Greetings, all –
Hope this finds you celebrating a memorable night in Georgia State history. It was something I’ll remember for awhile. Six quick takes as we move forward.
1. Star Jackson has some work cut out for him.
Starter Drew Little did his job well and earned kudos from coach Bill Curry after the game. He finished 13-for-17 for 135 yards with two touchdown passes and, perhaps most importantly, no turnovers. GSU put up 20 points in the first half, 10 of those points coming on drives of 59 yards or more. For the most part, he kept the team out of bad spots and didn’t look like the game was too big for him.
Jackson, who is the No. 2 behind Little, was benched for the first half for being late to the team bus on Wednesday going to the hotel. Curry decided to not play him the entire game, using No. 3 Kelton Hill instead.
If I had to guess, I’d say Jackson will end up the starter eventually, but Little isn’t going to make it easy for him.
2. It was 41-7, but let’s not go overboard
There’s a lot to pick at here. Shorter had less size and less talent. Frankly, no one should be too surprised that the score ended up as it did. As I think I said in the last blog, by a very rough estimation, Shorter, which plays NAIA, would maybe be something like a low-end Division II team if it were in the NCAA, so it’s a game Georgia State should have won handily, even if it was the first game.
Keep in mind that West Alabama, a very good Division II team, beat Shorter last week 37-7.
3. Great turnout, but will they come back?
I think anyone who was there supporting Georgia State had to leave the building happy (except for maybe these two students I saw, apparently boyfriend-girlfriend, who didn’t look very pleased with each other). There was an energy in the Georgia Dome that was palpable. I walked around the concourse a little bit before the game, and it just seemed like everyone was so excited to be there. Obviously, this isn’t exactly news – no one goes to a football game against his or her will – but this was something a little different.
The folks in the athletic department got about as big a bounce as they could have hoped for. However, there’s a lot less appeal to going to the second game in school history, or the third or fourth or fifth, than the first. In a lot of ways, it’s easier to make it to a Saturday afternoon game, but at the same time, now they’re competing against Georgia, Georgia Tech, every other game on TV and all the other things that often manage to keep Atlantans out of stadiums.
Roughly, there were about 14,200 fans who bought a single-game ticket Thursday night. (30,000 attendance minus roughly 11,000 students and 4,800 season-ticket holders) If GSU can turn a quarter of those people into regulars and hold on to even half of the students, that would be a win.
4. Paul Johnson wins
Despite Shorter being out-manned, the Hawks’ offense ran for 206 yards and busted its share of long gains. Their triple-option offense, similar to Georgia Tech’s, showed again what Tech fans know well. When executed well, it’s not easy to stop. There were several plays that unfolded like Tech’s so often do – a simple handoff to a back who raced through the line untouched, or quarterback Ben Williams running a two-on-one option on the perimeter while his receiver cut blocked a defensive back down the field to open up a lane.
5. A few stars
I didn’t get to watch as much of the game as I would have liked – it was an unusual night – but a few players jumped out at me. Drew Little, as mentioned. Cornerback Brent McClendon made a few plays on the perimeter. Running back Parris Lee was productive with the ball. The offensive line – it seemed like the ball went right a lot behind guard Harrison Clottey and Grant King – protected well and opened holes.
6. A tidbit you won’t get anywhere else
Bill and Carolyn Curry had about 60 guests – close friends and relatives – come for the game. That doesn’t include groups that came from their condominium and their Sunday school class.
What do you think?
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