Georgia State loses to Richmond in front of smallest crowd in program’s history

If this was Georgia State’s introduction to the Colonial Athletic Association football, its goodbye may not come soon enough.

Playing its first conference game, the Panthers were throttled by Richmond 35-14 on Saturday in the Georgia Dome in front of 9,476 attendees. It was the smallest crowd in the program’s three-year history, breaking the previous mark set last year against Murray State by almost 1,500.

Georgia State will face seven more opponents in the CAA before it begins playing in the Sun Belt next year. Of course, because of the vagaries of the NCAA rules as they relate to the team’s move to the FBS level, the Panthers are still technically 0-0 in the conference. But it does count in the overall record, dropping the Panthers to 0-4 this season and losers of 12 of their past 15 games.

The Panthers didn’t go down without a fight. Running back Donald Russell rushed for more than 100 yards for the third time in his GSU career, capping the day with the team’s last touchdown and 119 rushing yards and 51 receiving. Coach Bill Curry elected to go for it four times on fourth down at various points in the game, converting one, and even called an onside kicks with less than a minute remaining in the game that the Panthers recovered.

But the team was undone by too many of its own mistakes. On defense, two interceptions were dropped and a chance to recover a fumble missed. On offense, a fourth and inches was stopped. Passes were dropped.

“We had some of the most encouraging things and some of the most discouraging things because we hurt ourselves in so many ways,” Curry said.

The team’s season may have been summarized in a sequence of plays that took 40 seconds that featured big plays (made and allowed) bad luck and head-scratching mistakes.

Coming off a touchdown that cut its deficit to 21-7, Georgia State’s defense forced Richmond to punt and took over at the 30-yard line with 40 seconds remaining in the half.

Ben McLane’s first-down pass went through Emmanuel Ogbuehi’s hands and was intercepted by Cooper Taylor, giving the Spiders the ball at Georgia State’s 40 with 32 seconds left. Richmond quarterback John Laub hit Stephen Barnette down the sideline for a big play to set up first and goal at the 8-yard line. Laub followed by running for seven yards, putting the ball on the 1. However, the Panthers’ defense rebounded, stopping the Spiders on second and third down. Richmond called timeout with one second left to set up the fourth-down play, but Georgia State stopped them again, sending the Panthers’ bench into a frenzy and ending the half.

Remember the bad luck and mistakes?

The Panthers were called for offsides on the fourth-down play, giving the Spiders one more second on the clock and one more crack at scoring. Laub took advantage, pushing the pile for the 1 yard to give the Spiders a 28-7 halftime lead.

“Even after a valiant goal-line stand we gave them five downs,” Curry said.

Robert Ferguson said the defense did take some positives from that drive.

“We felt like we had momentum on our side,” he said.

Georgia State fell behind 7-0 with 7:29 left in the first quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Jovan Smith. The drive was helped by a personal foul against Georgia State’s Demarius Matthews. The Panthers held on first and second down at the 1 before the Spiders scored. Richmond’s offense dominated the time of possession in the quarter, controlling the ball for 12 minutes, 15 seconds.

The deficit increased to 14-0 with 13:35 left in the first half on another 1-yard touchdown run, this time by Laub.

Georgia State fell behind 21-0 after a 49-yard touchdown reception by Barnette. A Georgia State defensive back whiffed on a tackle, allowing Barnette to turn up field after the catch and outrace the rest of the secondary. The drive was set up when the Spiders took over on downs on Georgia State’s 44. The Panthers had third and 1, but McLane couldn’t pick up the first down. Curry elected to go for it on fourth and inches, but Taylor flew in from the edge and hit running back Donald Russell in the backfield, stopping him short.

“You get a chance to make a first down on fourth and this much,” Curry said, holding his hands inches part, “you’ve got to make them every time to be a good football team.”

Curry elected to go for it again on fourth and 10 at the Spiders’ 13-yard line on another drive later in the quarter, but McLane’s pass to Albert Wilson was broken up, ending the scoring chance. That four-play sequence featured four consecutive passes, two of which could have been intercepted.

The Panthers easily moved down the field again on their next possession and this time capitalized with a 16-yard scoring pass from McLane to Wilson. The score cut the Spiders’ lead to 21-7 with 1:22. Russell was responsible for most of the results on the 80-yard drive with a 52-yard run that moved Georgia State to the 28-yard line.

“We just have to make plays,” Russell said. “It’s something we will keep working on. We are definitely going to change that during our weeks of practice.”

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

90 comments Add your comment

Glsjunior

September 22nd, 2012
7:05 pm

7 more games til Bobo!

Glsjunior

September 22nd, 2012
7:05 pm

Oh I forgot….first

RidgeRunner

September 22nd, 2012
7:06 pm

Not a surprise. I firmly expect the numbers to remain low and perhaps still lower thru the rest of the year. Winning or at least somewhat close games people will go to see. Getting stomped into the ground gives people reason to find other things to do, like clipping your toes nails or watching your bird feeder.

Getting 15,000 paying fans a year starting next year I don’t believe is doable.

GSU1991

September 22nd, 2012
7:07 pm

Yo, get it together guys. If you are not going to stand up AND “man-up”, then turn in your equipment and give someone else a chance to play. A little adversity and the dismissal of those that were out of line, and you are going to quit? Not on my watch, no sir. And not at the expense of Coach Curry.

STATEment

September 22nd, 2012
7:34 pm

This is bad. mmmmmkay.

rob

September 22nd, 2012
7:38 pm

I think the students are really the story here. Between the team, cheerleaders, dance team and band, there are more kids on the field than in the stands. I’ve been a season ticket holder for three seasons now, but I don’t know why we are planning to have a team long term if mo one wants to come to games.

How much money is my alma mater loosing on each game?

FanNoMore

September 22nd, 2012
7:43 pm

If Cheryl Levick continues as AD, I will not give anymore to GSU. Definitely not renewing next year.

Passion of the Panther

September 22nd, 2012
7:58 pm

@rob… right on.

There is no market for Ga State football … students clearly don’t care even though they are subsidizing it

Passion of the Panther

September 22nd, 2012
8:00 pm

That’s the paid attendance … realistically, Doug how many people were there?

Alum

September 22nd, 2012
8:16 pm

Canot wait until next year. Love CBC but he has surrounded himself with LOSERS! John Bond is complete IDIOT, I would not hire him to shine my shoes. I’ll say it again, JOHN BOND IS AN IDIOT!!! Fire him NOW please.

spider

September 22nd, 2012
8:32 pm

we are getting creamed by FCS schools, what happens next year when we play FBS schools, wow i shutter too think about it.

Highly Respected Southern Troll

September 22nd, 2012
8:33 pm

I got my Master’s from Georgia State after finishing at Georgia Southern. What kills me is all the handwringing and hamster spinning from the handful of hardcore Panther fans. Scapegoating Cheryl Levick is particularly pitiful. Noone with a functioning brain would expect State to ever have a good football program. The place made its mark as a business and commuter school. It is NOT a sports school…never has been, never will be.

The students don’t care about the football program. Almost one-third of them are grad students, many of whom graduated from other schools prior to attending State. The undergrads can get free tickets and they still won’t go. The alumni don’t care about the program. There has to be at least 100,000 Georgia State grads in Metro Atlanta. How many of them go to games?

The program has no recruiting footprint and little fanbase. But it gets better! For some reason the university decided to hire a guy to start the program who hadn’t been particularly successful anywhere he’d been. Then it has the team play in a sports dome that only serves to make the meager attendance levels look even more pitiful. What’s more? They’re right in Georgia Tech’s and Georgia’s backyards!

spider

September 22nd, 2012
8:36 pm

the AD needs to find a way to back out of the move up and she needs to work on that tonight, she cannot wait till tomorrow AM.

Just sayin

September 22nd, 2012
8:44 pm

And that’s the difference between real fans and the casual fans that patrol forums. This program will get better with time and patience.

SpiderMan

September 22nd, 2012
8:55 pm

Well its been real Georgia State. I have no idea what your athletic department is thinking by going to FBS, but best of luck…sometimes you can smash a square piece into a round hole.

Alum

September 22nd, 2012
8:58 pm

@spiderman You guys played a great game. Hope y’all do well this year an if you play ODU Please beat them.

Doug Roberson

September 22nd, 2012
8:59 pm

I’ll be surprised if there was that many there, but it’s hard to tell.

Passion of the Panther

September 22nd, 2012
9:02 pm

@ajcgsu … On the crowd, Curry says he knows in the market they have to win to get people to the #GaDome. #GSU

@GSU FBS Feasibility Study Feb 2012… “Georgia State doesn’t need tradition to eventually succeed on college football’s highest levels, according to Russell Wright, the managing director of Collegiate Consulting, the Atlanta-based company that conducted an FBS feasibility study for the university.

“The quality of competition doesn’t matter at all,” he said. “The market drives it more than the on-the-field product.”

According to your consultant, Coach Curry, you do not.

peachy

September 22nd, 2012
9:08 pm

Meanwhile that little “Cow College” that shares your initials had a crowd of 18,393 in a stadium that seats 18,000.

Are You Kidding

September 22nd, 2012
9:11 pm

It’s a joke that Georgia State is going into the Sun Belt. That’s one reason that Georgia Southern didn’t even listen to the Sun Belt is their inviting the real GSU to move up. Weak conference, and Georgia Southern is at least waiting for Conference USA to ask prior to moving up. Georgia State needs to move out of the dome and play in a small High School stadium

Are You Kidding

September 22nd, 2012
9:12 pm

Peachy and the REAL GSU is expanding their stadium after the season. Students vote next weekend to increase their fees by 150 per semester to move up and add an additional 15000 seats.

[...] Georgia State was beaten 35-14 by Richmond on Saturday at the Georgia Dome. [...]

Pennsylvania CAA Fan

September 22nd, 2012
9:34 pm

Hello fellow CAA fans in Dixie! Anyone catch the article on ODU quarterback Taylor Heinicke. (Yahoo).

Heinicke threw for 730 yards in a 64-61 win against New Hampshire on Saturday to break David Klingler’s Division-I record for passing yards in a single game. The record stood for 22 years. Heinicke completed 55 of 79 passes and threw for five touchdowns and no interceptions.

Great CAA story! Just want to keep you guys in the loop!

couldn't have "ben moore" wrong

September 22nd, 2012
10:26 pm

i’d expect more people would want to witness this train wreck in person

The Missing Link

September 22nd, 2012
10:30 pm

Georgia State has a great plan to strengthen the relationship between the football team and its fans.

At the next home, instead of announcing the starting lineup over the PA system, the Panthers will allow their players to go up into the stands and introduce themselves to each spectator. That should only take 30 seconds or so.

Pantherzzzzzzz

September 22nd, 2012
10:40 pm

No Panama? No G-Spin Ben? I guess everyone is abandoning the ship.

One has to wonder if the AJC is next. Poll: What is the biggest subsidy? a) Ga State students fitting the bill for this or b) the AJC’s continued over coverage of a product that clearly no one in the metro area care about.

There are high school games that are attended more than this. Perhaps the AJC should have a page and beat writer dedicated to Lassiter high school.

The Missing Link

September 22nd, 2012
10:56 pm

Oh, so you miss GStateBunny? Here’s my impression of her:

My school is located in a very large city that contains millions of people!

My team plays in a stadium that has hosted the Super Bowl and the SEC Championship game!

Due to its incredible vision and unprecedented success on the field, my school’s football program has already been invited to play at the FBS level!

At our current rate, we will be asked to join the SEC in 2014, but we willl reject that offer and accept a more lucrative invitation to become the NFL’s 33 franchise!

Once in the NFL, we will be placed in a one-team conference which will receive an automatic berth in the Super Bowl each year!

Atlanta_Mafia

September 22nd, 2012
10:59 pm

All the South Georgia goons and everyone else is getting their chance with all this recent exceptionally bad play to take some pretty hard shots at GSU football. I can’t blame you on the fact that it is really bad right now. The BIG problem is the bad coaching and lack of preparedness for each game. The players aren’t really that bad. I expect that a good coaching staff could get them competitive. I will see who the new coach is and if I am wrong about this next year.

Pantherzzzzzzz

September 22nd, 2012
11:13 pm

Atlanta_Mafia

Cue James Brown with “The thrill is gone”. I am not sure that a 7-4 or 6-5 season will get people that intrested. The writing is on the wall that Atlanta is not going to support Ga State. Expect 5k attendance (10k announced) from here on out.

dawg in watts ca

September 22nd, 2012
11:26 pm

Why continue playing in the dome? U got a stadium a quarter mile up the road u can get for cheap and with a lil money it could be top flight once again. 9k looks better in a 15k stadium. Oh and they would OWN it. Wonder how much they paying for the dome lease? Screw that. 1 big purchase and after its paid off money back into the program.

Highly Respected Southern Troll

September 22nd, 2012
11:27 pm

@Atlanta_Mafia – Give it a rest. Georgia State’s football program is pointless.

who cares?

September 22nd, 2012
11:30 pm

Hahahahhahahahhahahahahaha ga state is still terrible. How many points did that media market score today? #daDOME!!!! Hahahahhahahahahhahahaha

panther

September 23rd, 2012
12:48 am

I went to the game today to experience it first-hand. The crowd was pathetic. If there were 5,000 people there that would be inflating the numbers. The few Richmond fans were much louder than the several thousand Ga State fans. The student section was practically empty. That was embarrassing. I have never seen anything like that before. I feel sorry for the players. GaState is not ready for college football at any level. What a mistake to think that they were. This program should be shut down and leave college football playing in the state to : Georgia Southern; UGA; & GT.

Class of '98

September 23rd, 2012
2:07 am

9,476 fans? I waited in line behind 9,476 dudes to use the bathroom at halftime in Sanford Stadium tonight.

BravesFan79

September 23rd, 2012
3:30 am

DUH… as a former GSU student 10 years ago i KNEW Ga State wouldnt draw big crowds in a big city where there’s so much to do, and so many other big time games on every Saturday. Whats saddest, is how many “academic” scholarships were not awarded because the $ was used to give football scholarships instead to a bunch of kids who probably have 9th grade learning skills.

barneyfife

September 23rd, 2012
6:49 am

Sad, but true. Build all the dorms you want, Georgia State will always be a commuter school. In an urban environment with such a diverse student population (and something like 35% are grad students anyway), the culture is not there for football, and likely will never be. Even with a stadium Kennesaw state will likely have the same problem. These 2 universities are trying to be something they are not. Changing the culture will be much harder than building a football team.

GT = 10 time loser to Mark Richt

September 23rd, 2012
7:45 am

Georgia State is going to have the same problem a lot of schools in large cities have. There is other things for college students to do especially in a bad economy. If Georgia State was in a one horse town like Statesboro they would enjoy bigger crowds and more support.

Doug Roberson is a tool

September 23rd, 2012
7:46 am

Great lead and second paragraph, Doug. Good job of throwing a doom-and-gloom vibe out there for any Panthers fans who may be reading your drivel. I can see why you got demoted from the Georgia Tech beat. Must be a great gig you got now – I can tell by how passionate your writing is.

Penna CAA Fan

September 23rd, 2012
8:06 am

Did you guys hear the ODU Quarterback set an NCAA record? Seems like a nice kid in a great league….

Just an update for all you GSU CAA fans…I know there are a few of you out there… right?

I suppose all the nasty posters that usually live here are in the parking lot of the dome waiting in line to get out.

Penna CAA Fan

September 23rd, 2012
8:10 am

to the poster above me—I actually like Doug Roberson. He really does a nice job. He has been in a tough position for a while. He does have to write non-fiction you know.

I would love to hear his stories around the dinner table. Honey what is another work for “really tried hard” or what is another word for “porous”

couldn't have "ben moore" wrong

September 23rd, 2012
8:55 am

this is all wrong…. playing in the dome should be worth 5 wins by itself…. right?

Paddy

September 23rd, 2012
9:00 am

Passion of the Panther……….the announced attendance is tickets distributed not tickets sold. My guess is that actual turnstile attendance was much fewer than the 9,476 announced.

Does anyone know what the minimum attendance should be to remain in ‘good standing’ for Div 1 football. A couple years ago there were some MAC schools that were being issued warnings about not meeting the Div 1 attendance numbers. I want to say it is between 15,000 and 18,000 but I don’t know the real number.

CAA rival ODU has sold out every game it has played in their 3 year start-up, right at 20,000 per game. Hampton Roads is not what you call a hot bed of football, or sports, period. It is about 1/7 the size of metro Atl., and it is also a commuter school like GSU. They already have a 3 year waiting list for season tickets. They have limited their season ticket purchase to 17,500.

Paddy

September 23rd, 2012
9:13 am

Alum……..spiderman knows of what he speaks. Div 1 is going to get nasty very quick for GSU. On Richmond beating ODU; The spiders are going to need to score a truckload of points. ODU put up 70 + this weekend!

Out by the Pond

September 23rd, 2012
9:20 am

GSU has lost it’s way. It was once a great university. With the addition of both basketball, and football, education has taken a back seat. The quality of graduates that I have interviewed for jobs has been more than disappointing. More than a few would be classified as functionally illiterate. I am so embarrassed that I do not let anyone know I graduated from GSU.

Doug Roberson is a tool

September 23rd, 2012
9:21 am

To Penna CAA Fan…What the F does someone writing non-fiction have to do with someone who covers a beat?

Doug Roberson

September 23rd, 2012
9:23 am

To remain in good standing, an FBS school must have an average home attendance of 15,000 one year in a two-year rolling period. Failure to meet that average in a season will result in a 10-year probationary period. Failure to meet that average again during that period can result in a bowl ban. Georgia State’s two-year rolling window opened this year.
In some quick research I did on Friday, the NCAA enforced the rule against Ball State, which failed to hit that minimum in 2009 and ‘10. But they didn’t against Idaho, which didn’t meet that average from 2009-11. The NCAA doesn’t comment on whether it enforces this rule.

You’ll be reading more about this on Tuesday, most likely. I’m working on something now.

Out by the Pond

September 23rd, 2012
9:27 am

I went to a Valdosta High football game last weekend. I had never been before. A stadium that seats 17,500 and it was nearly full. This is proof that you do not have to have a large population base to fill the seats. You do have to have a purpose. There is no purpose for sports at GSU.

Brian

September 23rd, 2012
9:49 am

Kennesaw St. will do much better,thier is a culture of football in Cobb County.

Trip

September 23rd, 2012
10:09 am

I never understood football at GSU. This is an urban school that has traditionally catered to more mature students. I know a few alumni that are big school supporters financially that will never support football there.

Go Panthers!!

September 23rd, 2012
10:34 am

We’ve lost 12 out of the last 15 games.

And people have the gall to blame the low attendance on Cheryl Levick?

Ha!

Curry can’t get out of here fast enough.