ATLANTA--Georgia State travels to Williamsburg, Va., to take on Colonial Athletic Association foe William and Mary Saturday at 7 p.m. in a regionally televised contest at Zable Stadium.
With GSU's reclassification to the Football Bowl Subdivision and move to the Sun Belt Conference in 2013, this fall marks the Panthers' first and only season of CAA Football, but GSU does not count in the CAA standings.
Both teams are seeking their first victory of the season. Georgia State fell to 0-4 with Saturday's 35-14 loss to Richmond, while William and Mary is also 0-4 (0-2 CAA) after falling to Delaware, 51-21.
The two head coaches in the game have a combined total of more than 50 years of head coaching experience in college football with Georgia State's Bill Curry in his 20th season as a college head coach at Georgia Tech, Alabama, Kentucky and now Georgia State, and Jimmye Laycock in his 33rd year, all at William and Mary.
Regionally televised on Comcast Sportsnet Regional, including CSS in Atlanta. Announcers are Joe Beninati (play-by-play), Antonio Freeman (analyst) and Brian Jackson (sideline). This is Georgia State's third televised game of the season.
GSU Radio Network, including Atlanta flagship WCFO-AM Newstalk 1160 and WMLB-AM 1690, as well as WGST AM 640 and FM 92.3. Announcers are Dave Cohen (play-by-play), Harper LeBel (analyst), and Sam Crenshaw (sideline).
HUBBARD HAS NATION'S SECOND-BEST PUNTING AVERAGE
Georgia State punter Matt Hubbard owns the second-best punting average in Division I college football, averaging 48.72 yards per kick. Ten of his 18 punts have travelled 50 yards or more, including his amazing 80-yard boot against South Carolina State.
Because of Georgia State's reclassification to the Football Bowl Subdivision, Hubbard does not qualify for NCAA rankings in FBS or FCS, but his average would lead FCS and rank second in FBS. The top average in FCS belongs to Tony Epperson of Weber State at 47.66, while Richie Leone of Houston leads FBS at 48.79, just ahead of Hubbard.
Running back Donald Russell recorded his second 100-yard rushing effort this season and the fourth of his career with 119 yards on 24 carries against Richmond. He added five receptions for 51 yards for a total of 170 all-purpose yards.
The senior from West Palm Beach, Fla., is third in the CAA with 95.8 yards per game. He averages 6.3 yards per carry.
Russell opened his senior season by rushing for 120 yards on just 12 carries against South Carolina State. Last season, the transfer from Kentucky became the first 100-yard rusher in school history when he gained 136 yards against South Alabama. He added a career-high 146 yards in the 2011 finale against Campbell.
Against SCSU, Russell raced 52 yards on his first carry of the season, and he matched that with a 52-yard run against Richmond. Those are his longest runs for the Panthers but not the longest of his career; he had a 79-yard scamper as a freshman at Kentucky in 2009.
Russell, the Panthers' career rushing leader with 1,048 yards and 10 touchdowns, added 68 yards rushing and 33 yards receiving at Tennessee, and 76 yards on just 10 carries against UTSA.
WILSON STRETCHES THE FIELD
The highlight of Georgia State's game against UTSA was the 84-yard touchdown pass from Ben McLane to Albert Wilson on the Panthers' third snap for the longest play from scrimmage in Georgia State history.
Wilson, the junior from Port St. Lucie, Fla., has a hand in the three longest plays from scrimmage in GSU history with touchdown catches covering 78 and 64 yards last season against South Alabama. Add his 97-yard kickoff return against Alabama in 2010, and he has been involved in four of the five longest plays in Panther annals (Darren McCray had a 96-yard kickoff return vs. Campbell in 2010).
Wilson's 12 career touchdowns have covered an average of 48.8 yards.
HEY JOE - TRUE FROSH PETERSON IS PANTHERS' TOP TACKLER
Georgia State's leading tackler is true freshman linebacker Joseph Peterson.
Peterson, from Dothan, Ala., earned a starting berth at middle linebacker and is Georgia State's s leading tackler with 28 hits (seven tackles per game). In his debut against South Carolina State, he was the Panthers' second-leading tackler with eight hits, including a tackle for loss. After that performance, he served as a game captain for the Panthers' game at Tennessee and made nine tackles against the Vols. He added 10 tackles against UTSA.
As a senior at Dothan High, Peterson was a first-team all-state in Class 6A by the Alabama Sportswriters Association. He made 112 tackles, including eight tackles for loss and four sacks. On offense, he ran for 669 yards and 12 touchdowns.
SIX TRUE FRESHMEN SEE ACTION
Six true freshmen have seen action for the Panthers this season, including four on defense, one receiver/return specialist and one kicker.
Most prominent is inside linebacker Joseph Peterson, the Panthers' leading tackler with 28.
Two other freshmen are playing on the defensive line in tackle Joe Lockley of Portal, Ga., and defensive end Melvin King of Hinesville, Ga. Lockley, an honorable mention all-state selection at tiny Portal High, is perhaps the strongest player on the team, and against Tennessee, he came up with an interception on a tipped ball. Outside linebacker Bryan Williams, the younger brother of former GSU tight end Arthur "Bully" Williams, saw his first action against Richmond.
Avery Sweeting of Brunswick, Ga., is beginning to earn playing time as a wide receiver and kickoff returner.
Freshman kicker Wil Lutz, a walk-on from Newnan, Ga., is handling kickoffs for the Panthers.
RUNNING WITH PURPOSE
Versatile receiver Albert Wilson is averaging 134.5 all-purpose yards per game.
The junior from Port St. Lucie, Fla., is the Panthers' leading receiver with 21 catches for 325 yards (81.2 yards per game) and three touchdowns. He also averages 10.0 yards on punt returns and 20.8 yards on kickoff returns.
Wilson is GSU's career leader with 2,680 all-purpose yards (116.5 ypg).
26 AND COUNTING
Junior right tackle Grant King, who entered the season as the only returning starter on Georgia State's offensive line, is also the only current player who has started all 26 games in the Panthers' brief history. The Columbia, S.C., native was a member of GSU's first recruiting class in 2009.
Just two other Panthers have played in all 26 games: linebackers Akeen Felder and Robert Ferguson.