GEORGIA STATE (1-2, 0-0 Sun Belt) at COASTAL CAROLINA (1-3, 0-1 Sun Belt)
Saturday, Oct. 7, 6:30 p.m., Brooks Stadium, Conway, S.C.
TV: ESPN3. Announcers are Jeff McCarragher and Tyoka Jackson.
RADIO: Georgia State Radio Network, including Atlanta flagship 1340 AM/103.7 FM as well as WRAS 88.5 FM. Dave Cohen is in his 35th season as the play-by-play voice of Panther athletics. Brandon Leak and Harper LeBel join him from the booth with Sam Crenshaw on the sideline. Free audio stream on GeorgiaStateSports.com and GSU mobile app.
SERIES: First Meeting
THE KICKOFF: Georgia State (1-2) opens Sun Belt Conference play at league newcomer Coastal Carolina (1-3, 0-1). The Panthers, who won 28-0 at Charlotte on Sept. 23, are coming off at open date due to the Memphis cancellation and are facing the third of four straight road games. Coastal Carolina fell 51-43 at ULM in its Sun Belt opener.
> Georgia State is playing its first game in South Carolina since a 2014 trip to Clemson.
> Head coach Shawn Elliott is a native of Camden, S.C., and spent the 2010-16 seasons as an assistant coach at South Carolina, including six games as interim head coach in 2015.
> Five members of Georgia State’s 2017 freshman class are from South Carolina, but none have played yet:Kerryon Richardson, CB (West Columbia/Airport)Gunnar Kennedy, PK (Lexington HS)Roger Carter, TE (Columbia/Blythewood)Malik Sumter, C (Irmo,/Dutch Fork)Camryn Johnson, WR (Orangeburg/Calhoun County)
> Defensive line coach Skylor Magee was an assistant coach under Coastal Carolina interim head coach Jamey Chadwell at North Greenville (2009), Delta State (2012) and Charleston Southern (2013-16).
QUOTING HEAD COACH SHAWN ELLIOTT:
"Conference play is very, very important to us because it give us the opportunity to compete for a championship, and this as our first conference game certainly has our attention. We know how important it is to get off to a good start.
"I have followed Coastal Carolina from the time they first started their football program. I've seen it grow and develop.Offensively, they run a lot of stuff that requires you to be very assignment-oriented. I don't know if they've settled on a quarterback, so you see a lot of faces in that backfield, but they have the ability to put points on the board."
PLAYING A CLEAN GAME: Georgia State leads FBS in fewest penalties (10/3.3 per game) and penalty yards (81/27.0 per game).
ELLIOTT TAKES THE REINS: Formerly the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at South Carolina, Georgia State’s first-year head coach Shawn Elliott is a coaching veteran with 20 years of experience in winning programs. He spent the last seven seasons with the Gamecocks after 13 years at Appalachian State, his alma mater.
In 20 seasons as a Division I coach, Elliott has been part of 19 winnings seasons, 16 teams that reached a bowl game or the NCAA playoffs and three consecutive NCAA FCS titles from 2005-07.
PANTHERS PITCH FIRST SHUTOUT: Georgia State’s 28-0 victory over Charlotte featured the first ever shutout in school history. GSU held the 49ers 273 total yards and 3-of-15 on third downs, including five three-and-outs.
GLENN SMITH SHOWS VERSATILITY: After working primarily as a receiver, Glenn Smith moved to running back at Charlotte and rushed for 90 yards and two touchdowns on a school-record 31 carries. He also caught four passes for 39 yards to total 129 all-purpose yards in the victory.
Smith ranks third in GSU history with 2,241 career all-purpose yards, including 599 yards rushing, 796 yards receiving on 71 catches and 846 yards on 39 kickoff returns. He is the first GSU player to reach 500 yards in both rushing and receiving yards.
MAKING HISTORY: Safety Bryan Williams tied the Georgia State record by grabbing two interceptions, both in the end zone, in the Panthers’ 28-0 shutout at Charlotte.
Williams also made history this season as the first Panther to play a sixth season. The Miami, Fla., native began his GSU career in 2012 under head coach Bill Curry. He was granted a sixth season of eligibility after missing almost two full seasons (2013 and 2014) with a back injury. Williams’ older brother, Arthur, was a tight end for the Panthers in their first two seasons (2010-11), meaning that Georgia State has never played a football game without one of the Williams brothers on the roster.
MOBLEY ON THE MOVE: After making 24 career starts at center, junior Gabe Mobley moved to right guard against Penn State (Game 2) following a last-minute injury and has been starting there since. With Mobley’s move, junior Jamal Paxton has taken over as the starting center.
If anyone can learn a new position quickly, it should be Mobley, who earned his degree in just three years and is now pursuing a law degree.
BACK WHERE HE BELONGS: Sophomore receiver Penny Hart, who tied his own school record with 11 receptions for 141 yards, including a 32-yard TD, at Charlotte, leads the Sun Belt in receptions (7.7 pg) and is fourth in yards (77.7 pg).
The 2015 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American, Hart also led the league in 2015 with 5.5 receptions and 84.5 receiving yards per game. Then he played sparingly in just two games before his 2016 season was ended by a broken foot.
FRESHMEN MAKE IMPACT: Six true freshmen are making contributions for the Panthers:WR Tamir Jones (5 receptions, 38 yards)NG Dontae Wilson (6 tackle, 2 sacks, 1 FF)DE Hardrick Willis (4 tackles, 1TFL)LB Victor Heyward (7 tackles, special teams standout)LB Trajan Stephens-McQueen (6 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 2 PB)OG Pat Bartlett (started opener at right guard, then was injured)
LINEMAN’S DREAM: The win at Charlotte featured one of the craziest plays in Georgia State history when Brandon Wright’s 25-yard field goal attempt was tipped at the line of scrimmage. A Charlotte player attempted to field the ball in the end zone but fumbled it, and GSU offensive lineman Shamarious Gilmore recovered it in the end zone for the touchdown. The redshirt freshman guard is the first Panther lineman to score a touchdown.