Georgia State will face a challenge in trying to slow, literally, Troy’s offense in Saturday’s game at the Georgia Dome. It will be the Panthers’ first Sun Belt game.
The Trojans (3-3), using a spread offense, have averaged 76.5 plays per game this season that has resulted in averages of 34.3 points and 462.3 yards per game. To compare, Georgia State (0-5) has averaged 61.4 plays, 14.2 points and 312.2 yards per game.
Georgia State coach Trent Miles said the Trojans like to pressure defenses by making them account for the whole field.
“It’s one of the most challenging offenses we’ve seen from a schematic standpoint,” defensive coordinator Jesse Minter said.
Troy is led by quarterback Corey Robinson, who is the FBS active career leader in passing yards (11,797), ahead of Georgia’s Aaron Murray (11,625). They are the only active quarterbacks with more than 10,000 passing yards.
This season, Robinson has passed for 1,539 yards and 12 touchdowns, giving him 73 in his career. His favorite target is Eric Thomas, who has 31 receptions for 480 yards and nine touchdowns, which is tied for most in FBS. Eighteen players have made at least one catch this season, which ranks fourth in FBS.
Miles said the only way to even slow Robinson is by trying to keep Georgia State’s offense on the field and by getting in his face on defense. Robinson has completed 74.2 percent of his passes, second-best in FBS.
“You’ve got to get pressure on him,” he said. “They do such a good job of getting it out of his hands.”
Wisconsin in 2016: Georgia State will play football at Wisconsin in 2016. The game is scheduled to be played Sept. 17, 2016. The Panthers will receive $1.2 million.
“Camp Randall (Stadium) is a wonderful place to play,” Miles said.
Georgia State also has a game scheduled at Air Force on Sept. 10 that season, which is part of a home-and-home series.
Playing the Badgers is yet another in payday games set up by the Panthers. Next year, they have games scheduled at Clemson ($700,000) and at Washington ($900,000). In 2015, they have a game at Oregon ($900,000).
The Panthers received $1.25 million combined for games at West Virginia and at Alabama earlier this year.
Jean-Bart emerging: His coaches may continue to mispronounce his name, but Jonathan Jean-Bart (the last name is pronounced John-Bart) is getting their attention with his performances in practice and on the field.
“I’ve been working really hard,” he said of studying his playbook and honing his techniques in practices.
When confused, the current staff calls him either Jon-Gene (his favorite mispronunciation), Bart, or Gene-Bart. But Jean-Bart has emerged as the No. 2 running back behind Travis Evans and has rushed 15 times for 50 yards this season.
It’s impressive considering he has had two ACL surgeries. The first after an injury he suffered as a senior in 2011 at Henry County High, where he was offered a scholarship by then-Panthers coach Bill Curry. He suffered another ACL injury in the same knee the summer of 2012. Jean-Bart sat out last season while recovering and enrolled at Georgia State earlier this year. Though he wears a brace, he said the knee doesn’t bother him.
Offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski said he prefers to use two running backs, which reduces the workloads and improves the chances of keeping both healthy. He likes what he has seen from Jean-Bart.
“He got an opportunity to get some meaningful snaps against Alabama (on Saturday),” he said. “The more those guys can get those types of reps against those types of teams, it will help them.”
Injuries: Tight end Keith Rucker, who missed Saturday’s game with an ankle injury, was without a walking boot and running again at practice Monday.
Rucker is the last healthy traditional tight end on the Panthers’ roster. The team used freshman Brandon Pertile, normally a tackle or guard, as a tight end against the Crimson Tide. Pertile was kept in to block and didn’t run any routes, though Miles said he can.
Rucker, a freshman, has four catches for 46 yards this season. Bill Teknipp, another tight end, is out for the season (knee injury). Drew Pearson (concussion) also is out. Miles said he will not play freshman Sebastian Willer, who has not played this season.