The Georgia State Panthers (2-6, 1-3) will travel to the Lone Star State as they take on the Texas State Bobcats (2-6, 1-3) in Sun Belt Conference competition Saturday afternoon. Texas State has won the two previous meetings, including a 54-31 triumph on the road as a 13 point favorite on November 29, 2014 in the most recent matchup.
Georgia State has dropped two straight and five of six after falling 23-21 to Louisiana Lafayette last week. Texas State has lost two straight and five of six themselves as they were dumped 31-21 at home by New Mexico State last Saturday. The kickoff for this game is slated for 4:00 pm ET from Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos, Texas and can be seen on ESPN3. Texas State is currently a 3 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 65 points.
Georgia State fell behind 17-7 after one quarter and rallied for a 21-17 lead but couldn’t hold on; a foiled fake punt set up the game winning field goal with 6:59 to play. The Panthers outgained the Ragin’ Cajuns 390-307, picked up 21 first downs to 19 for Louisiana Lafayette and both teams turned the ball over once. Georgia State lost the time of possession battle by a 31:25 to 28:35 margin in the contest, in addition to the failed fake punt, the Panthers had a punt blocked for a score in the loss.
The Panthers are a solid offensive team through the air, ranking 13th in the nation in passing offense (332.9 yards per game) but they have struggled on the ground as they put up 87.3 yards per contest, leaving them 126th in the nation in that category. Georgia State averages 25.5 points but they struggle defensively as they allow 35.5 points per game; that puts them 108th in the nation in scoring defense. Nick Arbuckle has completed 194 of 306 passes for 2,664 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions on the year. The run game averages a measly 3 yards per carry; Kyler Neal is the team’s second leading rusher with 66 carries for 248 yards and three scores while Demarcus Kirk is next with 60 carries for a team leading 264 yards plus a score. Six receivers have double digit receptions for the Panthers: Penny Hart leads the team with 46 catches for 738 yards and four scores; Robert Davis (40 grabs, 600 yards, 3 TD), Keith Rucker (24 grabs, 277 yards, 5 TD) and Todd Boyd (17 catches, 156 yards, TD) are other targets for Arbuckle. Wil Lutz has banged through 24 of 25 extra points and 8 of 14 field goals on the year, including a pair of 50 yard kicks.
Texas State fell to the suddenly resurgent New Mexico State team that has won two straight after starting 0-7. The Bobcats led 14-10 at the half but was outscored 21-7 the rest of the way as they ended up on the wrong end of the scoreboard. Texas State was outgained 527-400, lost the first down battle 26-20 and the time of possession battle 32:29 to 27:31 in the contest. The Bobcats were also hurt as they committed three turnovers in the game while failing to record a takeaway; that cost them potential scoring chances.
The Bobcats bring a good offense to the table in this contest as they are 69th in the nation in passing offense (221.3 yards) and 38th in the nation when it comes to rushing offense with an average of 194.9 yards per game. Texas State is scoring an average of 29.5 points per game, which is tied for 61st in the country, but they are leaky defensively as they are 122nd in the FBS in scoring defense by allowing 41.6 points per contest. Tyler Jones has completed 145 of 246 passes for 1,633 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions while ranking second on the team with 467 yards and eight scores on the ground. Connor White (18 of 32, 137 yards, TD, 38 rushing yards) is the backup should Jones get banged up. Robert Lowe is the top running back for the Bobcats with 130 carries for 717 yards plus six scores; Chris Nutall adds 35 carries for 176 yards and four touchdowns. C.J. Best is the team’s leading receiver with 34 catches for 328 yards; Jafus Gaines (27 grabs, team high 357 yards, 2 TD), Ryan Carden (20 grabs, 182 yards) and Demun Mercer (18 receptions, 226 yards, 2 TD) are other key targets for the Bobcats. Two kickers for Texas State have combined to hit 24 of 28 extra points and six of 10 field goals this season with a long of 36 yards.
Texas State is 5-1 ATS in their last six in November, 6-2 ATS in their last eight on fieldturf and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 conference games. Georgia State is 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight conference games, 1-4-1 ATS in their last six in November and 1-4 ATS in their last five after allowing less than 170 yards through the air.
Both teams have struggled this season and they don’t have a ton going for them. Georgia State blew chances to win last week while Texas State looked dismal against New Mexico State, especially in the second half. Playing at home, you have to give the Bobcats an edge over the Panthers in this contest as they likely win by a touchdown or so, give the points here.