The crowd was a few fannies better than the program-worst one that showed up two weeks for Richmond.
The reason Georgia State lost?
Poise, according to coach Bill Curry. The team simply can’t stay focused during the entirety of the game.
1. Tied at 7 after New Hampshire missed a field goal, Bell was sacked and fumbled on the next play. New Hampshire recovered on the 21-yard line needed just two plays to score a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead with 12:22 left in the first half. Bell was hit as he was about to throw on the fumble.
2. On Georgia State’s next possession, the Wildcats tipped the punt after a man came in unblocked from the edge. A few plays later, Nico Steriti scored a 7-yard touchdown to give New Hampshire a 21-7 lead with 8:54 left.
3. On the first play of the second half, Bell threw a pass right to linebacker Alan Buzbee, who returned it to the 5-yard line. The Wildcats scored a play later on a touchdown pass from Andy Vailas to Justin Mello to take a 28-7 lead.
Just like that, a close game turned into a blow out.
83 plays run by New Hampshire
624 yards for New Hampshire
299 yards for Georgia State…it actually will raise the Panthers’ season average.
59 plays run by Georgia State
2 sacks, the second consecutive game the Panthers have two sacks. Theo Agnew had one. He is playing better since move to defensive tackle.
4 sacks for New Hampshire
12 carries for Donald Russell, which is the same amount of carries Bell had in two quarters and one play.
105 receiving yards for Albert Wilson
8 times Georgia State started inside its own 20 yard line
4 times New Hampshire started on Georgia State’s side of the field. They scored four touchdowns
We had a chance to drive up and down the field tonight and stopped ourselves repeatedly. When we did start to drive it was too little too late and once again the tendency when the defense did make a stop … we go on the field and almost immediately find a way to turn the ball back over.
That’s just simply a matter of poise and there’s no excuse and there’s no explanation that helps anybody understand why that is the case. We can talk all we want to but we must get that done.
Obviously our tackling has to improve. Our pass protection early in the game wasn’t what it has been. There are a series of mistakes by veteran players, one after the other, that costs us. When the other team makes a mistake we have a chance to capitalize and sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t. We have to capitalize at every opportunity and we’re just not getting that done.
New Hampshire’s got a good football team but the game should have been very competitive tonight.
On the quarterback situation:
We have confidence in both quarterbacks. They’ve both done some good things. We’ll have to study it and see how much of the mistakes were on him [Bell] and how much was on the pass protection or lack of same. The protection was considerably better when Ben got into the game. It may have been that Ben was throwing on rhythm but we’ll have to study it and see. Which ever one is performing the best is the one that will play.
Which was the bigger momentum changer: Bell’s fumble when it was tied at 7, or the interception on the first play of the third quarter?
You’d have to say both but probably the interception, but if just judge by momentum, the interception was the accumulation of here-we-go-again-thing that gets to a team. Everybody continued to play hard. But when we got to the football we didn’t tackle as well as we should. We did for long stretches. We haven’t tackled 22 (Nico Steriti) yet, he may still be out there running. He’s elusive, but if you stay on your feet and stick in between the 2s he can be tackled.
You’ve said in the past, you hoped this timeline would be stretched out before the program moved up. Is this program moving up too fast?
We had no choice, that was a phenomenal opportunity. It would be nice if had a few more years to get ready but you don’t get to choose that. When the opportunities present themselves and somebody wants you…
Let’s just talk about football. Yeah, I’d like to have six more years to build a talent base and a recruiting base and know that we have FBS-loaded talent before we go there. Since the day we’ve got here, we’ve had really good players tell us, “If you were FBS, I’d commit to you today.” Well, they’re not diving over the fences to jump in the boat right now, but we are getting really good commitments.
What I’m really disappointed in is we should be so much better right now. That’s my job, for this team to be so much better than it was. This team paid the price. It worked in January, February, March, April and May. We talked about that, we haven’t broken the patterns that are so self destructive. That drives me crazy. I work on it 24 hours a day and there’s no excuse for it to take this long. There are other programs younger than us that are playing great, playing lights out.
We’re going to keep demanding and keep working, as you know.
Unfortunately, some veterans are going to have to sit down who can’t get the message from one week to another, even on special teams and I hate that.
I don’t blame the players, the players are trying. It’s our responsibility to get in their heads and evoke the poise that we’ve all done in other coaching scenarios.
Do you regret changing the offensive or defensive systems in these first three years? Do you think it’s affected the learning curve and productivity of the players?
We’ve stayed within the same offensive system. We’ve changed the defense. The offensive system that coach Bond brought here is adaptable. It really operates very well when the quarterback understands it and is sharp. To have had six quarterbacks …if you have told me that I would have laughed at you. We’ve played years and years with one quarterback; three years, four years with the same guy. I thought we could do it with that group of four that we started with. It simply didn’t work and we haven’t gotten consistently excellent at that position yet and in today’s football you have to. There’s too much on the quarterback .
What about on defense? Y’all were making that transition before John Thompson left. Do you regret doing that?
No, not at all. We are in the right defense, we just have to play it.
On how the team can improve:
Everyone continued to play hard. We got to the football, we just didn’t tackle when we got there. We did for long stretches, but not nearly long enough. There are a lot of things we can do to improve and we’re doing a lot of them, or all the things that I know of. There is enthusiastic response when we go out and change the practice style, which we have. We’re faster than we were a few weeks ago and it’s because of the way we practice. But there is a risk in the way we’re practicing because you get more injuries because you hit more. We just don’t have enough players were we can lose anymore. And that’s what happens. We do full speed, goal line work. It has paid off, we’ve seen it in the games.
On his touchdowns:
The first one was a scramble play. The quarterback signaled me to go long. He read the play.
The second one, they had a back-up in and we took advantage of it. That’s pretty much it.
On the nature of the mistakes:
I just think we try too hard not to make a mistake. If we can calm down and play football like we play football, it’ll be a better season.
Have you talked to the guys?
Yes, but you can only say so much. I can talk to them. We go down, they tense up. But that’s all of us. I do it.
On the potential changes to the starting lineup?
I guess that’s trying to find our strength. If this doesn’t work let’s try something else.
Describing his touchdown:
We knew we could exploit the seam, I came clean across the middle and Ben found me.
How frustrating is this?
It’s beyond frustrating. Week in, week out we keep making mistakes. It’s tiring. Tired of making mistakes and tired of coming in without a ‘W.’ We can’t put in on anybody else but ourselves.
Are people trying too hard not to make a mistake?
I can agree that’s part of it; people are trying hard not to make a mistake and that leads right to the thing they don’t want. That’s not all of it, though.
What’s the rest of it?
Missed assignments and missed opportunities. Not being a cohesive unit at times. When we get that ironed out we will have a better chance to win.
Do you feel like you are prepared for what you are seeing?
So it comes down to the mental part?
Yes. It’s not all mental, but that’s a part of it.
Physically, are y’all holding up against the opponent?
Yes. I can’t speak for everybody but from what I’ve seen we are dominant enough to out-physical the opponent.
Are y’all ready for the Sun Belt?
I haven’t looked at all the teams we will play but come this summer once we put the work in that we put in for this summer we will be.
On moving to defensive tackle, which he seems to like:
It was a good move for me. I stepped up with the team. I’m just out there to play football. If they need me to play quarterback, I’ll jump back there.
What is causing the errors?
The CAA is a great league. It’s somewhat of a learning process. You’ve got three years of a program being in existence. A program grows just like anything else. You learn and start to understand the game differently. This is just one of the steps to learning the game right.
Now we understand how it is and we have to work to get the tempo right.
Next year we are going to go to the Sun Belt and do the exact thing. We’re working hard though. It’s not a pointing finger thing or so-and-so should be doing this. We’re working hard and giving it all we got. Eventually, it will mesh. It’s a young program and young team. Inexperience shows itself at times.
What is the single most important thing needed to compete for next year?
Biggest thing next year is consistency. We have to give it all we got. Every time we play we show right off the bat that we can hang and it’s start to dwindle at times and the other team starts to capitalize on that. If we can just play consistent, play consistent, play consistent then we will have a shot at anybody on our schedule, Sun Belt or not.
New Hampshire Head Coach Sean McDonnell
I thought we played pretty clean the first half and didn’t turn the ball over.
I thought defensively they got us on the third down, a little bit of a broken play and go. I thought defensively in the first half we did a nice job.
We blocked a punt and we had talked about doing something on special teams this week and we did that. We had a really good kickoff return, after they had just scored to close to about 20.
I’m really pleased with how hard we played again. If we can keep doing that, we’ll be able to win some more games.”
On big plays:
We have some kids who are pretty good in open spaces. We’re not the fastest, but they have a knack for playing football, but what we do offensively, like spreading people out works. Our quarterbacks get the ball to the right people and that helps us out so much.
On defensive line:
One kid, Jarred Smith, he has not played as well as he wants to play or we want him to play. He was out and has not played as well as he can. They didn’t block him very well in the first half and he made those big plays. I thought our defensive line set the tone for the game.
Our whole offense is predicated on spacing and we spread out the Georgia State defense. We have balance with skilled players and spread the field well.
On Georgia State:
When you have young QB’s and they’re playing at this level, they are going to make mistakes.
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu