Looking back at the opener

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.

Parris Lee goes for six.

Parris Lee's o-line buddies make a way.

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.

Some links – Mark Bradley’s column; AJC photo gallery, the AP game story, the AJC version, colleague Pierce Huff’s notebook and sidebar.

What do you think?

Get updates on Twitter at ajcgsu.

31 comments Add your comment

Big Macon Dawg

September 3rd, 2010
11:18 am

That’s more fans than show up to Tech games!

Greg from Marietta

September 3rd, 2010
11:19 am

As a GSU alum I couldn’t be prouder of these young men. Best of luck during the season and give Bama a good fight. I’ll be pulling for you! Go Panthers!!!

Panther Prowler

September 3rd, 2010
11:33 am

GREAT GAME from a GREAT SEAT!!! The crowd was LOUD, and (get this, Atlanta fans), ON TIME!!!

GO PANTHERS!!!

Panther Prowler

September 3rd, 2010
11:35 am

Ken, could you have this blog placed on the list of blogs on the front of the sports page, right under (or over, hehe) the UGA and Tech blogs? It’s hard to find it otherwise, and it would really increase traffic if you did. Plus, you could post your picture there right over Mr. College Football.

Joseph

September 3rd, 2010
11:51 am

Last night was awesome! Go Panthers!

GSU Mens BB Fan

September 3rd, 2010
11:59 am

In addition to putting this blog on the Sports page, it would be nice if it was on the Georgia State page as well.

Anyway, thanks Ken for the comments and coverage!

Carole Scott

September 3rd, 2010
11:59 am

At last! GSU football! Congratulations from a 1959, 1965, and 1969 GSU grad who well remembers when it seemed impossible.

Panama

September 3rd, 2010
12:05 pm

Was a historic night and one I have waited for for 23 years. GO PANTHERS!

…and yes, can we get this moved to the GSU Page, it was hard to find.

GSU FAN

September 3rd, 2010
12:11 pm

The most fun I had at a sporting event in a long time!!! GSU! GSU! Goooo Panthers!!!

pds

September 3rd, 2010
12:20 pm

Why no mention of the line at the box office? There were hundreds outside trying to get in while the game was being played. We saw more than a few people leave since the line was not moving.

Cos

September 3rd, 2010
12:42 pm

Great night for GaState. Bring on Alamaba. We’ve got the Tide quaking in thier boots. We will be No.1 by year end. Georgia Tech who? We’ll manhandle that North Ave. trade school as well. They will probably be too afraid to play us. Nothing can stop us now!! Wahoo!

GSU!

September 3rd, 2010
1:09 pm

I’m out of the country but would had loved to have been in Atlanta to see this historic game. I can’t wait to see this program grow. If the student section can keep this type of energy the rest of the fans will follow as well. Alum support is also key. Here’s to a great GSU football season. Go PANTHERS!

Stinger

September 3rd, 2010
1:22 pm

Georgia State could beat UGA right now. No doubt about it.

Timber

September 3rd, 2010
1:26 pm

Hey Tech and UGA fans (Cos, Stinger), stop trying to piss each other off….this is about GSU!

Stinger

September 3rd, 2010
1:33 pm

OK, GSU sucks!!

Sam

September 3rd, 2010
2:04 pm

Stinger, you are delusion. Typical Tech fan.

Michael the Bama Man in GA!

September 3rd, 2010
2:45 pm

I have to agree. Lots of positives. As for people coming back, heck I am a season ticket holder (go figure and I love my Tide — Class of 83 ROCKS (by the way)). Given the reaction of those who sat around me, I think they are season ticket holders too! It was a great night. Coach Curry is a WINNER! These young men oozed poise and character even when it seems Shorter took short cuts by executing chop blocks and getting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. I think any true fan of Georgia State football realizes this is a marathon effort, not a sprint. Just being in that atmosphere was electric!

GSU!

September 3rd, 2010
2:46 pm

Singer is either a Tech fan or just a troll. Do not feed the troll. Also, please, let’s not turn this blog into a food-fight with each college’s supporters stereo-typing the other teams’ fans. This is not the place to do that. We are celebrating the birth of football at GSU! Can we at least agree on that?

Michael the Bama Man in GA!

September 3rd, 2010
2:48 pm

@Cos… you are FUNNY! I won’t even dignify your comments with an in depth response.

Go Panthers! Roll Tide Roll!

Ken Sugiura

September 3rd, 2010
2:55 pm

Karen Fountain

September 3rd, 2010
4:38 pm

Last night’s game was magical….enjoyed seeing the historic victory! Best of wishes for the entire season…so proud to be a Georgia State Panther!!!

itsmeagain

September 3rd, 2010
5:18 pm

It’s possible that the hype being brought about by the football could lead to higher attendance at the basketball games

Panama

September 3rd, 2010
6:17 pm

itsmeagain,

We can only hope so. With this excitement and the Sports Arena improvements, it’s a great time to be a Panther.

FleshBomb

September 3rd, 2010
11:40 pm

What an incredible night for this alum. I just wish I could have seen the kickoff. The scene at will call was absurd. Stood in line for an hour. AT WILL CALL. I thought there was going to be a riot. I give them a pass on this one. First game is going to have some kinks. That mess at the ticket booths needs to be addressed though.

Steve Goss

September 5th, 2010
11:15 am

Ticketing definately needs to improve. This may be a Georgia Dome employee problem but those standing ourtside don’t care. I bougth a season ticket package and still don’t have it!

GT and GSU

September 5th, 2010
11:20 pm

If GSU could figure out how to schedule its Home games when Tech is away…

.. a lot of dual alumni like me would have VERY p-o-ed wives!

Congrats to Coach Curry, AD Levik, Panther football team, and all who made this happen!

GSU is probably going to get spanked in Tuscaloosa, but Bill Curry and Star Jackson MAY have some fun.

dawg day afternoon

September 6th, 2010
2:45 pm

GSU doesn’t need to play GT. State has enough cupcakes on their schedule.

lanier

September 7th, 2010
6:36 am

If they continue to win BIG i think the fans will come, but if they falter or struggle for a few games in a row it will cost big time in attendence.
I hope they do great and though i have no ties to GSU and live in Macon i’ll be in the dome to check them out later in the season

Dontavius Supremo

September 7th, 2010
1:35 pm

I also am an alum and I also am happy for the team and for Coach Curry. Well done men! Now, for the real work….. We need to maintain the “high” of this game, especially among the current student body. Their attendance and participation in the games (be raucous!) is a critical element; it is for any college. For us alums, we need to support the program with $$$$; buy season ticket, donate to the Athletic Association, actually go to the games! GSU can build a program; I just do not want to see football at my alma mater treated with the same level of disrepect that we have treated GSU basketball over the years.

ATLNative

September 7th, 2010
4:34 pm

As a rabid SEC undergrad who is about to finish grad school at GSU, the experience was truly outstanding. My parents and brother have 4 GSU degrees between them and we have 6 season tickets, so we plan on being at quite a few of these. However, a few notes:
– GSU fans need to know that it’s not cool to cheer as loud as you can when your team is on offense. Shut up so the QB can call the play – we got burned once on this one.
– GSU needs a kickoff cheer. We did an impromptu “Gooooooooooooooooooooo STATE!”, with only the guy in front of us adopting it with us (btw – thanks, guy in front of us. Too bad it didn’t catch on!)
– Gotta get that fight song out to the masses. No one knows it and it needs to be sung, loud and proud!
– Sound guy/girl needs to practice with the music volume controls and que up songs to good spots when it’s 3rd down and the crowd needs a quick adrenaline boost. Since the alum is older, new hip-hop that only the students know might not be the best choice.
– Fans need to know when the momentum is swinging GSUs way, stand up and keep it going. Sitting is for before kickoff, in-between quarters, box seats, or your couch.

Can’t wait for next week!

Directions

September 7th, 2010
5:05 pm

Ken: Is there a Bill Curry radio or television show?