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Georgia State vs. UConn: How To Watch, Preview, Prediction

Third-down issues loom large for Panthers

NCAA Football: Georgia St. at Appalachian State Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Date/time: Saturday, Sept. 9, 7:00 p.m. EST


Location: Center Parc Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

2022 record: UConn 6-7 GSU 4-8 (3-5)

2023 record: UConn 0-1 GSU 1-0

Previous meetings: These teams have never played each other.

Line: GSU -3.0, O/U 54.5


Two years ago, this game would have meant nothing to most college football fans.

UConn, in its first season of conference independence, was fighting every week to not be the single-worst team in the country.

Georgia State was a streaky but nonetheless impressive Sun Belt team that was third-in-line for its turn atop the conference’s Eastern Division.

But that was two years ago. Now, second-year head coach Jim Mora shows early signs of reviving the Huskies to relevancy and fifth-year head coach Shawn Elliott’s future with the Panthers could ride on how they perform this season.

Despite a Week 1 win, GSU have room to improve.

A Quick Look at GSU

Against Rhode Island, the Panther defense could not get off the field on third down. GSU allowed the Rams to convert 13 of 20 third-down attempts. That 65% conversion rate is sixth-worst in the country and the worst of any team that has won a game this year.

Marcus Carroll is the most recent in a lineage of electric Panther running backs, and Darren Grainger continues to be a wily, but result-getting quarterback. Gavin Pringle made a momentum-stealing interception and punter Kade Loggins had a couple of well-placed kicks.

But none of this matters if the Panthers can’t get the defense off the field when it matters

It is hard to criticize allowing just 24 points to a team that put up 41 in last season’s meeting, but the Huskies allowed the Wolfpack to convert on more than half of their third downs and allowed 209 rushing yards.

Certainly an upgrade from the years of past, but Mora’s second year shows early signs of regressing to the mean.

The Game

With UConn’s porous rush defense, Georgia State should be optimistic ahead of this matchup. Marcus Carroll will probably come out as a top-five rusher in the nation again this week and the Panthers will probably score 30+ again, but if they can not right the ship on third down it will all be for naught.