Our series of Washington opponent previews continues today with a look at Georgia State, whom the Huskies will host in Week 4. This is the final game of what is perceived to be a pretty easy early slate, one that should produce a 4-0 record. Stanford comes to Seattle in Week 5.
GEORGIA STATE AT WASHINGTON, Saturday, Sept. 20 (Kickoff time TBA)
STADIUM: Another home game at Husky Stadium, obviously, but in case you were curious, Georgia State plays its home games at the Georgia Dome. Its listed capacity for GSU games is 28,155.
GEORGIA STATE LOCATION: Atlanta (Population 443,775)
2013 RECORD: 0-12 (and, obviously, 0-7 in Sun Belt play). It was Georgia State’s fourth season with a football program, its first at the FBS level and first in the Sun Belt. Their final season at the FCS level didn’t go so well, either, as the Panthers finished 1-10 in 2012. They will be on a 16-game losing streak when they enter their 2014 season opener against Abilene Christian.
COACH: Trent Miles (0-12 in one season at Georgia State; 20-48 in six seasons overall)
KEY RETURNERS: QB Ronnie Bell (R-Jr.) (188-for-375 for 2,573 yards, 15 TD, 11 INTs in 2013); RB Jonathan Jean-Bart (So.) (269 yards rushing on 71 carries); WR Robert Davis (So.) (44 catches, 711 yards, 4 TD); LB Joseph Peterson (Jr.) (103 tackles, 6 TFL, 2 sacks); LB Tarris Batiste (R-Jr.) (77 tackles, 9.5 TFL, INT in 2013, but has reportedly moved to safety)
KEY LOSSES: WR Albert Wilson (71 catches, 1,177 yards, 8 TD; 24 carries, 251 yards rushing, TD); RB Travis Evans (115 carries, 405 yards, 3 TD); CB Brent McClendon (52 tackles, 2 INTs)
2013 STATISTICAL RANKS: Georgia State was one of four reclassifying teams in 2013, so their statistics weren’t included in the national rankings. So while the ranking you see isn’t official, it’s where GSU would have slotted had it been included. … T112th in Scoring Offense (18.8 ppg); 102nd in Total Offense (355.3 ypg); 114th in Rushing Offense (102.3 ypg); 41st in Passing Offense (253.0 ypg); T109th in Scoring Defense (36.7 ppg); 106th in Total Defense (466.5 ypg); 84th in Passing Yards Allowed (245.3 ypg); T109th in Rushing Defense (221.3 ypg)
BIGGEST 2014 PRIORITY: The numbers don’t lie: the Panthers, still in their infancy as a football program, have problems all over the place. They hope their new quarterback, Nick Arbuckle, can help them snap that ugly losing streak and take a positive step forward this season as second-year members of the FBS. Arbuckle is a junior-college transfer from Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif., and Miles named him the starter at the conclusion of GSU’s spring practices. What’s interesting is that statistically, at least, GSU seemed to perform better in the passing game in 2013 than it did anywhere else, though Bell’s numbers obviously weren’t great. GSU also has to replace its best player, Wilson, who was essentially a one-man show last season. Davis, who himself had a solid year, all things considered, will be relied upon to help fill that void in GSU’s pass-heavy offense.
SCHEDULE NOTES: Another “body-bag” game awaits Georgia State in November, when it travels to Death Valley for a game at Clemson. And that trip actually caps a stretch of three consecutive road games for the Panthers, who, conversely, begin the season with three games in Atlanta.
UW-GEORGIA ROSTER TIES: None that I see on the player roster, but plenty on the coaching staff. That starts with Miles, who worked as Washington’s running backs coach under Tyrone Willingham from 2005-07 before taking the head coaching job at Indiana State. And there are several assistants with UW ties, too. Tim Lappano, the team’s receivers coach, was UW’s offensive coordinator under Willingham from 2005-08. Luke Huard, younger brother of Damon and Brock, is GSU’s quarterbacks coach. J.D. Williams, the Panthers’ defensive backs/special teams coach, was UW’s defensive backs coach under Willingham from 2006-08. Ronnie Fouch, the former UW quarterback, is a graduate assistant. But they haven’t pulled any players from the Northwest yet — the roster features zero players from Washington, Oregon or Idaho, and only three from California (plus two incoming freshmen). There are, however, 65 Georgia natives on the roster, plus another 19 in the 2014 signing class.
UW-GEORGIA STATE HISTORY: The two teams have never met.
GEORGIA STATE’S BEST SEASON: The Panthers’ first season playing football is still their best. Georgia State finished its inaugural 2010 season with a 6-5 record, playing as an FCS Independent, defeating Shorter, Campbell, Morehead State, Savannah State, North Carolina Central and Lamar.
HOW WAS SPRING BALL?: All kinds of post-spring wrap-up stuff can be found over on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website.
THIS IS INTERESTING: Numbers and charts and graphs and such from SB Nation.
NOTABLE NON-FOOTBALL GRADS: Ray Stevens, country musician; Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, rapper (I’ve seen a couple places that say he attended in 1998-99, but unsure if he’s a graduate or not); Julia Roberts, actress (attended but didn’t graduate)
FOR COVERAGE: Follow Doug Roberson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: @ajcgsu
Christian Caple can be reached at email@example.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple