Scouting the Panthers

Robert George

While a game against an in-state rival will always be an intense and emotional contest, this game this weekend between Georgia Southern (GS) and Georgia State (GSU) should have a little extra juice for both teams.

GS is fighting for bowl eligibility. They have to win their final two games, and that begins with the Panthers. The Eagles also want to avenge last season’s loss to the Panthers, and this senior class wants to cap off their impressive careers with wins in their final two games.

GSU, however, is not playing for a bowl game. At 2-8 overall, their season will end on Dec. 3 after their final game against Idaho. However, they’ll be doing it without their head coach of four years, Trent Miles. Miles was fired last weekend following the loss to UL Monroe, ending his tenure at GSU.

Miles was never able to get much going other than last season, when the Panthers pulled out six wins and went to their first ever bowl game. He was respected by his players, but ultimately wasn’t able to keep his job after going 9-38 during his time at GSU.

GS head coach Tyson Summers talked about how a new head coach for GSU could impact the game this weekend.

“As late as it is in the season, I don’t think you’ll see any huge changes,” Summers said. “There may be a little bit different personality from a play-calling standpoint. I certainly don’t think you’ll see a lot different things from a defensive or special-teams standpoint.”

Offensively, GSU is led by their senior wideout Robert Davis. Last season, he and fellow wideout Penny Hart formed a devastating combo on the outside, and was a big reason why the Panthers won six games. However, Hart has only played two games this season due to injuries, and Davis has hauled in four touchdowns and 780 yards so far.

“I think the big thing [with GSU] is their overall speed,” Summers said. “They got a bunch of long guys that can run, particularly at the skill position.”

Defensively, Chandon Sullivan leads a secondary that is probably the best position group on their team. He’s been the anchor for a unit that has made plays in the passing game all season. Sullivan and fellow defensive backs BJ Clay and Jerome Smith all have three interceptions each on the season.

However, the Panthers haven’t been able to stop the running game all season. They give up about 200 yards per game on the ground, and should play into the Eagle’s strengths. That’s provided, however, that the Eagles can put together a rushing attack like the one they mustered against Ole Miss and not the one against UL Lafayette.

Photo courtesy of Kiara Griffin.