Archive for November, 2011

A few personnel updates for Georgia State

Coach Bill Curry provided a few updates during today’s press conference ahead of Saturday’s game against Campbell.

Running back Donald Russell ran today and could be available for Saturday.

Running back Travis Evans (dislocated elbow) suffered no structural damage and should return for spring practice.

Nate Anthony will move from defensive back to running back. Anthony started as a wide receiver. Curry said Anthony was also a great running running back in high school.

Kicker Christian Benvenuto tried kicking today. He will be a game-time decision.

Some other notes:

The [paraphrased] quote of the press conference:

Our challenge is to finish the season with dignity and to finally play a complete game. The last four games have come down to one play. Last Saturday would have been overtime had we not had one more turnover inside the 10-yard line. It’s been an increadible run of ineffectiveness and some good plays by the opponents. A lot of has to do with confidence, knowing what …

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GSU men’s soccer earns invite to NCAA tournament

Georgia State’s men’s soccer team earned an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament today. The Panthers will play at No. 24 Duke at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The invite — the third in school history — continues a turnaround for the team, which is 13-7-2 this season after winning just four games two years ago. Though picked in the preseason to finish 12th in the CAA, they advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament last week, where they were knocked out by Old Dominion, 5-3. They are one of five CAA teams to make the field. The Blue Devils (10-7-3) have beaten the Panthers twice in the past. The two teams haven’t played since 2004.

Georgia State is 0-5-1 against the tournament field.

– Doug Roberson, AJC

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West Alabama 30, Georgia State 23

The game that was

If you believe in football karma, then a lot of good things are ahead for Georgia State’s football team because nothing is going right this year. The Panthers (2-8) were beaten by West Alabama 30-23 in another game in which they had a chance to win, but made too many mistakes to take the victory. Georgia State has lost to an NAIA team and Division II team in back-to-back weeks.

What we learned

1. If it weren’t for bad luck… One of the priorities this season was taking care of the ball. While not perfect, the Panthers had a minus-1 turnover margin … until Saturday. Georgia State turned over the ball five times, including on three of their final four possessions when the game was on the line.

2. Fourth-quarter futility continues. The Panthers have now been outscored 102-20 in the fourth quarter this season after being outscored 10-7 in Saturday’s loss.  Actually, the Panthers drove six times into West Alabama’s red zone in the second half and came away with …

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Georgia State vs. West Alabama

Three storylines in this weekend’s game between Georgia State and West Alabama

Will the fourth-quarter blues stop? The Panthers have scored 13 points in the fourth quarter this season — not in a game, for the whole year. The futility has cost the team a chance at earning least three victories. Coach Bill Curry said it’s not an issue of conditioning or want-to, but it’s one he has to solve. Running back Donald Russell (ankle) will be a game-time decision.

Can the defense bounce back? After seemingly having its early season issues ironed out, the Panthers were gouged by NAIA level St. Francis for 475 yards last week. The total was more than a hundred more than they gave up in each of the previous three weeks. Coach Bill Curry said his players had trouble getting off blocks and making tackles. The team will be without linebacker Mike Hall (undisclosed injury). Linebacker Jake Muasau will play.

Will the special teams ever get better? The hope has become a broken …

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Hunter not looking for moral victories

New Georgia State men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter wants nothing less than three wins in its season-opening road trip, which begins with Saturday’s game against Washington in Seattle.

“I don’t believe in moral victories,” he said. “If there’s one guy that has any doubt, then don’t go on this trip.”

The goal may seem high considering the team is still learning Hunter’s up-tempo offensive and defensive systems,which are different than what they played under former coach Rod Barnes. However, the Panthers showed potential in two exhibition victories over outmatched opponents Southern Poly and Oglethorpe. They outscored the two opponents by 66 points. That they have scored 90 points twice in two games shows the difference between Hunter’s style and Barnes’. The Panthers scored at least 80 points just eight times in his four seasons.

But scoring so many points against the Division III Stormy Petrels is different than playing the Huskies, who are a contender to win the …

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Curry on Sandusky and Paterno

In one of the more intense moments of any press conference this year, Georgia State coach Bill Curry called former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky a friend and Joe Paterno among one of his best friends in the coaching profession on Tuesday.

The pain and confusion Curry felt was evident as the news about Sandusky, indicted on 40 counts of sexually abusing young boys, and Paterno, who is reportedly being forced out of a job he’s held for 46 years, continues to develop.

“Joe and Sue Paterno are among our best friends in the coaching profession,” Curry said. “Joe has been a mentor to me. I can’t even tell you. I don’t have words. I wish I knew more. I don’t know enough to say anything to defend or not defend anybody.”

Curry gathered himself for a moment and then continued.

“I just know in my heart of hearts that Joe is a great man and a man of integrity. But our heart goes out to the children most of all,” he said.

“It’s just a nightmare.”

In other news from …

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The day after

Walking into the Sports Arena for last night’s basketball game, after watching the football team suffer a humiliating loss to NAIA level St. Francis, someone asked me if there was any Georgia State could lose to an NAIA team and a Division III team in the same day.

It was a joke of a question but it does provide a glimpse into what seems to be a fragile mental state of the school’s two most important teams.

Of course, the basketball team, under new coach Ron Hunter, ran Oglethorpe (Trustee 15 was my old stomping grounds) out of the Arena last night. It was an up-and-down performance. The team looked sharp for the first 12 minutes, and then sloppy for the next few. It settled down at halftime and then came out and rolled. The same thing happened in the first exhibition game against Southern Poly. The ability to make adjustments at halftime is a good, albeit early, sign for a team starved for success.

The football team, on the other hand, loses its way at halftime.

It’s said …

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What they said after Georgia State’s loss

Quotes following Georgia State’s 30-27 overtime loss to St. Francis, courtesy of GSU’s sports information department.

Georgia State Head Coach Bill Curry

There are not any words for that. Except to say, for one more embarrassing fourth quarter performance, we apologize to the Georgia State Community. If we understood the syndrome, we would have corrected it by now. It is a pattern that has just been devastating to us that we bring on ourselves. I honestly believe that it is very much the head coach’s responsibility to prevent these types of things, when it happens over and over and over and it doesn’t change. If I could go back and start over I don’t know what I would do differently and that is another sad thing. It is an embarrassment. The other team of course did a marvelous job. They are a good team but this shouldn’t have happened and we all know that. It would be nice to sit here and speak in platitudes but there aren’t any platitudes and there is nowhere to go except go …

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Georgia State vs. St. Francis

Three storylines

Can the running game bounce back? Last week broke a two-week string of 200-yard performances on the ground. While the passing game continues its season-long streak of up-and-down performances, the team needs the offensive line and running backs to consistently produce. St. Francis, an NAIA school, shouldn’t match up physically with Georgia State’s offensive line.

Can Kelton Hill bounce back? Making his second start at quarterback, Hill failed to crack 100 passing yards, hitting just six of his 15 attempts. The week before, he hit 12 of 15 for more than 200 yards. He did connect with wide receiver Albert Wilson for the duo’s third touchdown in two games last week. Some of the mistakes last week were missed reads and some were just bad throws. Hill remains confident and can be a game-changer when he’s on, as evidenced by the win against South Alabama.

Will the special teams ever get better? They missed four long field goals last week and the kickoff …

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Benvenuto puts bad day behind him

Christian Benvenuto has already forgotten his 0-for-4 field-goal performance in Saturday’s 17-14 overtime loss to San Antonio.

“My coach from my high school always told me that there’s a midnight rule. You’ve got to forget about it [by then],” he said.

None of the misses were chip shots. He missed the first, a 49-yarder, wide left. The second, from 47 yards, was blocked because Benvenuto said he mishit it. The third, from 45 yards with 1:59 remaining in regulation, went wide right. The last, from 48 yards in overtime, went wide right.

“I just couldn’t get them to drop,” he said.

With the four misses, Benvenuto hasn’t split the upright in his last five attempts. He had a 24-yard field goal blocked in the overtime win against South Alabama.

Coach Bill Curry said Benvenuto will continue to handle the field-goal duties. Before Saturday’s performance, the true freshman had hit eight of his 12 attempts, including six of eight from at least 40 yards.

Curry took some of the blame for …

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