Western Michigan took care of Delaware State last week, putting up 68 points en route to a shutout victory at Waldo Stadium. No need to really go into it further than saying it was a much needed confidence boost for the team heading into the rest of the season.
Next is a trip to Atlanta to face Georgia State. I know nothing about this team so I figure not many others outside of GSU do either. So, for myself and the other Bronco fans out there I wanted to do a little research to be prepared for this matchup. I say that because having to go on the road all the way to Georgia and face a team we don’t really know about seems a little daunting.
Here is a little about GSU’s style of play, guys to look for and how their season has shook out thus far.
This team is actually very similar in style to WMU. They run a spread offense, relying a lot on the quarterback to make reads and move the ball around to their talented playmakers on the outside. They will use the screen game to get the ball out quickly just like WMU does.
According to coach Lester, GSU plays a similar style of defense as WMU does. During his weekly presser he said GSU was ‘pretty good at getting to the QB and decent in coverage’.
GSU has struggled on this side of the ball though, partly because they have played some superior opponents the last few weeks (NC State and Memphis). They did not have a good game against Memphis, giving up 410 yards rushing in a 59-22 loss. One thing Lester attributed GSU’s struggles in the run game to was some new players in the secondary who have been a little slow to come up and support the front seven in the run game.
Dan Ellington – QB #13. Ellington is a first year starter at GSU. He can run and throws a decent ball. What concerns me is his dual threat ability because WMU struggled against Eric Dungey and Syracuse. Ellington is one of GSU’s primary runners in read option and designed run plays. He can also get the ball out to some very versatile targets outside.
Penny Hart – WR #18. Hart is the lead target for Ellington and the Panthers’ offense. A first-team all conference player last year, Hart entered 2017 as the active FBS leader in receiving yards and touchdown receptions. He’s a dynamic threat and pairs well with GSU’s other receivers. Tim Lester said Hart “has the ‘it’ factor” and when you watch GSU’s highlights you can see that to be true.
Christian Owens – WR #85. The first thing you notice about Owens is how big he is. He’s very talented and really goes to get the ball. The 6’4″ receiver is a transfer from South Carolina. He was a four star recruit in high school according to Rivals and ESPN. If GSU isn’t throwing to Penny Hart, Owens is the guy they’re looking for.
Destin Coates – RB #17. Coates is the leading rusher from the RB spot for GSU. The freshman averages six yards a carry and has the ability to make plays if you don’t bring him down on first contact.
Marterious Allen – DE #95. Allen measures out at 6’2″ 270 lbs. He’s a playmaker on the edge. He led GSU in sacks last year and was named third-team all conference in 2017.
Other notables: Devin Gentry – WR #14 , Tra Barnett RB #5.
Season Rewind (with highlights!)
GSU opened the season against fifth ranked FCS opponent Kennesaw State and it was a close one. Georgia State ended up winning a back and forth game with a touchdown with under a minute remaining.
1-0 GSU then went on the road to play ACC opponent NC State. GSU scored on their first possession and played pretty decent in the first half before going on to lose 41-7.
Last week GSU played on ESPN vs Memphis and proceeded to really just get outclassed. They couldn’t stop Memphis and lost 59-22.
So, I think that Georgia State has some athletes that can give the WMU defense a hard time. WMU needs to play sound assignment football to try and keep Dan Ellington under wraps. They also need to work together in the secondary to cover Hart and Owens. It doesn’t look to be an easy task for the WMU defense.
On the other side of the ball the WMU offense should be able to dictate the game. LeVante Bellamy and Jamauri Bogan should have a good day behind WMU’s offensive line. With WMU’s strong run game and new starters in the GSU secondary, Jon Wassink shouldn’t have trouble connecting with Dee Eskridge, Drake Harris and Jayden Reed.
Hopefully, WMU can take care of business in the ATL and be 2-2 heading into the MAC season. It’s about to get real for the Broncos as we see what they’ve really got in conference play.
Thanks for reading, and Go Broncos!