Texas State comes off of another tough loss at the hands of New Mexico State. This weekend they have an opportunity to get back on track against a Georgia State team that has an identical 2-6 record.
The Last Matchup
Last year, the Bobcats and the Panthers had a shootout with Texas State coming out on top, 54-31. Both Tyler Jones and Rob Lowe had strong offensive outputs. Jones had 267 yards through the air with two touchdowns and added another 65 on the ground with two more scores. Lowe carried the ball 20 times for nearly 150 yards. For the Panthers, quarterback Nick Arbuckle threw for over 350 yards and had four touchdowns, but also two interceptions. The Bobcats were able to win the turnover battle three to zero, turning away GSU.
Trent Miles is the lead man for Georgia State. He has been with the program since 2012 and in similar fashion to Dennis Franchione, Miles helped lead the Panthers to FBS level football. He’s a former assistant coach at Stanford, Notre Dame, and Washington. As a head coach, Miles carries a 23-65 record overall.
Players to Watch
Nick Arbuckle, Senior Quarterback
In his second year as the Panthers’ starter, Arbuckle has completed 63.4% of his passes, while accumulating 16 touchdowns passing with eight interceptions and over 2,600 yards. Arbuckle has not been a threat to run this season. He tends to spread the ball around to his receivers with six players having over 10 receptions, and two with 40-plus receptions in wide receivers Penny Hart and Robert Davis.
Penny Hart, Freshman Wide Receiver
Though he is only a freshman, Hart has been the most productive receiver for the Georgia State Panthers. In eight games of work, he has 46 receptions for a total of 738 yards and four touchdowns. He is averaging 92 yards per contest. Standing at 5’9’’ 170 pounds, Hart plays a lot from the slot and has a lot of speed. Against New Mexico State he had 11 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
Joseph Peterson, Senior Linebacker
Peterson is a two-time all-conference linebacker for Georgia State. He’s been the teams’ leading tackler each of the past three season. This year, he has 78 total tackles, five tackles for loss and one and a half sacks. He was a member of the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List and preseason All-Sun selection.
Keys to Victory
Feed Rob Lowe. The Georgia State defense is 102nd in the nation in rushing yards per game allowed at nearly 200 per contest. Lowe has been running the ball well as of late, so the offensive coaching staff needs to put together a good game plan to exploit the weak Panther rush defense. Along with Lowe, Tyler Jones needs take advantage of open running lanes when they are available, especially on third down.
Hold the Panthers under 50% conversions on third down. The Bobcats are one of the five worst teams in terms of third down defense, allowing teams to convert 51% of their attempts. Coach Franchione mentioned it, third down and long defense killed this team against New Mexico State. The defense needs to keep Hart in check on third downs.