Looking back, looking forward

1. I am very interested to see how this game this Saturday. I don’t know that I’m even so interested in whether or not Georgia State wins or not more than just to see how the team stacks up, play to play, against Old Dominion.

I think Georgia State coaches have a lot of respect for what Old Dominion has done in two years, particularly going 9-2 in its first season. (From what I could tell, strength of schedule was roughly similar. Old Dominion’s 2009 schedule and GSU’s 2010 schedule have three common opponents, Campbell, North Carolina Central and Savannah State. The one exception, of course, is a certain Alabama state school on GSU’s schedule.)

The Monarchs, playing a tougher schedule this year, are 3-3. Regardless, it’ll be a good test. ODU can score and, its 50-37 loss to Cal-Poly two weeks ago (which is ranked No. 13, but will likely drop after losing Saturday) excepted, can play pretty good defense, also. Further, Old Dominion has had two weeks to get ready for the game, and it’ll be its homecoming game, for whatever that’s worth.

2. As ebullient as coaches and players were Saturday after their win over North Carolina Central, there are a few things worth considering.

- GSU gained 112 rushing yards on 35 carries, a 3.2 yards-per-carry average. Quarterback Kelton Hill gained 71 of the yards. The four running backs (Parris Lee, Rosevelt Watson, Sam Burkhalter and Travis Evans) actually had respectable totals – 19 rushes for 78 yards – but 11 of the 19 were for three yards or less. Eight of the 19 were for one yard or less. Not exactly new, but it doesn’t appear that the running game is getting significantly better, not including Hill’s efforts. (If you’re wondering about the math, Drew Little had -24 yards and the team was assigned -13 for a play on a fumbled shotgun snap.)

- NCCU had more first downs, more yards and won time of possession.

- NCCU gave Georgia State three sizeable gifts in the first half. The first was an interception on the first drive of the game. The Eagles had run eight times for 49 yards to open, and on their first pass by backup quarterback Keon Williams, the ball went straight to linebacker Brad Chahoy, who intercepted to end the threat.

In the second quarter, NCCU drove again, this time to GSU’s 17, and then running back Tony McCord threw an ill-advised option pass that Fred Barnes made a nice play on and intercepted at the 2-yard line.

On the next play, Parris Lee was tackled in the end zone, but an offsides against NCCU wiped out the play.

If the Eagles had executed those three plays better, it could have been a different game.

All that said, it makes it even more impressive that Georgia State won. Both sides of the ball delivered decisive plays and had clutch moments. Still, the Panthers will have to be more on their game this week.

3. Some links you might find interesting. One is a Boston Globe story about schools adding football when others are disbanding for financial reasons. It centers on Old Dominion and the remarkable success the program has had thus far. A good read and pertinent to Georgia State.

The other is a Boston Herald article reporting that CAA member Rhode Island may be considering leaving the conference for the Northeast Conference, noting that travel costs were among the reasons CAA schools Northeastern and Hofstra dropped football. Georgia State and Old Dominion will definitely alter and expand the CAA’s football footprint, which will mean increased travel costs for the conference’s New England schools. My guess is, if this hasn’t already been decided, that the league will split into north and south divisions, with GSU going in with James Madison, Old Dominion, Richmond, William & Mary and a sixth school, perhaps Towson.

The unfortunate thing, as some of you have said before, is that Georgia State’s closest conference member is Old Dominion, which is a nine-hour drive from Atlanta. Fans, unless they really like driving, will have to fly to every conference game. And, also, something of a burden on the athletics budget when you can’t bus to any of your conference games.

Some quotes I didn’t use:

Iain Vance, on his game-winning kick: “I didn’t want to go out there and pull it left when they drove the ball down the entire field and you’re just out there for one play and mess it up.”

Offensive coordinator John Bond on Drew Little’s touchdown pass to Danny Williams: “We knew all week from film study that the corners really jumped routes, or we felt like they did. We had it set up perfectly. It was second and a foot; they were probably expecting a run. Dan (Williams) ran a great route (a stutter-and-go), the protection was great and Drew made a heck of a throw. We had it set up. Our guys executed. It was about as big a play as we had in the game.”

Jake Muasau: “They showed us a lot of different stuff than what we were practicing and working on this week. It’s a part of football. You’ve just got to go ahead and play football, whether you see it or not.”

Christo Bilukidi, on his sack and forced fumble: “I just got part my guard and I saw the quarterback back up. He wasn’t looking at me and I just put my arm out and sacked him. I didn’t even know it was a forced fumble. After the play, I saw people hopping on the ball and I was like, ‘Oh, thank you, Jesus.”

35 comments Add your comment

Fire Rodney Ho

October 18th, 2010
12:45 pm

Good article, Ken. I think if GSU keeps it close it will be a great sign of where this program stands. This will be the first true road test against the second best team so far, definitely a measuring stick game.

Debbie Downer

October 18th, 2010
12:47 pm

If the Panthers can only beat NC Central by a field goal at home in overtime, I don’t see how we can go beat OD away. Their losses are to good teams and they killed Campbell while we needed a last second FG. They’re averaging more people than we are and they can get more than 1800 students to there games.

PantherMike

October 18th, 2010
12:47 pm

Nail-biter at the Dome! We’ll take the “W” to go to a respectable 5-2.
On our last posession, 4th and 1…they timed the snap (Hut 1) and stuffed Drew. Wish we would’ve done a hard-count (Hut 2) to draw them offsides and then drain the clock. Oh, well.
On to a good ODU team where we’ll get a real flavor of CAA football.
Go Panthers!

Ken Sugiura

October 18th, 2010
12:53 pm

debbie – i’d say it’s on the unlikely side, but i don’t think i’d go so far as to say it can’t happen. and, like i said, and f.r.h. reiterated, i think the importance of the game goes beyond a win or a loss. i think playing old dominion tough would say something about where the team is.

Panther Prowler!

October 18th, 2010
1:10 pm

It won’t be cheap, but I wouldn’t mind flying to away games in New England in 2012. Isn’t Maine pleasant this time of year? ;)

English

October 18th, 2010
1:31 pm

@ Panther Prowler, Maine, NH, UMass & URI are all pleasant this time of year. Good fall colors, college football and cool afternoons make for nice hot totties and tailgating atmosphere. I’ll be joining you “If” and “When” you make it up to New England.

Go GSU, beat ODU!

Woody Hayes' Book Club

October 18th, 2010
1:34 pm

“Ebullient” isn’t a word you see in blogs everyday. Thanks Ken. You reflect well on GSU. Keep up the good work.

wsj

October 18th, 2010
2:18 pm

Yeah, but Ken, football is a game of mistakes. Big plays are often the result of a missed tackle or a defender stumbles. I’d like to see a game where both teams execute their plays and cover their assignments flawlessly and see the resulting score.

GStateBen

October 18th, 2010
2:26 pm

I wouldn’t judge too much in this team struggling against NC Central and yet pulling out a win. People forget this is an inexperienced team. NC Central was likely the most physically tough team we’ve face this season.

Remember that this team was also coming off two consecutive blowouts at home. Like it or not, that plays with a teams focus. Remember how laser sharp they came out after a close win at Campbell? They came out and beat Morehead State in every facet of the game. ODU’s weakness is the size of their front 7. If our line can out play theirs and get our RBs into the 2nd level, we can do some damage. Also, look for Drew to have a big game against light CBs that are not partcularly good at creating turnovers.

ODU gave up 23 points in the 4th Q vs. Cal-Poly two Saturdays ago. If we can take their punches in the 1st and the 2nd, they are vulnerable in the 3rd and 4th. I’ll take our coaching staff making adjustments.

Ken Sugiura

October 18th, 2010
2:33 pm

for those who can make it, i agree that it should be a great time of the year in new england.
wsj – i agree with your assessment of the game. georgia state made mistakes, too. maybe the game wouldn’t have gone to overitme if kelton hill hadn’t fumbled twice.
i would posit, though, that nccu’s were pretty costly. an interception on the opponent’s 2-yard line and missing out on a safety because of an offsides call that didn’t impact the play stood pretty large in a game that went to overtime.

GSUtimes2

October 18th, 2010
2:50 pm

Here’s my two cents, for what it’s worth (no more than two cents…):

1. In the 7 games we’ve had so far, I’ve learned that my expectations for our first year were incredibly low.
2. If we can take Jacksonville State into overtime and lose only due to a bobbled pass, then we can royally dominate the ODU monarchs (pun intended).
3. 4+ turnovers by the GSU defense in each of the last 3 games is something you can’t ignore.
4. Blue…White, Georgia State is in the Fight! G…S…U! G-S-U, G-S-U, G-A…S-T-A-T-E, STATE!!!

GSU

October 18th, 2010
3:07 pm

Keep in mind that this is the same Old Dominion team who was beat by Jacksonville (Non scholly team) 35 – 25 at home. I personally think if we prevent the unforced errors (bad snaps etc.) we pull this game out. We struggled against Campbell, but it’s hard to simulate playing in 100 degree plus temps although we practice in it. Game speed is much different. Go State, beat ODU!

itsmeagain

October 18th, 2010
3:22 pm

I was gonna say, we might have lost to Lambuth and struggled with Campbell, but those were the 2nd and 3rd games (respectively). I do believe that the team has seen an incredible amount of improvement since those days, to where they can come off a great win and win again. And again… Granted ODU is a good team, but a win isn’t beyond reach. They might have the home field advantage (it’s apparently a blue-out… Are we playing another team with blue as their major colour?!), but hopefully a good week of practice and preparedness will give our boys the push they need to make it an interesting (and winnable) game.

I got faith in my Panthers. They got skills.

itsmeagain

October 18th, 2010
3:49 pm

Wow. So apparently student tickets to the ODU game are sold out…

GSUFan

October 18th, 2010
3:50 pm

Once GSU has established their football program, due to the size of the student population, they will probably be joining another conference within a few years. The CAA is a good starting point for the Panthers, but probably not where they will be in 5 years.

itsmeagain

October 18th, 2010
4:42 pm

About to be on the line to Coach Curry on his radio show

itsmeagain

October 18th, 2010
5:08 pm

Well, apparently there will be more pep-rallies. I don’t know if he said anything about Thursday night games or anything like that.

RoguePanther

October 18th, 2010
5:09 pm

Against Old Dominion at their field, Panthers must focus and get the pointS before they do.
After seeing 7 games of Panthers not keeping up with their focus for all 4Qs, it would be very tough to come home with a win. Hope they don’t get rolled over. But if does, it may make them prep better for ‘Bama.

FOCUS, FOCUS, FOUCS, by the players and coaches.
Go, Panthers !!!!!

Panama

October 18th, 2010
5:17 pm

We have a young team that at times cant put 4 Quarters together.But we are exceptionally talented. I would not count them out of any game. They also know how to play with a chip on their shoulder. I am sure it has not gone unnoticed by our guys that ODU scheduled us for homecoming. That is the scheduling equivalent of being slapped in the face with a white glove and having the gauntlet thrown down. I think we pull this out.

GSU_MEX_PANTHER

October 18th, 2010
5:31 pm

I also believe they can give ODU a good fight and pull out a win BUT because this is the ODU homecoming I think ODU will have EXTRA motivation and that’s going to be make it tough for our team.

Go GSU!

RoguePanther

October 18th, 2010
6:06 pm

Said Panthers are young team, well they have played football all their lives so far. Besides, they are picked by Bill Curry. They should trust their capabilities and focus what they are supposed to do both players and coaches, then we will have a great team of far better winning chances.

Drew’s reaction after he got sacked was not showing his confidence of the team. I can understand his frustration because of the lack of focus by others. He should grow up and be a leader.

Two words; Confidence, & Focus, then WIN will come naturally.

GO PANTHER!!!!!!!

Ken Sugiura

October 18th, 2010
7:49 pm

itsmeagain – i heard you on the show. good job and good question. i don’t think he said anything about thursday night games, either. cheryl levick said she wants to make thursday night season openers a tradition, but i’m not sure if they want to do that more than that.

i’m glad you all are hopeful for the game. i think there’s a chance they pull it out, for the reasons you mention. it’ll most likely take georgia state’s best game of the year, as i’m sure old dominion is going to bring it saturday, plus they’ve had a week off to rest and prepare, not a small advantage.

VSU Alumnus

October 18th, 2010
8:01 pm

ODU…ODU…ODU. Has anyone on this board ever met anyone who graduated from ODU? Rivalries is what college football is all about and rivalries are geographic.Start a series with Valdosta State and enjoy some good natured North Georgia vs. South Georgia ribbing.Good luck this weekend. Good Panthers and Blazers !!!!

itsmeagain

October 18th, 2010
8:05 pm

Do you think the zoo would lend us a live panther for the home games? It might help put the opposing team on edge…

itsmeagain

October 18th, 2010
8:06 pm

@VSU Alumnus – I would like that, i’m just not sure it’s in the right direction for us

GSU Mens BB Fan

October 18th, 2010
8:17 pm

Ken,

What division GSU will play in the CAA might be something to look into. The last I read, Georgia State was going to be put in the “North Division” for various reasons. Firstly, because we have to fly anywhere we go anyway and our access to an airport is more like those in the North Division than those in the South Division. Second, apparently Villanova and Delaware don’t want to be split, and us going to the North will keep them in the same division. I believe there were other reasons but I can’t think of them now. BUT, I’m pretty sure this was the scenario BEFORE Hofstra dropped their program and URI announced their intentions of joining the NEC. Additionally, Villanova has an invite to join the Big East for football on the table, that they have to give an answer by December.

@VSU Alumnus, there is a large amount of Norfolk-Southern offices in Atlanta, and a lot of the folks who work there went to ODU from what I understand. So they have a pretty good fan base in Atlanta to build a rivalry on.

GSU Mens BB Fan

October 18th, 2010
8:24 pm

Also wanted to mention, that although this isn’t GSU’s first road game. This will be the first time GSU has played in front of a large crowd (19k+) that is rooting against them.

Ed

October 18th, 2010
8:46 pm

This will be the weekend where Drew Little solidifies his claim to the Heisman.

Goose

October 18th, 2010
8:51 pm

I have a feeling that the young Panthers will pull this out a victory and surprise us all.

Ed

October 18th, 2010
9:55 pm

See above, Goose.

Ken Sugiura

October 18th, 2010
10:04 pm

gsu mens bb fan – i only know of what i’ve read, but you are right, the gsu in the north division plan was considered before hofstra and northeastern gave up football. that actually makes some amount of sense logistically, if not geographically.
VSU alumnus – bill curry today was asked on his radio show about in-state rivalries – georgia southern, kennesaw state, valdosta state. he sounded like he didn’t want to load up his plate on games like that because the caa schedule will be pretty rough, but said the school “ought to” play one or two games like that a year, which probably means one. i could see georgia southern not wanting to get in a series with georgia state from a standpoint of southern having nothing to gain and a lot to lose, although it would be a great rivalry. plus, the southern conference is pretty tough, too.
but then, you could certainly argue that georgia state wouldn’t have much to gain from playing valdosta state or kennesaw state, for that matter, when it comes online in 2014. i’d say it’s possible and maybe they might do something once every few years, but i wouldn’t bank on it.

Ken Sugiura

October 18th, 2010
10:11 pm

by the way, according to this week’s game notes compiled by GSU sports information director Allison George, the game will be on Comcast Channel 499, which is available to Comcast subscribers with Digital Starter service. if you are not such a person, i suppose you might call some sports bars and ask if they can pull it in. or find a friend with whatever Digital Starter service is.

Itsmeagain

October 18th, 2010
11:08 pm

Should definitely get some bars to show the game

itsmeagain

October 19th, 2010
12:34 am

ODU has sold out every home game it has had? Panthers, we have some work to do…

glsjunior

October 19th, 2010
1:51 pm

What else are you gonna do in Norfolk on a Sat eve? Go build ships?