FACTS & STATS: Site: Georgia Dome (28,155) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: South Alabama 3-2, Georgia State 0-6. Away Record: South Alabama 1-4, Georgia State 0-5. Neutral Record: South Alabama 0-0, Georgia State 0-0. Conference Record: South Alabama 2-3, Georgia State 0-6. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: With a bowl eligibility still on the table, the South Alabama Jaguars travel to Atlanta to take on the Georgia State Panthers in Sun Belt Conference action at the Georgia Dome.
Joey Jones' Jaguars are just 4-6 on the season but the team has doubled its win total from 2012 when it went just 2-11. USA was able to end a three-game losing streak last weekend at home against ULM to move to 2-3 in conference play. The team closes out its regular season next week at home against Louisiana and can earn the requisite six wins for postseason eligibility if it wins out.
Trent Miles is still in search of his first victory at the helm at Georgia State. The Panthers have had a rough first season at the FBS level at 0-11 overall and 0-6 in-conference. They are however, coming off one of their most competitive games to date, as they dropped a 35-33 decision on the road at Arkansas State last week.
This is just the third all-time meeting between these two teams. South Alabama won the first meeting in 2010 (39-34), but Georgia State tied up the series with a 27-20 2OT win in 2011.
South Alabama has improved this season due in large part to balanced play on the offensive side of the ball. The Jaguars are averaging 28.5 ppg, with success both on the ground (163.9 ypg) and through the air (258.2 ypg).
Senior quarterback Ross Metheny possesses dual-threat skills, as he has completed 61.9 percent of his passes, for 2,171 yards and 14 touchdowns, while ranking second on the team in rushing (510 yards) and first in rushing scores (9). He is joined in the backfield by junior Jay Jones (530 yards, 5.0 ypc, 3 TDs).
Tight end Wes Saxton is a valuable option in the passing game and leads the team in receptions (45). However, the big play threat is wideout Shavarez Smith (37 catches, 706 yards, 5 TDs).
South Alabama has been plagued by inconsistent play on defense this season and the numbers certainly reflect that. The Jaguars are yielding 27.7 ppg and 405.4 yards of total offense, showing a particular problem against the run (182.3 ypg).
Senior LB Enrique Williams leads the team in tackles by a large margin with 94 total stops. Seniors Alex Page (44 tackles, 13.0 TFL, 6.5 sacks) and Romelle Jones (35 tackles, 11.0 TFL, 6.5 sacks) have been a formidable duo up front.
Having gone the whole season without a win is certainly a sign of struggles, on both sides of the football. Georgia State falls into that category.
The Panthers rank among the worst teams in the nation in scoring at a mere 18.9 ppg, despite a decent passing attack that is generating 246.8 ypg.
Sophomore Ronnie Bell has handled the majority of the duties under center, completing 50.1 percent of his throws, for 2,252 yards, with 15 touchdowns against 10 interceptions.
Aiding Bell's cause is one of the nation's most explosive wideouts in senior Albert Wilson, whose career 18.3 ypc ranks second among all active FBS players. This season, Wilson leads the team with 65 catches, for 1,076 yards and eight TDs.
The defensive numbers aren't very good for Georgia State in its first season against top competition. The Panthers are giving up 36.5 yards per game and getting gashed by both the run (219.4 ypg) and the pass (242.1 ypg).
Sophomore LB Joseph Peterson has had a strong season and leads the Panthers in tackles (92), with 5.5 TFL and two sacks. Senior LB Robert Ferguson is a distant second in terms of tackles with 65 stops.
It would be a nice ending to the season if Georgia State found a way to win this game. However, South Alabama is still playing for something and will get the victory here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Alabama 30, Georgia State 17
11/27 11:30:35 ET
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