This is a game against the old and the new. Georgia State is in their 4th season of collegiate football. It has been a rocky start. Georgia Southern has been on the gridiron for 90 years and are leading the Sun Belt Conference midway through the 2014 season.
The Eagles moved to the big leagues in 2012 by joining the Sun Belt and entering the Football Bowl Subdivision level. The school committed to expanding football facilities in order to meet the requirements of the FBS. Earlier this year they joined the Sun Belt and are bowl eligible next year. Off to the races in 2014 they are 5-2 with a perfect 4-0 record in conference play. Their two losses were by 1 point and 4 points while their wins include a 83-9 beating of Savannah State and a 28-6 victory over South Alabama. Besides Sun Belt power UL-Monroe, GSU’s only big competitor remaining is Navy.
Southern runs the ball more often than they pass the ball. With almost 200 carries between Breida and QB Ellison they have racked up 1500 yards in rushing offense. Those two have 15 touchdowns between them as well, more than double the 7 passing TD’s from passing by Upshaw and Ellison. With almost 1000 yards passing, Ellison is comfortable running and passing. Southern ranks 1st in all FBS for rushing yards and 11th overall for points. The Savannah game may have inflated these rankings a bit.
The Panthers joined the FBS in 2012 in their second year. Finally eligible for post season play the Panthers are off to a rough start. Coming off the 2013 season when they were winless, Georgia State won their first game on opening day against Abilene Christian. That was their first win since October 2012. The win this season snapped a 16 game losing streak. Georgia State’s standout is QB Nick Arbuckle. His 2064 yard passing gets GSU a top 25 ranking in passing yards. They have 3 games where they lost by only 3 points. The Panthers are really close to breaking through. They should be competitive against Appalachian State and Troy before going to Clemson in late November.
Thanks to QB Arbuckle and receivers like Harden and Davis the Panthers like to air it out. With an average catch of 15 yards each they will put Georgia Southern to the test when passing. Expect their running game to be subdued and used sparingly against a tough Eagle defense that only allows an average of 21 points per game.
Around the Sun Belt
While the 4-0 Eagles (Sun Belt teams) prepare to take on the 0-4 Panthers (Conference play) the Sun Belt was playing their second Tuesday night game. University of Louisiana Lafayette hosted Arkansas State at home. The Cajuns won on Tuesday night for the second week in a row. They remain unbeaten in the Sun Belt like Georgia Southern. While Georgia Southern is not eligible for bowl play until next year, this team has quickly established itself a powerhouse in the Sun Belt. Georgia State and Georgia Southern will play in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. EST.
We are only 2 months away from the 14th playing of the New Orleans Bowl. December 20 the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will kickoff the 2014 College Football Bowl Season at 11 a.m. EST from the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with all the action from the Sun Belt and Mountain West Conference.