Oregon Football: First Look at the Georgia State Panthers


If you want to be correct about it, this week the Oregon Ducks football team hosts the Sun Belt Conference league leaders, the Georgia State Panthers.

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In addition, the Panthers and Oregon Ducks are both 1-1, but Georgia State is technically better than the Ducks because Oregon hasn’t beaten an FBS team yet. Eastern Washington is an FCS team.

So coming off the Michigan State loss this might seem like a bad third game. Losing to a top-five team is one thing. Following that up with a league leader, even if it is the Sun Belt, seems to be piling on.

Well, not to worry.

Georgia State beat New Mexico State last week, which, yes, is a Sun Belt conference game. But it has so far been the only Sun Belt Conference game. The Panthers are in first place only are because nobody else has won… or played.

In addition, with that win over New Mexico State, Georgia State has two wins…. in the last three seasons. Yep, 0-12 two years ago and 1-11 last season.

Last season, the Panthers also journeyed out to the Pacific Northwest and took on Washington in Seattle, where they got drilled 45-14. Later in the season they were Clemson’s cupcake and lost 28-0. In 2013 they lost to West Virginia 41-7.

The win over New Mexico State was Georgia State’s first Sun Belt win… ever.

Feeling better about Oregon’s chances now?

Don’t write these guys off completely, though. Admittedly it was against New Mexico State, but the Panthers put up a school-record 582 yards of offense on Saturday. Freshman wide receiver Penny Hart tied a school record with 11 catches for 150 yards and senior QB Nick Arbuckle went 32-43 for 372 yards and two scores.

It’s the defense that Oregon can exploit, for it may be more accurate to say that New Mexico State lost the game more than Georgia State won it. The Aggies were in position to win the game with 29 seconds to go but missed a 49-yard field goal.

Still, a win is a win, and first place is first place.

Part of me is bummed that this game isn’t at Georgia State’s home field. You see, when the school began the program in 2008, they had to decide whether they would build a stadium or use one nearby.

Ultimately, the Panthers decided that there was a stadium just north of their campus that would suffice for their needs.

Dec 31, 2014; Atlanta , GA, USA; General view of the logo on the field prior to the game between the TCU Horned Frogs and the Mississippi Rebels in the 2014 Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell/CFA Peach Bowl via USA TODAY Sports

The Georgia Dome. Yes, the home of the Atlanta Falcons. The Panthers don’t get 70,000 per game there (heck, neither do the Falcons), but play in a modified seating arrangement that holds a maximum of 30,000 fans. Although I’m sure they’d open the place up if Oregon wanted to play there during the regular season.

Since the major bowl game at the Georgia Dome, the Peach Bowl, is part of the College Football Playoff semifinal rotation as well as one of the “New Year’s Six” games, there is a definite chance that at some point in the near future Oregon could play in Georgia State’s home stadium… just not against the Panthers.

The Ducks would do well this week to not think about the CFB Playoffs or bowl games, but just the Sun Belt leaders themselves.

After all, both teams are 1-1.

And the Ducks haven’t beaten an FBS team yet this year.

No better time to start than Saturday morning at Autzen.