It wasn’t as bad a loss as it may seem considering the opponent is from the SEC.
Ben McLane looked much more composed than last week, especially on short passes across the middle. He finished 18-for-41 for 146 yards. Some of that credit goes to the offensive line that, while far from perfect, played better than it did in the previous week’s loss to South Carolina State.
The defense also seemed to play better, even though it would be hard to tell by the score or more than 500 yards allowed.
The special teams played well in some areas (field-goal kicking and punting) and had issues in others (return defense), though the Vols’ speed contributed to that.
It’s said that the coaches want to make sure they get through these games injury free. Georgia State didn’t. Wide receiver Jordan Giles suffered a shoulder injury that knocked him out of the game. I hope to get a status update later today.
The Panthers’ defense failed to post a sack for the second consecutive game.
The Panthers’ offense has one touchdown in eight quarters.
The Panthers’ offense ran 82 plays, compared to 58 the week before.
The Panthers had seven fumbles, six by McLane. They lost one on the second Garo Yepremian attempt by McLane in as many games. Many of the fumbles occurred on the snap because McLane said he was trying to watch the secondary, which resulted in him taking his eyes off the ball.
Matt Hubbard averaged 44.8 yards per punt. Not quite the pseudo FCS record of 62.2 he averaged last week, but still good.
The Volunteers averaged 31 yards per kickoff return.
The Panthers led time of possession 34:18-25:42.
Donald Russell carried the ball 15 times for 68 yards. Remarkably, he never had a carry that resulted in lost yards. Vols coach Derek Dooley singled out Russell after the game for his performance, which included a sick spin move that left a Vols tackler on his knees, his arms wrapped around nothing.
Albert Wilson had eight receptions for 74 yards. Offensive coordinator John Bond promised that Wilson and Russell would get involved early, something that didn’t happen the previous week. They did and the offense seemed to work better. It got tougher in the second half.
Terrance Woodard had 10 tackles. Defensive coordinator Anthony Midget said that’s a remarkable number for a nose tackle.
Linebackers Mark Hogan and Joseph Peterson combined for 18 tackles. Hogan also forced a fumble.
Georgia State has lost to three FBS opponents by a combined score of 170-20.
Facing first and goal at the 3-yard line, Bond called for an end-around to tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi, a curious call considering the Vols defense was packed into the short space between the line of scrimmage and the back of the end zone. The play was stopped for a loss of 1 yard.
On the next play, the Vols’ defensive line overran the Panthers’ offensive line, sacking McLane for 11 yards.
On the next kickoff, Corddarrelle Patterson returned the kickoff 61 yards, a subtle reminder that he was big and fast. Curry said they were praying he would just take a knee in the end zone.
On a Vols’ drive in the next quarter, Bray found Justin Hunter and then Mychal Rivera on back-to-back plays, using play action, for 38 yards. The last reception resulted in a 19-yard touchdown. Both players were wide open.
It didn’t change the game, but McLane’s scrambling touchdown on Georgia State’s last possession did provide the team a reward for the effort.
Georgia State Head Coach Bill Curry (transcripted by UT’s sports information department)
“It takes an awful lot to build a football team. It’s pretty clear to me now that it’s considerably more than I thought. I see enormous progress in the eyes and in the efforts of our guys. Are we playing the kind of football that we have to? No. But I see effort and a lot of fire, and we don’t give up. Ever. We learn that in the off season. We build on experiences like today because we’re able to see where we had opportunities to actually be in this game that we let slip away.
“Tennessee’s execution was superb in the passing game when the game was still in question, and they put us out of the game with their excellence in that regard. If we can eliminate our center-quarterback issues, and eliminate the penalties that come at the worst possible time–and they are fewer this year, but they come at the wrong time. We made up for a couple of them today and made the first downs anyhow, and we fought every step of the way, but we have to eliminate the mistakes. We have to be able to adjust to what modern offenses do. There was much more determination and grit this week than there was last week, and next week there will be even more. And then even more the next. That’s a promise. This group is special.”
“He never makes an excuse. He always takes responsibility. He says, “I did it. I’ll fix it.” He is ready to go back to work, every snap and every series. He never quits. The way he finished the game was demonstrative of the person he is.”
On calling two timeouts at the end of the game
“The fans didn’t understand; they booed when we used our timeout. We’re going to use everything we have. We won’t ever let it go. If we get possession with four seconds left, we’re going to try to score another one because that’s what we are. We will never allow an asset to go unused. We will never leave a timeout on the board when it would give us another shot. So if the fans are late getting to their cocktail party, I apologize to them, but we’ll do it every time–every single time– to teach a lesson to the guys that you never give up.”
“There was shock and awe at the speed of Patterson. In that respect, we didn’t look a lot different than N.C. State. I had a long talk with Mike Archer and he said that guy is an NFL guy, and he just outran us. He outran us on the kickoff return. The ball was kicked a few yards into the end zone and he brought it out. I was praying that he wouldn’t. But he’s special. I’d like not to see him again on the same field.”
On if he will miss Neyland
“It’s a funny dynamic, because I looked up there and I thought, “Why would I have affection for this place?” I’ve been here twelve times before. My first away game my freshman year. It was my first college away game and I was ejected for fighting. Then I came back a bunch of times to play, and I managed to win here when I was playing and then we won some when I was coaching–but not as much as Tennessee won. There’s something about it. I have a lot of affection for this place. I looked up at the half, and the stands were full to watch Georgia State. And I thought, Wow. I give the fans credit for that.”
GEORGIA STATE QUARTERBACK BEN MCLANE
On playing at Neyland
“It was definitely a big stage, packed house and everything. But once the game starts you’re playing, no matter if it’s 9,000 or 100,000 this is still just playing football.”
On his touchdown
“That was awesome. I didn’t know if I was going to get it at first. I was able to squeak it in there. Hopefully we can use it to get some momentum going into next week and rest of the year.”
On his last fumble
“That was a touchdown too. Albert (Wilson) had him beat and the right part of my hand was slick, next thing you know I ain’t got it anymore. That really hurt.”
GEORGIA STATE WIDE RECEIVER ALBERT WILSON
On the team’s play
“I was really impressed with how our line held up, how our receivers played, and how our running backs played. I told them that if we have the same fight in us (from now on) that we’re going to have a great season.”
On facing a FBS team
“The whole team had an attitude that we were supposed to be here and win the game.”
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu