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.”