ATLANTA--With both teams seeking their first victory of the season, Georgia State (0-6) travels to Colonial Athletic Association foe Rhode Island (0-5) Saturday for a 1 p.m. game at Meade Stadium.
Both teams are going to be hungry for a win, and this is going to be a hard fought, physical football game," said Georgia State head coach Bill Curry at his weekly press conference. "Both teams are very anxious, but we have to get to where game time is fun for us.
"What our team has learned the hard way is that it is not good enough to practice well," Curry continued. "You don't get a single first down, or a point or a tackle for doing that. You have to get it to the field. That's our job. What we do understand is that practicing well gives us a chance. If we were out there wallowing around, it would be hopeless. But we're not going to let that happen. We work every day and improve every day. We are preparing to play well. It needs to happen this Saturday."
Curry said that Rhode Island definitely does not look like a winless team on film.
"Rhode Island is surprising," he said. "They're another team that is struggling right now. They haven't scored much and have given up a fair amount of points. From that, you think you have an idea of how they will look on video, but they don't look like that. They are a CAA team. They run to the ball, hustle, get off blocks, they give effort and are physically tough. You are reminded that as recently as 2010, Joe Trainer was the CAA Coach of the Year.
In his scouting report on the Rams' personnel, Curry noted, "Bob Bentsen is a good quarterback. He's their leading rusher, and he is completing 59 percent of his passes. When a guy can run and throw with that accuracy, then he is a threat to have a big day on offense. They have not had a big day on offense, but they are certainly capable of it.
"I think that their running back Assani Mudimbi is a terrific player," Curry continued. "He is a strong runner with a good burst and reminds me a little of [GSU running back] Donald [Russell]. He'll be tough to tackle, but we've got to tackle better. Brandon Johnson-Farrell is a pretty good kick returner, but he is a better wide receiver. He has incredible balance and is tough to get on the ground."
Curry said that the Panthers' starting quarterback will be a game-time decision between Ronnie Bell and Ben McLane, both redshirt freshmen. McLane started GSU's first four games, then gave way to Bell the last two contests before replacing Bell in the second half of Saturday's loss to New Hampshire. Against the Wildcats, McLane had his most productive half of football, completing 10 of 19 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, Bell has completed 28 of 57 passes for 417 yards and two touchdowns, while McLane is 57-for-115 for 665 yards and four TDs.
The constants for Georgia State have been running back Donald Russell and wide receiver Albert Wilson.
Russell, the senior transfer, ranks third in the CAA in rushing at 90.3 yards per game, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. The Panthers' career rushing leader (1,207 yards) has topped 100 yards in three of GSU's six games this season.
Wilson leads the CAA in all-purpose yards with 130.7 per game, including 81.8 receiving yards an outing. The junior from Port St. Lucie, Fla., had touchdown catches of 54 and 47 yards against New Hampshire, giving him a GSU-record 13 career scoring passes.
Radio coverage for Saturday's game is available on the GSU Radio Network, including Atlanta flagship Newstalk 1160 AM.