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Georgia State (0-7) at ULM (3-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 26, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Malone Stadium (30,427) -- Monroe, Louisiana. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: GSU 0-4, ULM 1-2. Away Record: GSU 0-3, ULM 2-2. Neutral Record: GSU 0-0, ULM 0-0. Conference Record: GSU 0-2, ULM 1-1. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Georgia State Panthers will try once again for their first victory as a member of the FBS on Saturday afternoon when they visit Malone Stadium for a bout with the ULM Warhawks.
Georgia State's initial foray into the FBS has been predictably rocky, as it has gone winless in seven games to start the season. The Panthers lost at Texas State last Saturday, 24-17, to fall to 0-2 in the league, but on the positive side of things, each of their last two defeats have come by just one score.
ULM expected to be one of the conference favorites coming into this season, but has disappointed with a 3-4 overall record and a 1-1 league ledger. The Warhawks managed to head back in the right direction the last time out by snapping a three-game losing streak with a 21-14 win at Texas State on Oct. 12.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
The Panthers offense has been the Sun Belt's worst this season, as they score a league-low 16.6 ppg while racking up just 335.9 ypg.
Ronnie Bell has played better in recent weeks (578 passing yards in the past two games), and he has tossed 10 touchdowns against five interceptions for the season, but he has still been largely inefficient in completing fewer than 48 percent of his passes.
Bell has had great chemistry with wide receiver Albert Wilson, who despite a lackluster supporting cast still leads the Sun Belt in receptions (40) and receiving yards (763), while scoring six touchdowns. Robert Davis garners plenty of single-coverage playing opposite Wilson, and he has taken advantage with 27 receptions for 373 yards and three touchdowns.
Georgia State's rushing attack has been virtually non-existent, averaging fewer than 88 yards per contest. Travis Evans gets the majority of the work out of the backfield with 308 yards and a touchdown.
Things have not been much better for the Panthers defensively, and they rank last in the league in allowing 35.7 ppg and 475.1 ypg, while forcing just eight turnovers.
Joseph Peterson's 51 tackles are a team-high. Tarris Batiste has 41 tackles, 6.0 TFL, an interception and a fumble recovery, while Jarrell Robinson has 4.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks and a pick.
ULM's offense has only been marginally more productive than Georgia State's in terms of scoring (17.3 ppg), and its yardage average (333.1 ypg) is the worst in the league. Things have only gotten worse since quarterback Kolton Browning, a Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection in 2012, is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a leg injury.
Brayle Brown has not performed well in Browning's place. He is completing just 51 percent of his passes with one touchdown while throwing six interceptions over the course of 100 attempts.
The Warhawks have leaned more heavily on the running game without Browning, although they rush for just 115.9 ypg as a team. Jyruss Edwards leads the way with 336 yards and a touchdown on 75 carries.
Rashon Ceaser is one of the league's most productive receivers with 38 catches for 424 yards, but he has yet to find the end zone. Tavarese May has also played well with 35 receptions, 321 yards and a score.
Defensively, ULM has not performed well as it allows 29.9 ppg and 425.4 ypg, but it is coming off its best defensive effort of the season in the win over Texas State.
Isaiah Newsome became the first player in conference history to return two interceptions for touchdowns in the same game in the Oct. 12 win, giving him a total of four picks on the season. Cameron Blakes leads the unit with 48 tackles and 2.5 sacks, while Ray Stovall has 7.5 TFL.
With two struggling offenses squaring off against equally-poor defensive units, this futile matchup is bound to be an unpredictable one. Georgia State has improved in recent weeks, but it will still have its hands full in hostile territory. Expect the Warhawks to make one or two game-changing plays to pull out the win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: ULM 28, Georgia State 24
10/23 10:37:24 ET
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