ORLANDO -- The Georgia State football team held its final practice of the 2017 season Thursday as the Panthers wrap up their preparations for Saturday's AutoNation Cure Bowl vs. Western Kentucky. All that is left on the field is a Friday walk-through at Camping World Stadium.
Off the field, Thursday was the day for the entire team to enjoy the Universal Studios theme park that is just minutes from their hotel.
The third annual AutoNation Cure Bowl kicks off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and will televised on CBS Sports Network. Radio coverage is on the Georgia State Radio Network, including 680 the Fan and 1340 AM/103.7 FM as well as 88.5 FM in Atlanta.
Georgia State's eight-year-old program is playing in its second bowl in the last three years following a berth in the inaugural AutoNation Cure Bowl in 2015, when the Panthers fell to San Jose State.
At Thursday's AutoNation Cure Bowl press conference, first-year head coach Shawn Elliott said, "Two years ago, I don't know what their mindset was, but I think they were just happy to be in a bowl game. But now we're here to win the bowl game."
Sixth-year senior safety Bryan Williams echoed that sentiment.
"We're treating this as a business trip, and we're here to try to get a victory and bring it back to Atlanta."
In Western Kentucky, the Panthers are facing a high-powered passing attack. Senior quarterback Mike White ranks in the FBS top 10 in passing yards, passing yards per game, completion percentage and completions per game. The South Florida transfer boasts seven-consecutive contests with at least 300 yards, the longest active streak among FBS quarterbacks.
Like Elliott, WKU head coach Mike Sanford is a first-year head coach.
"I know their coaching staff, and I know they're going to be well coached," Elliott said. One particular connection is WKU quarterbacks coach Steve Spurrier Jr., who is, of course, the son on Steve Spurrier, Elliott's former boss at South Carolina.
"They've got great athleticism across the board," Elliott continued. "Their wide receivers, their quarterback, their secondary - those guys all have speed and skill, so that's what we're going to have to contend with."
Senior linebacker Trey Payne, the president of Georgia State's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, was honored as a Cure Bowl Community Soldier.