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Week 5 2020: East Carolina Pirates vs Georgia State Panthers Game Preview

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Both teams are looking to get back on track after opening losses

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 26 USF at East Carolina Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Game Time: 12:00 pm EST

Records: ECU 0-1 (0-1 AAC), Georgia State 0-1 (0-1 Sun Belt)

Line: Georgia State -1, O/U 70

Venue: Center Parc Stadium, Atlanta, GA

TV: ESPNU

The 2020 campaign did not get off to the start East Carolina was hoping for as they were blown out by UCF last week 51-28 in their home opener. Many did not think ECU would win but they thought the game would be much more competitive. The Pirates did not help themselves by turning the ball over but they were clearly outmatched and the lack of practice and game reps showed.

The Pirates look to turn things around this week as they travel to Atlanta, Georgia to take on the Georgia State Panthers. The Panthers are coming off a bye-week because of their game against Charlotte being postponed. Georgia State nearly knocked off #19 Louisiana Ragin Cajuns in their first game of the season but came up short in overtime.

It should be an interesting matchup for two teams looking for their first win of the season.

UCF vs East Carolina Photo by Conor Kvatek/Collegiate Images via Getty Images

Why East Carolina Will Win

The Pirates came out strong but then made too many mistakes with three consecutive drives with turnovers helping UCF score 41 unanswered. Holton Ahlers needs to be better but he should not be the leading rusher for this team. Darius Pinnix Jr. needs to take on the challenge and this offensive is potent when balanced.

The defense needs to get off the field. The defense showcased the same struggles as last year by being unable to get off the field. It’s okay for the defense to bend but it cannot break at the rate it did last week. Bruce Bivens needs to lead the squad especially on their side of the 50 to hold Georgia State to field goals.

If the defense cannot get off the field, the game will turn into a shootout where the Pirates came up short a majority of the time last season. We know the the Pirates will score but the defense needs to make a couple critical stops to give them a chance.

Why Georgia State Will Win

The Panthers will have to show resolve and place their frustration from last weeks postponement to the practice field. A critical component for this team is running the football and being able to control tempo. Destin Coates was sensational by having 34 carries against Louisiana. The team will probably have to get him around 25-30 carries again this week if they want to win.

Another is their young quarterback Cornelious Brown IV making smart decisions. He was composed and confident in his first career start and he will have to do much of the same against the Pirates. The Panthers must be able to hold serve offensively to have a chance.

Defensively, the Panthers will want to create turnovers. They had two in their first game which allowed them to hang around. Quavian White will need to be lockdown the ECU receivers.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 19 Louisiana at Georgia State Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Players to Watch

ECU

QB: Holton Ahlers

WR: Tyler Snead

DL: Immanuel Hickman

LB: Bruce Bivens

Georgia State

QB: Cornelious Brown IV

RB: Destin Coates

LB: Blake Carroll

DB: Antavious Lane

Prediction

This game is a tough one as it virtually a pick’em by many experts. I think East Carolina will bounce back and secure their first win of the 2020 season.

Offensively, ECU showed signs last week and they will bring that over into this week. Georgia State will be unable to create enough turnovers for their offense. It will be tight but I like the Pirates late with a defensive stand against the Panthers.

East Carolina 31, Georgia State 27