cut some things.
King- We learned to play and just have fun. Some of us took it too seriously because of our record last year and we played tight.
King on scoring the first offensive TD against an FBS opponent- It felt great. We come in expecting nothing less but to play hard. No matter who we are playing, we expect to win. Being in that venue it was exciting to score against them. We were playing how we should have been already.
Grant King on opening drive and Donald’s trip- Things happened for whatever reason. We didn’t score a TD, but you can’t hang your head on that play. That play is over, you have to focus on the next play.
King- Tennessee was just one step for us. We knew we had another level and we had another gear. Coming off UT our practices are a lot more crisp.
Curry on the improvement of Special Teams- We’ve got starters and athletes playing there and we implemented special teams drills in the off season. Every day. So that has been why we improved.
Curry on whether he believes in the cliche that teams improve most from week 1 to week 2- I don’t believe that week 1 to week 2 deal. I expect our team to improve every week. There was some improvement. But there was still way too much that we left in the tank. It was obvious with 25 minutes left that we had a chance to compete. What was clinic talk by me became reality. We were in it. But we didn’t cover, we played tentative. We played hard, but that wasn’t the objective. The goal is to be in the game and win the game.
Curry on timeouts at the end of the game- We want to make sure we use every instant we have to continue to play our hearts out. We aren’t going to leave timeouts on the board.
Curry on Midget’s reaction to secondary play- He takes responsibility. That’s what coaches do. It hasn’t been good enough. His job is to correct it. We also have had very little pass rush and have yet to record a sack.
King on the improvement of the offensive line- Majority of the line is young. That first game helped them get the jitters out. Either you get 2 percent better or worse. It doesn’t matter if we have a bad game or a good game, we have to improve 2 percent every day. With the OL, we are getting more confident with how each other plays. It’s my job to keep everybody’s mind focused. We could do a lot better job of recognizing blitzes and taking that pressure off of Ben McLane.
Delic, a transfer student from the University of Kentucky, spent two years with the Wildcats prior to transferring to Georgia State.
Typically when a student-athlete transfers from an FBS (formerly Division I) to an FCS (formerly Division II) school, he is eligible to play immediately. Per Doug Roberson, here's why Delic's request was denied:
Normally, players that transfer from a FBS school to an FCS school are automatically eligible . Because Georgia State is in the first year of a two-year transition to FBS, the players were deemed to be automatically ineligible until the NCAA's rulings.
Delic will have two years of eligibility after he sits out the 2012 season. Still, he's likely understandably very frustrated at the outcome.
For the latest on all things Georgia State football, be sure to check back at SB Nation Atlanta throughout the year.
Georgia State coach Bill Curry saw some improvement between his team's season-opening loss at South Carolina State and in its second game against Tennessee.
They took defeats in both of those games - 33-6 to South Carolina State and 51-13 to 23-ranked Tennessee.
The biggest area of improvement GSU is looking for entering its Sept. 15 game against Texas-San Antonio is out of redshirt freshman quarterback Ben McLane. He fumbled six times against Tennessee, something he would later attribute to taking a final look at the secondary as he was receiving the snap.
Those kinds of adjustments are what Curry feels can be improved, and facing deep teams like South Carolina and Tennessee gave the Panthers some insight into what they'll have entering the Colonial Athletic Association season.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
For more Georgia State news and highlights, stick around SB Nation Atlanta.
UTSA began playing football in 2011, a year after Georgia State's program was launched.
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