FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (81,500) — Clemson, South Carolina.
Television: RSN, ESPN3.com. Home Record: Georgia St. 1-4, Clemson 5-0. Away
Record: Georgia St. 0-5, Clemson 2-3. Neutral Record: Georgia St. 0-0, Clemson
0-0. Conference Record: Georgia St. 0-7, Clemson 6-2. Series Record: First-
GAME NOTES: Coming off a tough road loss at Georgia Tech last weekend, the
Clemson Tigers return to Death Valley, stepping out of conference to take on
the Georgia State Panthers on Saturday.
Dabo Swinney’s Tigers got their starting quarterback back on the field for a
short time, but in the end, Clemson was no match for the Yellow Jackets in
Atlanta, dropping a 28-6 decision. The loss negated any chance at an Atlantic
Division title, as the Tigers now sit at 7-3 overall and 6-2 in ACC play.
Trent Miles hasn’t had much success in his two seasons at Georgia State. The
Panthers opened the 2014 campaign with a 38-37 win over Abilene Christian, but
haven’t won since, falling to 1-9 overall and 0-7 in the Sun Belt Conference,
with a 45-21 setback at Troy two weeks ago. In two seasons at the helm, Miles
is now just 1-21.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
Injuries have taken their toll on the Panthers, as they have tried to navigate
their way through the 2014 season. That has had a lot to do with the team’s
inability to win games. Georgia State lost its depth at running back to injury
and as a result, has really struggled to move the football on the ground,
averaging just 95.6 ypg.
That however, has opened things up for junior quarterback Nick Arbuckle, who
has set single-season school records for completions (214), passing yards
(2,812) and TD passes (19). He leads the Sun Belt in passing (279.9 ypg).
It has certainly helped that Georgia State has a stable of quality receivers,
including Donovan Harden (52 rec, 796 yds, 7 TDs), Robert Davis (42 rec, 586
yds, 1 TD), Lynquez Blair (39 rec, 449 yds, 5 TDs) and Joel Ruiz (38 rec, 472
yds, 3 TDs).
Georgia State’s defense has had a much harder transition to FBS football and
the Sun Belt and the numbers aren’t good. The Panthers are dead-last
nationally (125th) in scoring defense, yielding 43.8 ppg, 124th in rush
defense, giving up 309.2 ypg and 117th in total defense (500.1 ypg). The unit
has also recorded just 10 sacks and forced six turnovers in 10 games.
Joseph Peterson is by far the team’s top playmaker, as the junior linebacker
has recorded a team-high 91 tackles, with three sacks, one interception and
one forced fumble. Redshirt freshman linebacker Trey Payne is a distant second
with 71 total tackles and has one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble
recovery to his credit.
The six points scored against Georgia Tech were a season low for Clemson,
which is a much more dangerous offensive squad on the year. The team is much
more explosive with QB Deshaun Watson under center, but that hasn’t been often
of late. The talented freshman missed three games with a broken finger, but
returned last week against the Yellow Jackets only to suffer a knee injury in
the first quarter and did not return.
The Tigers do have a veteran backup in Cole Stoudt, who has completed 61.7
percent of his passes, for 1,444 yards and five TDs. He just isn’t the dual-
threat that Watson is.
The receiving corps is deep for Clemson, led by the play of freshman Artavis
Scott (56 rec, 643 yds, 5 TDs) and sophomore Mike Williams (38 rec, 772 yds, 4
While Georgia State’s defense has struggled, the Clemson defense has been
stellar for the most part. The Tigers rank 14th nationally in scoring defense
(19.4 ppg), fourth in pass defense (155.2 ypg) and second in total defense
Most of that has to do with a dominant front seven that has caused havoc
upfield with 100 TFL and 38 sacks. All-American Vic Beasley (25 tackles)
continues to flash NFL pass rushing skills, with team-highs in TFL (14.5) and
sacks (8.0). Linebacker Stephone Anthony has also had a strong campaign, with
a team-best 74 tackles, including 8.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks and one INT.
Georgia State’s is at its best throwing the football, but against a team like
Clemson, which tortures opposing passers, it will be a monumental task just to
keep Arbuckle upright.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Clemson 53, Georgia State 10