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Georgia State

College Football

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Georgia State showed plenty of promise in 2015 and reached a bowl game, but with the help of some key injuries, the Panthers fell off last season and only won three games, two in the Sun Belt. Shawn Elliott takes over as head coach after serving a number of years at South Carolina going 1-5 with the Gamecocks as interim head coach.

The most important thing for Elliott in his first season will be to keep his team healthy. The offense has some playmakers, but all of them missed time last year and that led to 19.9 points per game. Conner Manning showed some promise under center tossing for 16 touchdowns and that was done mostly without top wide out Penny Hart, who missed all but two games. Hart took over the conference as a freshman in 2015, catching 71 balls for 1,099 yards and eight touchdowns. If Manning and Hart can find some early rapport, that will automatically improve the offense. Kyler Neal (314 yards) and Glenn Smith (150 yards) will share duties in the backfield in what should be a better ground game. The line returns four starters with center Gabe Mobley being an all-conference product.

The Georgia State defense was somewhat solid in allowing 26.6 points per game and given the injuries, that’s not bad. Nate Fuqua, formerly of Wofford, will be the team’s new coordinator with eight starters returning. If healthy, the line should get a big boost with three starters back along with linebackers Trey Payne and Michael Shaw. The secondary was the strong suit of this team and was top 10 in the country in yards allowed (173.9). Corner Chandon Sullivan is one of the best in the Sun Belt and multiple other experienced defensive backs join him including a couple juco transfers.

The Panthers can get off to a better start than a year ago if they can grab a couple wins from Tennessee State and Charlotte early. Competing in the Sun Belt will be tough with all of their home games coming against teams expected to finish in the top half of the standings. To surpass last year’s win total, they’ll need a road win or two and that should be more than possible with Coastal Carolina, UL Monroe and Texas State on the slate.

This team has some talent to work with and as long as they can stay healthy, should be in a better position for wins than a year ago. Still, Georgia State isn’t getting much love in the books with +5000 odds (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) to win the conference, placing them ahead of only two teams in the standings. But even with those odds, the Panthers still have an over/under of five wins with more money coming in on the over. Four conference wins is definitely possible for this team and with a couple non-conference wins, a bowl could be in the future for Elliott in his first season. Of course, they have to stay healthy.


2017 Georgia State Panthers Football Schedule

Aug. 31 vs. Tennessee State
Sept. 16 at Penn State
Sept. 23 at Charlotte
Sept. 30 vs. Memphis

Oct. 7 at Coastal Carolina
Oct. 14 at UL Monroe

Oct. 21 vs. Troy
Oct. 26 vs. South Alabama

Nov. 4 at Georgia Southern
Nov. 11 at Texas State
Nov. 25 vs. Appalachian State
Dec. 2 vs. Idaho

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