The Georgia State Panthers have a lot to look forward to in 2019. The offense returns 10 starters which makes for a promising season as the Panthers look to improve upon a 2-10 record from last season. The defense was a huge question mark going into the spring. The defensive line just couldn’t close running lanes last year. But this is a new year and the defense looks a lot better.
What we saw out of the Georgia State defense on Saturday, is what you see with a young team heading in the right direction. They were rushing the quarterback, swarming the running backs, and shutting down the receivers. Forcing three-and-outs were an issue last year, but the defense did a great job of doing just that during the spring game. They occasionally gave up the big play, but that happens with a young team going through growing pains. Even though starting quarterback Dan Ellington didn’t take a lot of reps, the defense still takes a lot of confidence into the summer.
The goal on offense was to bring backup quarterbacks Jack Walker and Swift Lyle up to speed. The Panthers didn’t have a lot of depth at the position last year and this was something coach Shawn Elliot wanted to address. Walker connected with Terrance Dixon and Herman McCray on touchdown passes. Lyle also threw a TD pass to Dixon and found a tight end, Bryson Duckworth for a 37-yard score. Georgia State looks to utilize tight ends more which should create some mismatches in the Sun Belt. Redshirt junior Darrius Stubbs was able to break away from the defense for an 83-yard touchdown run.
Offensively, the running game is still the strongest area for the Panthers. Part of that is having a passer like Ellington who can make plays on the ground. The Panthers also ran a lot of no-huddle offense as they look to play quicker and attempt to wear down opposing defenses. On defense, we should see a ton of improvement over last year. Georgia State ranked 123rd in rushing defense and ranked 80th in passing defense. We should see a lot of improvement from those numbers in 2019.
Overall, Georgia State fans should feel excited about the upcoming season. While this team may not be ready to reach the top of the Sun Belt, top-three is a strong possibility. If the Panthers can put it all together at the same time and stay balanced, this team will have a lot of upsides. Georgia State opens up the season with Tennessee and plays four of their first six games on the road. A good showing could give the Panthers a run down the stretch with home games against key teams.