College Football Preview: The 2015 Georgia State Panthers
Georgia State Panthers Preview
2014 Record: 1-11
The Georgia State Panthers look to become a factor in the Sun Belt with an experienced team taking the field in 2015.
Overview: The pass first Georgia State Panthers were hurt by injuries and poor play in 2014 but they were surprisingly competitive at times. The team will once again throw the ball but need more from the running game and the defense to improve in the win column.
USA TODAY Sports
Offense: The Panthers were a pass first squad with very little balance and were effective. Nick Arbuckle is back after completing 60.4% of his throws for 3,283 yards although 23 TD’s and 17 INT’s wasn’t a good ratio. The Panthers get back three of the top four in Robert Davis (50-732), Donovan Harden (60-885) and Joel Ruiz (39-478) so Arbuckle should flourish. Leading rusher Marcus Caffey (94-354) averaged less then four yards per touch and fumbled four times as the rushing attack seemed like an afterthought most of the time. Caffey might move to defense so I’ll wait and see who is in the backfield. The o-Line lost their two most experienced player and get back seven players with 41 career starts.
Defense: The good news for Georgia State is the defense is oozing with experience. The bad news is this unit allowed over 40 points per game in 2014 and in saying that, does experience matter? The top seven lineman are back with one sack between and a combined 8.5 TFL. Five linebackers return that played in at least ten games with Joseph Peterson leading the team with 79.5 stops with three sacks and an interception. The secondary has everybody back and is easily the strength of the defense. Safety Tarris Batiste recorded 72 tackles with 5.5 TFL with a sack and looking at the 13 returning players I think playing time is the biggest issue. GSU has UAB players coming in so they have to be an improvement throughout the defense so they have to be an improvement.
Special Teams: Wil Lutz will handle all kicking duties and looks like a solid place kicker after going 7-8 in 2014. Glenn Smith and Donovan Harden are back to handle kick and punt returns respectively but the Panthers return game needs an upgrade.
Outlook: The Panthers did have some moments where they were surprisingly good but there were a ton of injuries and enough poor play for a 1-11 record. UAB transfers will help and the passing attack will be solid but I don’t think there will be more improvement then another win or two but it’s a step in the right direction.