GSU’s Russell named CAA player of the week

Georgia State running back Donald Russell was named the Colonial Athletic Association’s offensive player of the week following his school-record 201 rushing yards in Saturday’s 41-7 victory over Rhode Island.

Russell scored touchdowns on runs of 45 and 6 yards and caught a 35-yard touchdown pass for a school-record 236 all-purpose yards.

Coach Bill Curry said one of the keys to Russell’s big day was the wide receivers did a better job blocking for him downfield. Curry said the Panthers also blocked a little big differently because of Rhode Island’s schemes.

“Donald’s been running the ball well all year,” Curry said.

Curry said Russell should have had another long run but wide receiver Albert Wilson missed a block.

Russell is the first player in the CAA this season to rush for more than 200 yards and first player in school history to score three touchdowns. He has 743 rushing yards this season and 1,408 in his GSU career.

He leads the conference with an average of 106.1 yards per game.

“He’s very talented, very durable,” Rhode Island coach Joe Trainer said. “We just couldn’t tackle him.”

Russell, a senior from West Palm Beach, Fla., is the second Georgia State player to earn a weekly honor from the CAA, joining punter Matt Hubbard who earned special teams honors earlier this season.

The Panthers will host Villanova at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

Promise

Curry promised his team that if they didn’t turn over the ball, and if they created a couple, they would defeat the Rams.

On offense, the Panthers didn’t throw any interceptions or lose any fumbles for the first time this season. On defense, the Panthers had an interception and recovered a fumble.

“We were pleased to see some progress,” he said.

Curry said the team should have created a few more turnovers. He noted an interception that likely would have resulted in a touchdown was dropped. And the Panthers caused a fumble on a punt return that  they couldn’t recover.

That inability to capitalize on mistakes is an issue that’s negatively affected the team all season.

“There’s a certain alertness that you have to … when you have a chance to create a turnover you have to do it,” Curry said.

McLane’s play

Ben McLane will likely remain the starting quarterback this week based upon his play against Rhode Island, Curry said. McLane, a redshirt freshman, started the first four games before Ronnie Bell, also a redshirt freshman, won the job. McLane won the starting job again last week.

McLane completed 14 of his 25 pass attempts for a career-high 213 yards with two touchdowns, one to Russell and one to Travis Evans.

Curry said McLane’s improvement can be traced to an offensive line that didn’t allow a sack.

Curry also noted that McLane played with confidence, making some “beautiful throws.

“He threw very well on (short) throws that look easy but aren’t easy,” Curry said. “He did some sophisticated things, the things that he hasn’t done well in previous games. It’s a matter of maturity. It’s a logical progression of improvement.”

Curry said that when Bell played in the fourth quarter he also showed a lot of progress.

McLane is 71-of-140 with six touchdowns and four interceptions this year.

Villanova

Curry said he and his coaches will now try to channel the positive energy from the season’s first victory into this week’s game against Villanova, a much tougher opponent than Rhode Island.

The Wildcats demolished previously unbeaten Old Dominion 38-14 last week in Norfolk by rushing for 376 yards and scoring 38 unanswered points.

“The (playeres) aren’t blind, they can see it’ll be a much tougher task about Villanova,” Curry said. “It’s exciting to get ourselves ready against this caliber of competition.”

The Panthers are allowing 212.7 rushing yards per game, while the Wildcats, led by Kevin Monangai (94.4 rushing yards per game) and quarterback John Robertson (84.6), are averaging 258.6.

“They just keep pounding the ball,” Curry said. “They run the clock and wear down the defense and eventually prevail. It’s the kind of thing you build championships from.”

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

they aren’t blind, they can see it’l b a much tougher task about villanova. It’s exciting to get ourselves ready against this caliber of competition.

Im so impressed with the way thy conducted thmseleves. They wnt into a place wherd odu expects to win…they just kept pouding the bal up in thre with those excelelent backs, including th quarterback john Robertson.

They just keepe pounding the ball. They run the clock and wear down the defense and eventually prevail. It’s the kind of thing you build championships from.

21 comments Add your comment

GStateBen

October 15th, 2012
10:10 am

Absolutely awesome! Congrats to The Donald!

He has the inside track to make 1st team All-CAA team as he now leads the CAA in rushing.

Steve Nash's Pick and Roll

October 15th, 2012
10:12 am

And he would have already hit 1,000 yds this season if his OC had a brain.

Tuscon

October 15th, 2012
10:27 am

Good to see The Donald getting some love. He absolutely deserves it. Getting yards despite the play calling.

Truth

October 15th, 2012
10:30 am

Good job, The Donald. I hope the coaches decide to feature him these last four games.

Ms. Fields

October 15th, 2012
10:50 am

Way to go Donald!!!! Give IT TO EM!!!!!!

jweaver

October 15th, 2012
10:51 am

Well deserved and hopefully it is not the last one this year.

Panama

October 15th, 2012
11:07 am

One step closer to the NFL

Panther4Life

October 15th, 2012
11:22 am

Way to go Donald. Hopefully Bond has finally figured out what we do here….. See you at Homecoming!!

BariBlue

October 15th, 2012
11:22 am

Teams just can’t contain “The Donald”. Keep up the good work, and Go Panthers! Upset Villanova!

Busted and Disgusted

October 15th, 2012
11:45 am

Villinova will be a tough team to beat, full of play action. In fact, the rest of the games will be a challenge. Featuring Russell is key, but have to find ways to do so that aren’t so obvious. The offense this weekend was full of new wrinkles to confuse defense. Also, I know Kelton won’t play QB, but any receiver throwing plays, please allow him to do so. Williams and Wilson need not throw ever again. Both attempts have been horrible. Remember, lead blocker for Russell equals big gains.

jackson

October 15th, 2012
12:01 pm

Give Donald the Rock!

Mrs. Stanley

October 15th, 2012
12:03 pm

Great job Donald! We (your Dwyer Pather family) are so proud of your accomplishments on and off the field. You will definitely do well in any arena you choose because you have the drive, determination, and work ethic that being successful takes.

Chicken Bone

October 15th, 2012
12:22 pm

Congrats Donald! You deserve this award and we appreciate all you have done to help GSU football. You are truly a fine person and leader. You will go far in life with your attributes! We will be cheering for you this weekend at the DOME. GO #20 and GO PANTHERS!

Glsjunior

October 15th, 2012
12:29 pm

Peyton Award

Glsjunior

October 15th, 2012
12:34 pm

RidgeRunner

October 15th, 2012
12:46 pm

Well deserved!

Donald Russell

October 15th, 2012
1:10 pm

Thanks, guys. Coach Bond said he’ll give me a much deserved rest this week, so see you in the Verizon Club, Panthers fans.

GSU Men's BB Fan

October 15th, 2012
1:14 pm

“They just keep pounding the ball,” Curry said. “They run the clock and wear down the defense and eventually prevail. It’s the kind of thing you build championships from.”

Well ain’t that something Bill? Maybe you should clue your OC in on this crazy phenomenon?

Oh. Never mind. I’m sure the Donald will have to beg for touches next week. I mean. We wouldn’t want his head to get too big after being named player of the week or anything. It’ll be far more important to teach him to be humble.

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