Where: Georgia Dome in Atlanta
Line: JSU by 10.
Radio: 91.9 FM (Jacksonville), 97.9 FM (Oxford)
1. Beating big brother: The Gamecocks can help push the FCS into record territory if they beat Georgia State today. The FCS has won 13 games over its FBS brothers this season, tying a record set in 2000. JSU is 4-16 playing up, but beat Ole Miss in 2010. Georgia State coach Trent Miles said just because his team is in the Sun Belt doesn’t mean it’s an FBS level competitor or has FBS level players.
2. Start quickly, turn out lights late: We know, you’ve heard this before, but the Gamecocks still haven’t done either. They did jump out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead last week against North Alabama, but the touchdown came on a gadget play and they needed five field goals and double overtime to win. And they haven’t closed the door in the fourth quarter with a lot of points either, getting outscored last week 13-5. If JSU wants to win easy, it has to start doing both.
3. Put the O in offense: Neither team has established any consistency with the ball this year. The Gamecocks ran for a ton of yards against Jacksonville University, but that was because the Dolphins couldn’t stop them on the ground. They’ve really been up and down. It has been an opportunistic defense that has gotten them through it. The Georgia State coaches are looking for the Panthers to start executing their system better.
4. Flag Day is in June: If one element stifled the efficiency of JSU’s offense last week — and prolonged the time of the game — it was the abundance of penalties. The Gamecocks were hit with a Division I-era school-record 17 of the 30 penalties called in the UNA game and about half were holdings or false starts against the offense. A little more discipline among the players and a more disciplined officiating crew will cut down on that considerably. A sharp-eyed official did overturn a potential Georgia State game-tying touchdown in overtime the last time the teams played in the Georgia Dome, preserving a JSU win.
Georgia State receiver Albert Wilson vs. JSU secondary: The Panthers averaged more than 330 yards passing in their first two games against FCS opponents, but were more effective on the ground against West Virginia. Wilson, the leading receiver in GSU history, has 15 catches for 299 yards and three touchdowns this year while his 19.4-yard career per catch average is best among all active FBS players. He’s also fourth among active players with 4,479 all-purpose yards. West Virginia rolled coverages his way and held him without a catch. It’ll be good practice for next week when the Gamecocks face Murray State All-America receiver and return specialist Walter Powell.
If you look at things critically, the Gamecocks are fortunate to be 3-0 at this point. They’ll be 4-0 going into their conference schedule. ... Jacksonville State 27, Georgia State 17