FACTS & STATS: Site: Ladd-Peebles Stadium (33,471) — Mobile, Alabama.
Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: GSU 1-3, USA 0-2. Away Record: GSU 0-2,
USA 3-0. Neutral Record: GSU 0-0, USA 0-0. Conference Record: GSU 0-3,
USA 2-1. Series Record: South Alabama leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: Georgia State again aims for its first road win of the season, as
the Panthers clash with the South Alabama Jaguars in Sun Belt Conference
action at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday night.
The Panthers opened the 2014 campaign with a thrilling, last-second win over
Abilene Christian (38-37) in the Georgia Dome, but since then it has been all
down hill. Last weekend, GSU hosted Arkansas State and was blown away in a
52-10 final, marking the squad’s fifth consecutive setback. At this point, the
Panthers have won a total of just two games since the start of the 2012
As for the Jaguars, they enjoyed some time off last week, following their
47-21 blowout of Appalachian State in North Carolina back on Oct. 4. The squad
has now won two straight and three of five on the campaign, with each victory
coming on the road.
In terms of the all-time series, USA is ahead by a count of 2-1 after posting
a 38-17 triumph in last year’s meeting in Atlanta. Of the three wins tallied
by GSU back in 2011, one was a 27-20 double-overtime affair against USA.
For just the fifth time in program history, the Panthers surrendered at least
600 yards of offense to an opponent, making it that much easier for Arkansas
State to stomp Georgia State last weekend. The Red Wolves ran for 384 yards
and scored four times on the ground, with three more TDs coming through the
From an offensive standpoint, the Panthers logged a mere 71 net rushing yards,
with Gerald Howse leading the way with 29 yards and a score on 11 carries.
Nick Arbuckle and Ben McLane handled the passing responsibilities for GSU as
they combined to hit 20-of-39 attempts for 198 yards, the former suffering
four sacks and the latter throwing an interception.
Arbuckle has taken the bulk of the snaps at quarterback for the Panthers, but
that doesn’t mean he has a lock on the position by any means. Through six
games he has thrown nine touchdowns, against eight interceptions, and has
completed 61.3 percent of his throws for 292.2 ypg. There are four receivers
with at least 24 catches thus far, one of those being Lynquez Blair who has
turned his 27 receptions into a team-best three TDs.
The rushing offense has been less than average, checking in with a mere 118.3
ypg to rank 107th in the country this week. Clearly the Panthers get much more
production when Arbuckle is handling the ball, yet the program is still
posting only 27.0 ppg to tie for 83rd nationally.
On the other side of the ball, Georgia State has demonstrated consistently
that almost any opponent can have its way with the defense. Offering up 481.2
ypg in total offense, it should come as little surprise that the Panthers are
allowing 41.7 ppg (123rd).
In their last outing, the Jags scored 20 straight points to open the meeting
with Appalachian State on the road and led 40-7 late in the third quarter
before taking their foot off the gas. Quarterback Brandon Bridge threw for 339
yards and three touchdowns, adding a fourth score on the ground, as he and the
Jaguars made quick work of the Mountaineers in enemy territory.
Shavarez Smith caught six passes from Bridge and turned them into a game-high
133 yards and two scores for the visitors, which means he now has 23 catches
for 316 yards and four TDs, all of which are team highs.
Bridge has a solid efficiency rating of 121.08, thanks to having completed
55.0 percent of his attempts for 209.6 ypg and six TDs. The signal caller is
also second on the unit with 157 net rushing yards, but because he has been
sacked 13 times, there has also been a loss of 109 yards on the ground. The
squad is generating just 22.6 ppg, but by limiting foes to an average of 21.4
ppg, USA is certainly making things interesting.
One of the better defensive groups in the Sun Belt, the Jags are allowing only
190.8 ypg through the air, and while that may sound like a significant number,
it actually ranks the unit 19th nationally entering play this week. Montell
Garner has been one of the enforcers in the secondary with not only a pair of
interceptions, but six pass breakups, second only to Terrell Brigham who has
seven breakups to go along with a team-best 37 tackles and a pair of fumble
With the Panthers, a team that is having trouble working their way into the
win column, out on the road yet again this is the perfect opportunity for USA
to get the second half of the season off on the right foot.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Alabama 41, Georgia State 21