Troy (3-3) at Georgia State (0-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 12, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Georgia Dome (28,155) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: ESPN3.com, CSS, Sun Belt Network. Home Record: Troy 3-0, GSU 0-3. Away Record: Troy 0-3, GSU 0-2. Neutral Record: Troy 1-1, GSU 0-0. Conference Record: Troy 0-0, GSU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Still in search of their first win of the season, the Georgia State Panthers will open up Sun Belt Conference play on Saturday afternoon when they play host to the Troy Trojans at the Georgia Dome.
Troy has been wildly inconsistent this season on its way to a 3-3 record, as it has won all three of its home games but has lost all three of its road contests. The Trojans have split their two Sun Belt matchups, losing at Arkansas State on Sept. 12 (41-34), and most recently downing South Alabama last weekend in come-from-behind fashion, 34-33, scoring the game-winning touchdown with just seven seconds remaining.
Georgia State's first season as a member of the FBS has predictably not gone smoothly, losing all five of its bouts, with three coming against FCS foes (Samford, Chattanooga, Jacksonville State). The Panthers had the unenviable task of traveling to No. 1 Alabama last Saturday and were thoroughly beaten in a 45-3 final.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between these newly-formed conference rivals.
Troy has made a name for itself in recent years as one of the Sun Belt's most explosive offensive teams, and it has not disappointed in 2013 as it ranks second in the league in scoring (34.3 ppg), and third in yardage (462.3 ypg).
The Trojans are led by senior quarterback Corey Robinson, who orchestrated the game-winning touchdown against South Alabama last week by completing all five of his passes on the final drive with less than a minute to work with. He has thrown for 1,539 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions, and his .742 completion percentage is tops in the nation among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts. Robinson is already the SBC's all-time passing leader (11,797), and he needs just four more touchdowns to surpass Rusty Smith's league record of 76.
Even with Robinson playing well, Troy still finds snaps for Deon Anthony, who has passed for 278 yards, rushed for 287 yards, and scored five touchdowns.
Eric Thomas, the reigning Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week after logging five catches for 129 yards and the game-winning score against South Alabama, has caught 31 balls this season for 480 yards and is tied for the FBS lead with nine receiving touchdowns. Bryan Holmes is also in the midst of a strong campaign with 27 receptions, 387 yards and four scores.
Brandon Burks is a versatile tailback with 303 rushing yards to go with 24 receptions out of the backfield. Jordan Chunn (195 yards) has a real nose for the end zone with five touchdowns.
Troy's kryptonite is its porous defense, which allows opponents to put up points (34.7 ppg) and yards (471.3 ypg) seemingly at will.
Camren Hudson leads the unit with 39 tackles, while Tyler Roberts has 4.5 TFL and 3.0 sacks. The defense has only forced three turnovers through six games.
Georgia State's offense has been slow to adapt to life in the higher rungs of college football, as it averages just 14.2 ppg and 312.2 ypg.
Ronnie Bell has been largely ineffective under center, completing less than 48 percent of his passes for 920 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Ben McLane has seen action in all five games and has made the most of his opportunities (11-of-20, 199 yards, two TDs, zero INTs).
Despite the lack of talent surrounding him, Albert Wilson has pieced together an outstanding campaign at receiver, tallying 26 receptions for a conference- best 517 yards while scoring four touchdowns.
Travis Evans has been the team's most effective running back with 207 yards and a touchdown, but he averages a meager 3.7 yards per carry.
Unfortunately, the Panthers pair a lackluster defense with their struggling offense. The unit yields a league-worst 38.2 ppg, while allowing opponents to convert third downs at a 51 percent clip.
Tarris Batiste is the team's best defensive playmaker with 28 tackles and 5.5 TFL. Jarrell Robinson has posted a pair of sacks, while Brent McClendon has an interception and five passes defended.
Despite owning the home field advantage this week, Georgia State has shown no sign of being able to compete at this stage of its FBS tenure. Troy's road woes should be put on hold at least for one week, as Robinson and company make easy work of the Panthers' struggling defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Troy 41, Georgia State 21
10/09 10:47:50 ET