ORLANDO -- "There is no better bowl destination than Orlando," Georgia State head coach Shawn Elliott has said many times in the last week, and Tuesday he and his Panthers arrived in sunny Florida for Saturday's AutoNation Cure Bowl. Georgia State (6-5, 5-3 Sun Belt) takes on Western Kentucky (6-6, 4-4 CUSA) Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Camping World Stadium.
The Panthers are playing in the AutoNation Cure Bowl for the second time in three seasons after falling to San Jose State in 2015 in the first bowl appearance in school history. For Elliott, Georgia State's first-year head coach, this marks his third trip to an Orlando bowl game, following two victories in the Capital One Bowl while he was an assistant coach at South Carolina.
After holding their final workout in Atlanta Tuesday morning, the team flew to Orlando and arrived at the Loews Portofino Bay resort at approximately 5 p.m., leaving behind chilly weather in Atlanta for 70 degrees and sunshine.
On Wednesday, the team will practice at nearby Dr. Phillips High School in the morning, with an Orlando Magic game on tap for the evening.
"This program is just in its eighth year, and we are in a bowl for the second time and we have the opportunity to win our first bowl," Elliott said. "Our guys are exteremly proud to be representing Georgia State, trying to set a standard and get our first bowl win ever."
Sophomore receiver Penny Hart, who also represents Georgia State on the All-Sun Belt first team, echoed his coach. "We feel blessed to have the opportunity to make history for this program," he said.