Something has to give when Georgia State takes on Rhode Island on Saturday.
The winless Panthers and winless Rams are the two worst teams in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Both have trouble scoring. Both have trouble stopping the other team.
Both have talked up the other this week as if they will be facing Alabama.
“You think you have an idea of how they will look on video, but they don’t look like that,” Georgia State coach Bill Curry said. “They are a CAA team. They run to the ball, hustle, get off blocks, they give effort and are physically tough.”
Rhode Island coach Joe Trainer was just as effusive about the Panthers.
“They have a ton of talent and they’ve gotten better every single week also,” he said. “Thy have two good quarterbacks, talented tailbacks and good offensive and defensive lines. We’ll have to play well to beat them.”
The reality is both teams have struggled all year and have time-shares in Nos. 10 and 11 in most of the conference’s statistical categories.
Of the most important, points scored, Georgia State is 10th with 11.8 points per game. Rhode Island is 11th with 7.6. The next best team, William and Mary, is averaging 21.2 points per game.
The Rams and Panthers swap spots in the second most-important category, points allowed. Rhode Island is 10th with 33.8 points per game. Georgia State is 11th with 39.3 points. The next best team, Old Dominion, is allowing 28.4 points per game.
So it’s hard to figure out how Saturday’s game could turn out.
The defenses would lead one to hope for something similar to ODU’s 64-61 victory over New Hampshire earlier this year.
But the offenses would lead one to long for the days of the 3-2 game between Auburn and Mississippi State a few years ago.
“Both teams are anxious,” Curry said. “It has not been good for us to be anxious. We need game-time to be fun for us.”
Defensive coordinator Anthony Midget said the Rams have good receivers, but if the Panthers can follow the game plan, they should match up well.
Offensive coordinator John Bond said the Rams’ defense will use a lot of four-man fronts with a zone coverage scheme, which is similar to what the Panthers have faced each of the past three weeks. Though the starting quarterback battle between Ben McLane and Ronnie Bell will be a game-time decision, Bond seems confident that the carry-over from the past three games may bring a change in the Panthers’ fortunes.
“It will be a good thing for us,” he said.