ATLANTA--Georgia State ventures to New England for the first time ever as the Panthers play at Colonial Athletic Association foe Rhode Island Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest at Meade Stadium.
Both teams are in search of their first victory of the season. Georgia State fell to 0-6 with last Saturday's 44-21 loss to No. 17/14 New Hampshire. The Rams are 0-5 after falling to Brown, 17-7.
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.
GSU Radio Network, including Atlanta flagship WCFO-AM Newstalk 1160 and WMLB-AM 1690. Announcers are Dave Cohen (play-by-play), Harper LeBel (analyst), and Sam Crenshaw (sideline).
WILSON STRETCHES THE FIELD
Junior wide receiver Albert Wilson caught touchdown passes of 54 and 47 yards against New Hampshire, giving him 13 career TD catches, including seven of 40 yards or more.
Earlier this season, Wilson caught an 84-yard touchdown pass from Ben McLane on the Panthers' third snap against UTSA for the longest play from scrimmage in Georgia State history.
Wilson, 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).
Including the kickoff return, Wilson's 14 career touchdowns have covered an average of 49.1 yards. He averages 18.8 yards for his 83 career receptions.
He also had non-scoring receptions of 51 yards vs. Campbell in 2010, 55 and 54 yards vs. Jacksonville State in 2011 and 50 yards vs. St. Francis in 2011, giving him nine receptions of 50 yards or longer in his career, five of them for touchdowns.
ALBERT WILSON'S CAREER TOUCHDOWNS:
97 Kickoff Return vs. Alabama, 2010
84 Reception (Ben McLane) vs. UTSA, 2012
78 Reception (Kelton Hill) vs. South Alabama, 2011
64 Reception (Kelton Hill) vs. South Alabama, 2011
54 Reception (Kelton Hill) vs. UTSA, 2011
54 Reception (Ronnie Bell) vs. New Hampshire, 2012
48 Reception (Bo Schlechter) vs. Clark Atlanta, 2011
47 Reception (Ben McLane) vs. New Hampshire, 2012
33 Reception (Kelton Hill) vs. West Alabama, 2011
30 Reception (Bo Schlechter) vs. Clark Atlanta, 2011
29 Reception (Drew Little) vs. Savannah State, 2010
28 Reception (Drew Little) vs. Savannah State, 2010
25 Reception (Ronnie Bell) vs. UTSA, 2012
16 Reception (Ben McLane) vs. Richmond, 2012
HUBBARD IN TOP THREE IN FCS
Georgia State punter Matt Hubbard owns the third-best punting average in FCS, averaging 46.29 yards per kick. Fifteen of his 28 punts have travelled 50 yards or more, including his amazing 80-yard boot against South Carolina State.
The Panthers net punting average of 41.52 is the second-best mark in FCS.
Because of GSU's reclassification to the Football Bowl Subdivision, Hubbard and the Panthers do not qualify for NCAA rankings in FBS or FCS. The top individual averages in FCS belongs to Tony Epperson of Weber State at 48.00 and Bobby Wenzig of Alabama State at 46.88, while the top net punting average is Hampton at 41.69.
Hubbard's career average stands at 43.6.
Senior running back Donald Russell ranks third in the CAA in rushing at 90.3 yards per game. He averages 5.8 yards per carry.
Russell has topped 100 yards in three of the Panthers six games this season. Most recently, he had 107 yards rushing and four catches against William and Mary. That followed 119 yards rushing and five receptions for 51 yards vs. Richmond for a career-high 170 all-purpose yards.
Russell opened his senior season by rushing for 120 yards on just 12 carries against South Carolina State. 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 is the Panthers' career rushing leader with 1,207 yards and 10 touchdowns. 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.
Senior tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi (pronounced oh-BOY-ee) turned in the most productive game of his career against New Hampshire. He caught four passes for 76 yards against the Wildcats, both career highs, highlighted by a 26-yard touchdown pass from Ben McLane.
QUARTERBACK CAROUSEL CONTINUES
Many of Georgia State's struggles on offense can be traced to lack of stability and consistency at the quarterback position. In two plus seasons, the Panthers have started five different quarterbacks, including two this season.
Both starters this season are redshirt freshmen in Ben McLane and Ronnie Bell.
McLane, from Snellville, Ga., and Brookwood High School, started GSU's first four games before giving way to Bell in game five. Bell, from Fayetteville, Ga., and Sandy Creek High, showed positive signs in his first start, completing 13 of 26 passes for 157 yards against William and Mary and converting eight third downs with passes or runs. But after Bell struggled in the first half against New Hampshire, McLane took over for the second half and completed 10 of 19 passes for 169 and two touchdown passes.
WHAT IS THIS STUFF?
Saturday's game at Rhode Island will mark just the fourth game in Georgia State history to be played on natural grass.
The Panthers first three games on natural grass have been GSU's three FBS games: at Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2010, at Houston's Robertson Stadium in 2011 and at Tennessee's Neyland Stadium earlier this season. The game at Tennessee was also the first time the Panthers played a game in the rain.
FELDER HONORED IN THE CLASSROOM
Senior outside linebacker Akeen Felder is one of 147 student-athletes who have been named as candidates for the 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, and semifinalists for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the top football scholar-athlete in the nation.
A native of Perry, Ga., Felder earned his degree in sociology in 2012 and is now working a minor in hospitality management. He has been named to the Dean's List and Athletic Director's Honor Roll and serves on the GSU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. On the field, Felder has played in every game in GSU history and served as the Panthers' special teams captain in 2011.
WOODARD MANS THE MIDDLE
Perhaps the most improved player on the Georgia State defense is noseguard Terrance Woodard. The junior from Ocilla, Ga., is the Panthers' leading tackler with 41. He also has two tackles for loss, one sack, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery at Tennessee.
RUNNING WITH PURPOSE
Junior wide receiver Albert Wilson leads the CAA in all-purpose yards, averaging 130.7 yards per game.
Wilson is the Panthers' leading receiver with 27 catches for 491 yards and five touchdowns. He also averages 9.0 yards on punt returns and 21.1 yards on kickoff returns.
Running back Donald Russell is sixth in the league with 111.2 all-purpose yards per game. He is Georgia State's top rusher (542 yards) and second-leading receiver (14 catches for 125 yards).
Wilson is GSU's career leader with 2,926 all-purpose yards (117.0 per game), while Russell is second at 1,373 yards.