FACTS & STATS: Site: Georgia Dome (71,228) — Atlanta, Georgia.
Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: ASU 3-0, GSU 1-2. Away Record: ASU 0-2,
GSU 0-2. Neutral Record: ASU 0-0, GSU 0-0. Conference Record: ASU 1-0, GSU
0-2. Series Record: Arkansas State leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas State Red Wolves take aim at a third straight victory
on Saturday when they visit the Georgia State Panthers for a Sun Belt
conference clash at the Georgia Dome.
If the Red Wolves hope to build on the back-to-back wins they will need to do
something they haven’t done this season — win on the road. Arkansas State is
sporting a 3-2 overall record, including a 1-0 mark in conference play, but it
lost to Tennessee (34-19) and Miami-Florida (41-20) in its two away games.
Georgia State barely survived against FCS foe Abilene Christian in the first
week of the season. That game was clearly an omen as the Panthers have lost
four straight since, including 34-31 setbacks against New Mexico State and
Louisiana in their two conference bouts.
This is Georgia State’s second season as an FBS program and second in the Sun
Belt. The Panthers lost to Arkansas State (35-33) last season in the first-
ever meeting between the two programs.
In its most recent bout, Arkansas State rolled up 29 first downs and 572 yards
of total offense in a 28-14 win over ULM. It was par for the course
considering the Red Wolves rank seventh in the Sun Belt in scoring (25 ppg),
despite placing fourth in total offense (421.1 ypg). Part of the issue has
been a failure to consistently score in the red zone, with 12 touchdowns and
three field goals in 20 visits.
Dual-threat quarterback Fredi Knighten leads the offense. He has accounted for
nine total touchdowns (five rushing, four passing) while turning the ball over
three times via interceptions. As a passer he has thrown for 1,076 yards in
hitting 59.3 percent of his attempts, while accumulating 240 rushing yards on
Knighten relies heavily on J.D. McKissic when he drops back in the pocket,
with the receiver tallying 30 receptions for 343 yards. Tre Houston is second
on the team in both categories, with 17 grabs for 189 yards as well as one of
the team’s five total receiving touchdowns.
Johnston White (260 yards, three TDs) and Michael Gordon (253 yards, TD) share
the rushing duties. Gordon has been a more elusive and productive back,
averaging 8.7 yards per carry and 63.2 yards per game. White is averaging 4.6
ypc and 52 ypg. Gordon really helped his totals against ULM when he racked up
168 yards on 15 carries.
Arkansas State’s real area of strength is defense, as the unit ranks third in
the Sun Belt in points (22.6 ppg) and yards (378.4 ypg) allowed. In fact, the
Red Wolves are one of only three teams in the SBC to be giving up fewer than
400 yards per game. They are especially effective against the run, allowing
just 3.3 yards per carry.
Xavier Woodson (40 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks) not only leads the team in
tackles but stops for a loss as well. Chris Stone (4.0 sacks) is the unit’s
top pass rusher.
Georgia State can pick up yards and score just about as well as any team in
the league. The Panthers are putting up just over 30 points and 450 yards each
week. Unfortunately, they are also allowing nearly 40 points per game and a
similar yardage total to their foes.
In last week’s loss to Louisiana, they held a 24-21 edge in first downs but
allowed the Ragin’ Cajuns to average 7.3 yards per play and finish with 461
yards of total offense.
Nick Arbuckle is the man under center for the Panthers, who prefer to throw
the ball rather than run it. Arbuckle is second in the Sun Belt in passing
yards (1,591) and one of only two in the league averaging more than 300 yards
per game. He has completed 63.4 percent of his attempts and tallied nine
touchdowns, but his frequent passing has led to some mistakes, with eight
interceptions also on his record.
Robert Davis (26 receptions, 305 yards, TD) leads the team in receptions, but
he has not been the most explosive. Lynquez Blair (22 receptions, 294 yards,
three TDs) leads the team in touchdown receptions and Donovan Harden (21
receptions, 340 yards, TD) and Joel Ruiz (19 receptions, 298 yards, two TDs)
are better deep threats.
Joseph Peterson (62 tackles, 2.0 sacks, INT) is the player to watch on the GSU
defense, although Jarrell Robinson (7.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks) leads the team in
tackles for loss and sacks.
With Arbuckle racking up the yards, the Panthers always have a shot at pulling
off an upset. However, their inability to stop opposing offenses will continue
to haunt them, especially against a solid team like Arkansas State.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 37, Georgia State 28