Georgia State Football takes to the road for the first time in 2011 facing a Jacksonville State who is ranked No. 16 in the latest polls. Will the Panthers be able to avenge their 2010 overtime loss?
Georgia State football celebrated a season of firsts in 2010. Each game seemed to be something new. This season the Panthers enter Week 3 as they did in 2010 at 1-1 and looking to re-focus after an embarrassing home loss.
The Panthers take to the road out I-20 West facing the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, who limp into the matchup after a 38-17 loss at UT-Chattanooga, slipping in the FCS ranks to No. 16. Georgia State is seeking only their second-ever road win and first versus a ranked opponent in a game that will pit former teammates Dexter Moody and Washaun Ealey against each other.
The 2010 matchup was a classic, as the Panthers bowed to JSU in overtime when Marques Ivory surged over the goal line on 3rd and goal. Panthers tight end Arthur Williams was unable to keep his feet in bounds on a 4th down, and the Gamecocks escaped the Georgia Dome with a 34-27 win.
Bill Curry said this week that he feels much better with the preparation level this week, and believes the team has tightened up the things that set them back vs. Old Dominion.
"Our team right now is very disappointed, and we have practiced hard to correct the things that need to be corrected. We've practiced hard to redeem ourselves. I believe we are preparing in a manner that will allow us to play our very best. We don't always understand why we aren't ourselves when it comes time to play, but that's just the human factor. The only answer to how we feel right now is to have great preparation all week and go get a win on the road in a tough place to play."
A part of Curry's plan to correct some of these mistakes was to change personnel for JSU. OLB Allen McKay, ILB Mike Hall and CB Demarius Mathews are new starters for Saturday's game. Senior Center Ben Jacoby is out with an MCL strain and will be replaced by RS Sophomore Michael Davis.
Expect the Panthers to focus on the running game and force JSU to load more players into the box. The Gamecocks run a 4-2-5 defense and have been downright dreadful giving up 938 offensive yards in their first two games. Georgia State will face a JSU defensive front seven that is 80lbs lighter than last week vs. Old Dominion. If the Panthers can continue to average better than 4.0 yards per carry from the running back position, they will be able to slow the game down and grind JSU down. Offensive Coordinator John Bond will likely limit his quarterbacks throwing opportunities and aim for 20 passes or less attempted after the Panthers threw three interceptions vs. ODU.
Look for the Panthers to escape with a closer victory and build yet another strong brick in the foundation of Georgia State football.