GEORGIA STATE (0-2) at CHARLOTTE (0-3)
Saturday, Sept. 23, 6 p.m., WCCB-TV / CUSA.tv, Jerry Richardson Stadium, Charlotte,N.C.
TV: WCCB-TV Charlotte and Peachtree TV in Atlanta. On-line at CUSA.tv (subscription). Announcers are Bobby Rosinski, Damione Lewis, Libby Weihsmann.
RADIO: Georgia State Radio Network, including Atlanta flagship 1340 AM/103.7 FM as well as 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.
THE KICKOFF: Georgia State (0-2) faces its second straight road game as the Panthers play at Charlotte (0-3) Saturday at 6 p.m.
"We're both looking for a win, so you've got two very hungry, ticked-off football teams that are trying to find a way to win," head coach Shawn Elliott said. "Charlotte is very well-balanced offensively, they've got a sound defensive scheme, and they're very well-coached."
Charlotte fell 35-31 to North Carolina A&T Saturday, and the Panthers are coming off a 56-0 loss at No. 5 Penn State, but Elliott did see some positives from his football team.
"You look at that score and it was a lot to a little, but we found out a lot about our football team," Elliott said. "We had an open week, and in that week of preparation, we really developed our run mindset. Our backs ran exceptionally hard, and our offensive line played about as well as they could up front.
"Obviously the negatives were some of the big plays we gave up and the cheap points off turnovers. You can't turn the ball over four or five times a game and expect to have a chance to win."
MORE ON THE CHARLOTTE GAME:
* Georgia State and Charlotte first met in the 2015 season opener, when the 49ers earned a 23-20 victory at the Georgia Dome. Led by safety Bobby Baker, the Georgia State defense held Charlotte to just one offensive touchdown, forced five turnovers and had four sacks, but the Panthers struggled on offense and hurt themselves with three turnovers. Baker, had two interceptions and three fumble recoveries in his first game for the Panthers. GSU made things interesting late in the game when freshman Penny Hart hauled in a 53-yard TD to bring the Panthers to within three, but GSU was not able to recover the onsides kick.
* The game will be a homecoming for four GSU Panthers who hail from the Charlotte area:
TE Emiere Scaife (Mallard Creek)
CB Cedric Stone (Independence)
WR Jonathan Ifedi (Vance)
ILB Trajan Stephens-McQueen (West Mecklenburg)
* The two schools, both relative newcomers to football, have one former player in common. Mark Hogan was the first scholarship player in GSU history when he enrolled in January 2009. He was a three-year starter at linebacker from 2010-12 and also lettered two years in baseball. The Charlotte native then finished his career with the 49ers, playing in their inaugural season of 2013.
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.
MEMPHIS CANCELS GAME AT GSU: Georgia State was scheduled to host Memphis on Sept. 30, but the game was cancelled after Memphis and the American Athletic Conference elected to reschedule the Tigers game against UCF that was postponed by Hurricane Irma. With the cancellation, Georgia State must now play four straight road games, and the Panthers will go 50 days between home games.
TAZ HITS CENTURY MARK: Running back Taz Bateman rushed for a career-high 100 yards at No. 5 Penn State. He also set the school record with 29 carries in the game.
Bateman, who missed the entire 2016 season with a knee injury, is averaging 63.5 yards rushing and 46.5 yards receiving per game. He ranks second in the Sun Belt with 120 all-purpose yards per game.
WELCOME BACK PENNY: Penny Hart, the 2015 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American, played sparingly in just two games before his 2016 season was ended by a broken foot. As a rookie in 2015, Hart LED IN THE SUN BELT with 5.5 receptions and 84.5 receiving yards per game, and he set the Sun Belt freshman record for receiving yards (1,099).
This season, Hart is the Panthers’ leading receiver with 12 catches for 92 yards.
CHERIDOR EYES RECORD: With his next tackle behind the line of scrimmage, DE Mackendy Cheridor will break the Georgia State career record for tackles for loss. Cheridor currently has 22 TFL, tied with Joseph Peterson (2012-15) for the GSU record.