Georgia State has one more chance, in coach Bill Curry’s final game no less, to string two good halves together for what Curry said may be the first time this season.
Players and coaches have theories why the Panthers haven’t been able to play four consecutive good quarters. Turnovers have played a part, but don’t fully explain the apparent difference in energy and results after halftime.
“If we knew why we were starting so poorly we would have fixed it,” Curry said. “We have tried every known remedy.”
But there’s hope, based upon the past few games, that Georgia State (1-9) will put it all together in Saturday’s game at Maine and send the retiring Curry out with a victory, something he may consider more valuable than the traditional golden watch.
Why now? In Maine, on what could be a cold, rainy day?
The Panthers have either outscored or tied opponents in the second half of each of the past four games. They outscored Old Dominion, 27-21, and tied James Madison, Villanova and Rhode Island. The trend in the second half of the last four games is encouraging to Georgia State’s coaches, giving them hope that the players can be dialed in the first time they leave the locker room, and not wait until the second time.
“It’s a deal where the kids have to come out and be ready from the jump,” defensive coordinator Anthony Midget said.
Most agree that the slow starts can be traced to the team’s propensity to turn over the ball or commit penalties at the worst time.
The team has committed 31 turnovers this year. During the recent four-game stretch, the team has lost the ball five times in the first half, compared to just twice in the second half. During that stretch, they were outscored by 78 points in the first half.
“That has such a huge impact on us getting in a hole and giving up points,” offensive coordinator John Bond said. “If we are able to secure the ball for a little while and get something going offensively it settles down a little bit.”
The players know the game is more than 30 minutes long, though even they don’t know why they perform better in the second half than the first. Tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi said he thinks he and his teammates may improve because of pride.
“Just because we reflect on what happens in the first half, we feel so bad about it, we don’t want to do that again,” he said.
Curry has one more chance to try to lead his team to four good quarters, which he believes could result in victory. He doesn’t want to hand the next staff a team coming off a loss.
“Our goal this week is for our people to look and say the winning part started on Nov. 10, 2012,” he said.
– Doug Roberson, AJC and AJC.com. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu