GSU vs. Western Michigan Preview
By: Raynard Churchwell
The Georgia State Panthers are headed to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to face the Western Michigan Broncos in a fierce non-conference battle. Last year, the Broncos tamed the Panthers with ease and won by a score of 34-15. However, the Panthers look to exact revenge as they are riding off plenty of momentum as they arrive with an undefeated record. As for Western Michigan, they will look to bounce back after a disappointing loss against Michigan State.
Tale of the Tape
Georgia State – The Panther offense is the powerhouse and catalyst for the team’s success. Averaging 43 points per game this season, Georgia State’s offense currently ranks 23rd out of 130 teams. Quarterback Dan Ellington has been the ultimate dual-threat for the Panthers leading the team with 503 passing yards and tying for the lead in rushing yards with 179. He also leads the team with eight touchdowns. Senior running back TraMartin has been the bell cow for the Panthers this season. He is currently tied for the lead in rushing yards for the Panthers this season while averaging nearly five yards per carry. Wide Receiver Cornelius McCoy has been making a name for himself this season averaging 14 yards per catch. The sophomore could not be stopped last week against Furman as he snagged 10 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. They will look to continue their dominance against a Western Michigan defense that surrendered 58 points last week. As for the defense, they look to have adopted a “bend but don’t break” attitude. Although the Panthers have given up a total of 72 points in the first two weeks, they have made key stops when needed. The Panthers will look to their strong group of linebackers to control the pace of the Broncos’ offense. All four starting linebackers are top-7 in tackles with three in the top-4. The group is the X-factor of the team and looks to wreak havoc every time they hit the field. Junior Terry Stephens-McQueen leads the team with 16 total tackles.
Western Michigan – The Broncos’ offense has shown flashes of greatness but has been inconsistent so far this season. After scoring 48 points on Monmouth in Week 1, the Broncos struggled against the sturdy Michigan State defense and only scored 17 points. Quarterback Jon Wassink is looking to continue to build on a great season. He has already totaled 620 passing yards in two games and is completing almost 70 percent of his passes. The Broncos have a litany of weapons on offense. Running Back Levante Bellamy has put up good numbers and is looking to have a breakout performance. The Broncos are loaded at the pass-catcher positions. Redshirt Freshman Deshon Bussell has already surpassed 150 yards in the first two games. Senior tight end Giovanni Ricci leads the team with 11 receptions and has eclipsed 150 yards in the first two games as well. No matter who’s in the game, this offense will run like a well-oiled machine and score. They have multiple weapons on offense and need to use them. Just like the offense, the defense of the Broncos has been up and down so far. After locking down Monmouth in Week 1, they were completely outmatched against Michigan State. All eyes will be on do-it-all safety Justin Tranquil. Tranquil currently leads the Broncos with 19 tackles and will have to have a big game in order for the Broncos to win.
One key matchup will be Broncos’ quarterback Jon Wassink vs. Georgia State’s Front 7. Wassink has shown that he can carve up a defense if he has enough time to get settled. He is averaging 310 yards per game and has enough talented pass-catchers to make it a long day for Georgia State. The Panthers must be able to pressure him consistently in order to throw him off his passing rhythm.
Another key matchup will be Georgia State’s offensive line vs. Western Michigan’s defensive line. It is no secret that Georgia State wants to run the ball first. They will need a constant push from their O-line to create running lanes for Ellington and Martin. The Broncos D-line will have to push the Panthers off their blocks in order to clog running lanes and to contain Ellington when he starts to scramble.
I expect nothing short of a high scoring game. Both teams have shown that they have enough talent on offense to score at will. In the end, I feel that Georgia State will make enough stops to edge out the Broncos.
SCORE: Georgia State 40 Western Michigan 30
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