The game that was
Georgia State played its best game of the year in defeating South Alabama 27-20 in overtime. The defense was inspired and the offense was patiently effective. Now, can the Panthers build on this as it begins the downhill portion of its schedule?
What we learned
1. Georgia State has found an identity on offense. Led by Donald Russell and an inspired offensive line, the Panthers are grinding teams up with a power running game. The team has totaled 464 rushing yards in the past two games, done mostly between the tackles with some option mixed in on the edge.
2. Georgia State has found an identity on defense. The Panthers are using a lot more 4-3 as its base formation, instead of the 3-4 it used during the opening weeks. Though it is still using multiple fronts, the team is playing with more confidence and effectiveness, for example the two goal-line stands on Saturday.
3. Georgia State is still lost on special teams. As well as the defense is playing, it can’t keep getting put into tough situations by coverage teams that are largely ineffective. South Alabama averaged 36 yards on five kickoff returns, 17 yards on a punt return and blocked a chip-shot field goal that would have given Georgia State a victory in the first overtime.
There were no significant injuries to report.
Russell became the first player in Georgia State history to rush for more than 100 yards in a game on a school-record 20 carries. He had 136 and scored his eighth touchdown in six games this season.
“We’ve had some big moments on our team this year. Some of the biggest have involved Kelton and his situation and his relationship with the team. I’m not at liberty to share them but I will tell you that it has been a great life lesson for everybody on the team because of the way Kelton has been so open with his teammates, right in front of God, coaches, everybody. So his play today and winning this game is far and away secondary to the other things he’s accomplished in the last couple of months.”
Bill Curry, Georgia State coach, told the school’s website.
Kelton Hill had the best passing day for a Georgia State quarterback this season: 12 of 15 for 209 yards and two touchdowns. … Albert Wilson set a school record with 175 receiving yards, including a school-record 78-yard reception for a touchdown. … Christian Benvenuto hit a career-best 46-yard field goal. He added a 45-yarder. … The five turnovers were the most created by Georgia State, including a school-record four interceptions. … Danny Williams has caught a pass in 18 consecutive games. … The Panthers are 7-4 at the Georgia Dome. … GSU is 2-1 in overtime games.
Georgia State will visit Texas-San Antonio with a chance to keep alive its hope of a winning season. The Panthers must win its remaining games to match last year’s 6-5 record.
– Doug Roberson, AJC and ajc.com. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu