After what can be described as nothing less than a train wreck, Georgia State’s 2-10 2018 season left fans disappointed and with very low expectations for 2019. This disappointment not only came from Panther fans but also from the Georgia State Athletic Staff seeing how the 2019 season began with six new coaches for the team. Starting off strong was going to be no easy task for the Panthers though, they had to travel to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers in week one.
What seemed to be an inevitable loss for the Panthers, left fans and the entire college football world shocked when the Panthers prevailed over the Volunteers in a 38-30 win. This incredible win was spearheaded by Panther Quarterback Dan Ellington who was 11 for 24 with 139 passing yards and two passing touchdowns as well as 61 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. Ellington’s performance wasn’t the only key to victory for the Panthers; Tra Barnett and Seth Paige also combined to rush for 135 yards and two touchdowns. This week one win over an SEC school instilled confidence and excitement in the Panthers organization as well as the fan base.
Week two against Furman turned out to be an unexpected challenge for the Panthers. The first half of their home opener was not off to an ideal start seeing how the Panthers were trailing 17-20 at half. Despite the halftime score, the Panthers were able to score 31 points in the second half thanks to four passing touchdowns from Quarterback Dan Ellington. This allowed the Panthers to squeeze out a 48-42 win over Furman.
Next up for the 2-0 Panthers was a battle with Western Michigan in Kalamazoo against the 1-1 Broncos. Despite the hype surrounding the organization, there were problems on both sides of the ball for Georgia State. Starting with the offense, Ellington was held to 126 passing yards and only one touchdown with no help from the Panther defense who gave up just shy of 700 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns. This led to an astounding Panthers loss as they fell to Western Michigan in a 59-10 blowout.
Week 4 was seen by many to be a shot at redemption for the past week’s blowout. The Panthers were on the road again, but this time they were taking on the 0-3 Texas State Bobcats. It seemed as though the Panthers underestimated the Bobcats in week 4. Even though the Panthers led the Bobcats in total offense (420-334 respectively), the Bobcats prevailed over the Panthers 37-34 in a triple overtime thriller. After the game, Panthers head coach Shawn Elliot blamed Turnovers and Time management as the main culprit for the loss stating, “We give them 10 points with turnovers and at the end of the game, we mismanaged the clock and didn’t get out of bounds when we should have.” This most recent loss for the Panthers has them 2-2 going into to their week 5 bye week.
What should the Panthers work on during their bye week? Well it seems that in the past two games, the two main problems for the Panthers has been their Defense and turning the ball over. Hopefully Georgia State uses their week off to find a way to neutralize offenses because no defense should be giving up over 1000 combined yards in two games. Keeping possession of the ball should also be a priority. In their game against Texas State Coach Elliot said himself that turnovers ultimately lost them the game. Both of these problems need to be addressed and fixed in order for the Panthers to be successful in week 6 when the 2-2 Arkansas State Red Wolves come to Atlanta to face the Panthers in their second home game of the season.