GEORGIA STATE vs. APPALACHIAN STATE
Saturday, Nov. 25, 2 p.m., “Pete” Petit Field at Georgia State Stadium
ATLANTA -- First place in the Sun Belt Conference is on the line as Georgia State (6-3, 5-1 Sun Belt) hosts Appalachian State Saturday at 2 p.m. at Georgia State Stadium. With two games to play, the Panthers and Mountaineers (6-4, 5-1) are tied with Arkansas State and Troy atop the league.
The Panthers have won three straight and six of their last seven games under first-year head coach Shawn Elliott to become bowl eligible for the second time in three years.
TV: ESPN3. Announcers are Brock Bowling and Wayne Gandy.
RADIO: Georgia State Radio Network, including Atlanta flagship 1340 AM/103.7 FM and 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.
Georgia State: Shawn Elliott
Record at GSU: 6-3 (1st year) / Career Record: 7-8 (2nd year)
Appalachian State: Scott Satterfield
Record at App: 38-22 (5th year) / Career Record: 38-22 (5th year)
NOTING GEORGIA STATE:
> Five of Georgia State’s six victories have come on the road, including wins at Georgia Southern (21-17) and Texas State (33-30) in the Panthers’ last two games before last Saturday’s open date.
> Sophomore receiver Penny Hart is the Sun Belt’s leading receiver with 65 catches for 961 yards and eight touchdowns. He is fifth in the nation in receiving yards (106.8 per game) and seventh with 7.2 receptions per game.
> Senior quarterback Conner Manning is averaging 266.4 yards passing per game (third in the Sun Belt) with 13 touchdowns. He leads the league in completion percentage at 64.2 percent.
> Senior cornerback and Senior Bowl invitee Chandon Sullivan is one of 13 national finalists at all levels for the 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments® for the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame. The trophy recognizes the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.
> Sullivan was named last week to the CoSIDA Academic All-District® team for the third straight year. He is joined on this year’s team by junior offensive lineman Gabe Mobley and senior noseguard Julien Laurent. All three are now eligible for the CoSIDA Academic All-America® team.
ROAD WARRIORS: In winning six of its last seven games, Georgia State has won five straight road contests with victories at Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, ULM, Georgia Southern and Texas State.
> GSU is the only FBS school this season to play four straight road games and the only one to win three straight road games (Charlotte, CCU, ULM) with no home games in between.
> GSU is tied for second nationally (with Oklahoma, San Diego State, Southern Miss, UCF and Central Michigan) with five road victories this season. Only Oklahoma State (6) has more.
> Due to the Memphis cancellation, the Panthers went 51 days between home games (from Aug. 31 to Oct. 21). Then, after playing two home games in six days, Georgia State had another four weeks away from home before finishing the season with two straight games at Georgia State Stadium.
ELLIOTT FACES ALMA MATER: Georgia State head coach Shawn Elliott is a 1996 graduate of Appalachian State and was a long-time assistant coach for the Mountaineers.
> Elliott spent 13 seasons on the App State staff under head coach Jerry Moore. He worked two seasons as a defensive assistant (1997-98) and two seasons as tight ends coach (1999-00) before taking over the offensive line (2001-09).
> Elliott helped lead the Mountaineers to three NCAA FCS titles (2005-07) plus two trips to the national semifinals and three appearances in the quarterfinals. App State reached the NCAA playoffs 10 times in his 13 seasons.
> Elliott, a four-year letterman as a defensive lineman, and Mountaineers head coach Scott Satterfield were teammates and roommates at App State.
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS: Sophomore Penny Hart is enjoying a record-setting season and career for the Panthers:
> The Sun Belt’s leading receiver, Hart ranks fifth in FBS in receiving yards (106.8 per game) and seventh in receptions (7.2 per game) and has eight touchdowns.
> He has accounted for 33 percent of the Panthers’ receptions (65) and 38 percent of their receiving yards (961) this season while catching eight of the team’s 14 TD passes.
> After just 24 career games, Hart has amassed 144 receptions for 2,121 yards and 17 touchdowns. He ranks third in school history in all three categories, and the two receivers in front of him, Albert Wilson and Robert Davis, are in the NFL.
> Hart ranks fourth among all active FBS receivers with career averages of 6.0 receptions and fifth with 88.4 receiving yards per game.
> The 2015 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year and 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 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).
SERIES VS. APP STATE: Appalachian State has won all three meetings in the series, including a 17-3 victory last season in Boone, N.C. and a 37-3 win in 2016 in the only previous meeting in Atlanta.
> Last season in Boone, N.C., the teams played a scoreless first half, and the Georgia State defense kept the Panthers in the within one score until an App State touchdown with three minutes left.
FOURTH-QUARTER COMEBACKS: Georgia State executed fourth-quarter comebacks in its last two victories, both on the road, at Georgia Southern and Texas State.
> Georgia State trailed 17-14 at Georgia Southern when James Traylor recovered a fumble at the Eagles’ 31-yard line with five minutes left. On 3rd-and-goal, Conner Manning hit Penny Hart in the corner of the end zone for the game-winning, 9-yard touchdown with 2:31 to play.
> After Texas State took a 30-26 lead with 8:37 left, the Panthers responded immediately with a 7-play, 75-yard drive, capped by Kyler Neal’s 22-yard touchdown run with 6:01 to play. The defense then stopped two Texas State drives, forcing a three-and-out and then stopping the Bobcats on downs with 1:37 left.