ATLANTA--The Georgia State football team welcomes one of the nation's top FCS teams to the Georgia Dome as Colonial Athletic Association foe and 17th/14th-ranked New Hampshire visits for a 3:30 p.m. game Saturday.
The Panthers (0-5) are seeking their first victory of the season as they entertain the high-powered Wildcats (3-2, 1-1 CAA), who are ranked No. 17 in the FCS Coaches Poll and No. 14 by the Sports Network.
"New Hampshire is another outstanding football team," said GSU head coach Bill Curry at his weekly press conference. "They have remarkable offensive ingenuity and versatility."
New Hampshire has been one of the most consistent teams among the many outstanding FCS programs in the CAA. Since 2004, the Wildcats have amassed more wins than any other conference team, and they have been nationally-ranked for 118 consecutive weeks, the longest active streak in the nation.
UNH comes to Atlanta with the reigning CAA Offensive Player of the Week in quarterback Andy Vailas and Defensive Player of the Week in cornerback Dontra Peters after its 35-14 win over previously eighth-ranked Delaware. The Wildcats also boast linebacker Matt Evans, the 2011 Buck Buchanan Award winner as the top defensive player in the FCS ranks.
The Wildcats are averaging more than 36 points per game, including 61 points in their epic 64-61 loss to Old Dominion two weeks ago. UNH features a balanced attack that produces almost equally on the ground (244.8 ypg) and through the air (238.8 ypg).
While praising New Hampshire, Curry looks for his own team to put finally together a complete performance.
"Nobody enjoys going through difficult times, especially when so much of what we do is self-inflicted, but you have two choices: give up, wallow around and feel sorry for yourself or get up every morning and find solutions and work toward getting your team to perform," he said. "Our job is to correct, encourage and not accept less than our best performance.
"I can tell you that we if correct the turnover issue, the nagging penalties, and our predisposition to self-destruct at the very worst times, meaning after momentum changers, than we can be a good football team. It sounds like a broken record, but it's just a fact."
Curry noted that while the turnovers are completely unacceptable, redshirt freshman Ronnie Bell showed positive signs in his starting debut against William and Mary.
"He has a marvelous presence in the pocket and the ability to move in the pocket," said Curry. "He does secure the ball well, but he just simply cannot give up the ball. He's got to learn to throw the ball away, but he has excellent presence."
In particular, Bell showed play-making ability on third down, converting eight times with three runs and five pass completions. But the Panthers were undone by seven turnovers, including four interceptions and three fumbles.
"You study a team like New Hampshire and their turnover ratio is plus seven," Curry noted. "Well you've got to be in the plus column, and we haven't done that at all this year."
Radio coverage for Saturday's game is available on Newstalk 1160 AM and WMLB 1690 AM.