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Georgia State Panthers vs Ball State Cardinals: Preview, Betting Line, Start Time, TV, Prediction

Georgia State attempts to get their season back on track with a trip to Muncie, Indiana to face MAC foe Ball State. This first meeting between the two programs should be high-scoring and oddly entertaining.

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia State-Ball State

Start Time: 3:00 PM ET, Saturday, Oct. 17

Location: Scheumann Stadium, Muncie, Indiana

TV: ESPN3 Streaming: WatchESPN

Radio: Georgia State: here. Ball State: here.

Records: Georgia State: 1-4, Ball State 2-4. This is the first meeting between these two programs.

Live Stats: here.

Betting Line: Ball State -14.5. Over/Under: 64.

Georgia State: The Georgia State Panthers offense is explosive if nothing else. The offense is #33 nationally with a 1.34 IsoPPP. Success rate (39.3%), field position (26.1 yard line), points per trip inside the 40 (4.72), and expected turnover margin (-0.73) all rank #84 or worse. The Panthers are almost comically bad at running the football with a paltry 97.2 yards per game on the ground. Kyler Neal (57/220/2TD) and Demarcus Kirk (25/120/0TD) are the only players with 100+ yards.

While terrible running the football, the Panthers are much more effective in the air. Nick Arbuckle (121-187/1,549/10TD) has been good at quarterback in finding a trio of receivers to trust. Penny Hart (29/440/4TD) is one of the best young receivers in the nation, while Robert Davis (22/310/2TD) and Todd Boyd (15/113/1TD) make up the trio that accounts for 51.4% of all targets. Donovan Harden (8/209/1TD) is an odd case of getting very few targets (13) or catches (8), but boasts a ridiculous 26.1 yards per catch average. Overall, the Panthers average 309.8 yards per game in the air.

Advanced statistics make Georgia State’s rush defense look average with an S&P+ of 113.1 (#37) and IsoPPP of 0.97 (#37), but those statistics paint a false picture. The rush defense is giving up 4.6 yards per carry and 205.2 yards per game on the ground, good for #102 nationally.

The pass defense is even worse for the Panthers with a #112 ranked S&P+, a #107 ranked success rate, and a #107 ranked IsoPPP allowed. The pass defense is ranked #115 nationally in giving up 294.6 yards per game in the air, good for 8.23 yards per pass attempt.

Players to watch on the Georgia State defense include: Joseph Peterson (50 tkl, 4 tfl, 1.5 sacks), Alonzo McGee (27 tkl, 9 tfl, 2 sacks), and Bobby Baker (30 tkl, 2 int, 3 fr).

Ball State: The opening half of the schedule has been frustrating for the Cardinals in coming close, but unable to pull any upsets. Two of the reasons for the inability of Ball State to pull an upset are an IsoPPP of 1.15 (#114) and only 4.02 points per trip inside the 40 (#114). Running the ball has been solid with Darian Green (75/451/4TD), James Gilbert (67/289/6TD), Riley Nealy (50/280/1TD), and Teddy Williamson (25/100/0TD) all breaking the 100 yard barrier. Ball State is averaging 4.6 yards per carry as a team and 177.3 yards per game on the ground.

With a young quarterback like Riley Neal (103-172/1,117/8TD) behind center, there have been growing pains. Neal has found three good receiving options in Jordan Williams (40/570/4TD), KeVonn Mabon (32/312/1TD) and Corey Lacanaria (24/205/1TD). The trio have combined for 70.9% of all passing targets on the year, 164 total targets with 96 catches (58.5% catch rate). Only Darian Green (10/81/1TD) has 10+ targets and a catch rate over 75%. Overall, the Cardinals throw for 243.3 yards per game.

Defensively, the Cardinals have been a bit of a mess. The rush defense is among the worst nationally with offenses in accumulating a 44.7% success rate, 89.5 S&P+, and IsoPPP of 1.15 . The Cardinals rush defense is giving up 5.1 yards per carry and 223.2 yards per game.

Pass defense has terrible for Ball State with the #117 success rate (48.8%) and #115 S&P+ (78.9). Offenses have gouged the Cardinals for 276.0 yards per game, 8.2 yards per attempt.

Players for the Ball State defense to watch include: Ben Ingle (50 tkl, 4 tfl), Joshua Posey (32 tkl, 6 tfl, 1.5 sacks), and Sean Wiggins (50 tkl, 1.5 tfl, 1 sack, 2 int).

Prediction: Georgia State comes into this game as one of the five worst teams in the FBS. They have lost to a FBS newbie and a FCS program this season, while getting a hard fought win over NMSU. Ball State has been right on the verge of impressing people despite their 2-4 record. The Cardinals have played three straight high-quality teams very hard in the last three weeks. Ball State 42, Georgia State 24.