We all know how potent the Georgia State offense has been under the helm of QB Nick Arbuckle and his just vicious receiving corps. Probably one of the most underrated and under appreciated units in the 2015 season is the Georgia State defense which has shown great improvement under the tutelage of Defensive Coordinator Jesse Minter. Granted, having an offense like the Panther Air Raid being able to sustain drives and score is a big help, but that doesn’t underscore how much improved this unit has achieved this season.
In Part 3 of our Cure Bowl Preview, we move our attention to the match up between the Panther Defense and the Spartan Offense. Statistically the two units match up pretty well and the the unit that gets the better of the other could determine the outcome of this game.
The Spartans average about 28 points per game and had a total of 4430 total yards of offense in 2015. The Panthers have allowed more than 500 more yards but only allowed 28 points. The Spartans are averaging about 5.66 yards per play while the Panther defense is only allowing 5.41.
One advantage that the Spartans might have over the Panthers is in the passing game. QB Kerry Potter has a 68% completion percent and is averaging about 7.3 yards against a Panther secondary that is allowing 11 yards and opposing QBs to complete 59% of their passes.
The ground game is the Spartans meat and potatoes. They amassed 2181 total yards on the ground and 4.57 yards per play while the GSU defense allowed 2157 total yards and 4.42 yards per play.
The Panther Defense must bottle up Tyler Erwin and limit his yardage. Coach Minter undoubtedly watched plenty of tape to see how the Spartans bitter rival, San Diego State, load the box and hold Erwin to 22 total yards on 17 carries according to the San Jose Mercury News. Heading into that game, Erwin led the nation in all purpose yards.
The Spartans were held to an average of 13 points in all seven of their losses. If Georgia State is to secure a win, the Panther defense is to limit the Spartans to 14 points or less.
No pressure or anything Coach Minter. This is a defense that has grown up before our eyes and while this is a challenge, it is something they are entirely capable of accomplishing.
Some Spartan offensive players to keep an eye on are:
– QB Kerry Potter is ranked 62nd in total offense in the FBS averaging 224 yards per game.
– RB Tyler Erwin likely has the attention of Minter and “LineBeasts” like Joe Peterson. Erwin is the workhorse for the Spartan offense averaging over 122 yards per game (half of the Spartans offense) and has 13 TDs on the season. Erwin ranks 11th nationally in total rushing yards behind some names you may have heard of like Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey, and Leonard Fournette.
– TE Billy Freeman follows Erwin as the second most productive member of the Spartan offense with 581 total yards of offense and 6 TDs on the season.
– WR Tim Crawley has 5 TDs in 2015 and 424 total yards.