GAME 1: GEORGIA STATE AT TENNESSEE
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 3:30 p.m. | Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.
TV: ESPNU. Announcers are Clay Matvick, Ryan Leaf and Stormy Buonantony. GSU is 2-5 on ESPNU.
RADIO: The home for Georgia State football is Atlanta’s 1380 WOAK-AM. Dave Cohen is in his 37th season as the play-by-play voice of Panther athletics. Harper LeBel joins him from the booth with Sam Crenshaw on the sideline. Free audio stream on GeorgiaStateSports.com and GSU mobile app.
Georgia State: 2-10, 1-7 Sun Belt
Tennessee: 5-7, 2-6 SEC
SERIES: Tennessee leads 1-0
LAST MEETING: Tennessee 51, Georgia State 13, Sept. 8, 2012, at Knoxville, Tenn.
GSU HEAD COACH SHAWN ELLIOTT
Record at GSU: 9-15 (3rd year) / Career Record: 10-20 (4th year)
> Georgia State is playing at Tennessee for the second time. In 2012, the Panthers, then an FCS program, fell 51-13 at Neyland Stadium. GSU is 0-3 vs. the SEC, including two games at Alabama.
> As college football celebrates its 150th anniversary, Georgia State is playing its 10th season of football. The Panther program began play in 2010 under head coach Bill Curry and moved to full FBS membership in 2014.
> For the first time in its 10-year history, Georgia State is opening the season away from home and on a Saturday.
> Headlining the offensive returnees are a trio of All-Sun Belt Conference honorees in senior quarterback Dan Ellington and veteran offensive linemen Hunter Atkinson at left tackle and Shamarious Gilmore at left guard. Top defenders include senior defensive end Terry Thomas, an Sun Belt honoree as well as a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, and senior linebacker Ed Curney, who led the team with 81 tackles.
> The Panthers look to improve upon last year’s 2-10 record, when freshmen made a total of 64 starts, including 31 by true freshmen and 33 by redshirt freshmen.
SEASON OPENERS: Georgia State is 4-5 in season openers, including last year’s 24-20 victory over Kennesaw State on Dan Ellington’s 8-yard touchdown pass with 41 seconds left.
The Panthers’ previous nine season openers have all been at home, and none have been on a Saturday. GSU has played four Thursday openers, four Friday openers, and one Wednesday opener.
PANTHERS VS. POWER FIVE: The game at Tennessee is Georgia State’s 11th game against opponents from the Power Five, including games against ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac 12 foes. In their first nine years, the Panthers played at Alabama twice along with trips to Tennessee, West Virginia, Clemson, Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, Penn State, and NC State.
> GSU has future games scheduled vs. Alabama (2020), Auburn (2021), South Carolina (2022), North Carolina (home-and-home, 2021-22), Vanderbilt (home-and-home, 2024-25) and LSU (2023).
> Georgia State has never beaten a Power Five team, but the Panthers had a close call in 2016 at No. 9 Wisconsin. Kyler Neal’s 9-yard touchdown run gave GSU a 17-13 lead with 11:36 to play before the Badgers scored the final 10 points to win 23-17.
ELLIOTT VS. THE VOLS: Head coach Shawn Elliott spent seven years on the staff at South Carolina (2010-16) and faced Tennessee each year. South Carolina went 4-3 against the Volunteers, including a 2-1 mark at Neyland Stadium.
That includes the 2015 season, when Elliott served as South Carolina’s interim head coach for the final six games. The Gamecocks fell 27-24 in Knoxville, but South Carolina was seeking a game-tying or game-winning score when Jerell Adams caught a pass inside the Tennessee 35 and started spinning away from defenders as he headed into the red zone. Adams was fighting for extra yardage when the ball was knocked out of his left arm, and Tennessee’s Jalen Reeves-Maybin recovered at the UT 13.