The THERSday After – Troy

For our Patrons this week, here is our in-depth look at what happened in Georgia State’s 37-10 win over Troy:

1st Quarter Observations

  • Troy came into the game struggling on offense, and that pattern continued early. What appeared to be a specific script for the Trojans offense didn’t really go according to plan. None of the softer underneath throws for Watson or runs for Vidal moved the ball well. From the third snap of the quarter, Georgia State’s defensive line was the far superior unit in the trenches and it showed. 
  • Georgia State didn’t get much going early, but found success attacking the Troy secondary later on in the quarter. Grainger was clearly favoring the right side of the field, targeting Jamari Thrash and Cornelius McCoy near the home sideline several times. 
  • The two passing plays which led to Georgia State’s first score were prime examples of the Panthers not being afraid of Troy’s pass defense. Grainger rolled out to his right, hitting McCoy on an intermediate out route for 22 yards, and the touchdown to Payne was a perfectly designed play that forced Troy to make a decision who to cover: Payne, Roger Carter, or a Georgia State running back. They chose poorly.
  • The superlatives for Georgia State’s defense are getting hard to keep track of, but really the defensive line had another quarter where they didn’t allow their opponents to get settled in pass protection. On the plays Watson did have time, his receivers didn’t help him out or the Panthers secondary made a play, but for the most part, the pass protection for Troy cost them greatly. 
  • While Georgia State has softened their “always fair catch kicks” approach in recent weeks, Qua White did muff a punt which gave Troy great field position. The sun is partially to blame, as well as a funky bounce the ball took, but that fumble can’t happen. Georgia State is fortunate that Troy would fumble the ball right back on the very next play, with White atoning for his fumble by helping Chris Moore pop the ball loose.
  • Grainger’s fumble in the red zone drive ended a rather promising drive, but Georgia State was out-gaining Troy 117-27 in the 1st quarter, and it did not seem like Troy was going to stop them any time soon. 
    • The fumble itself wasn’t awful. However, for the second week in a row, Georgia State has “committed a turnover” by virtue of not being down when on top of a receiver. Not sure if that is something coachable or correctable, but it happened on an interception the week prior. 

2nd Quarter Observations

  • Grainger took a few weeks off from rushing in the middle of the season, but the first few plays of the 2nd saw him really commit to calling his own number. He won the QB job due to his confidence in his running, and you can really see his athleticism when he decides he wants to run. 
  • It was nice to see vintage Sam Pinckney on his 26-yard touchdown reception. It was quintessential Georgia State football, adrive that started on their own 26 which included 8 rushing plays and 2 passes. After lulling the defense to sleep with the runs, sprinkle in a nice deep ball on the edge which Pinckney tip-toes to snag inside the endzone. 
  • Troy’s offensive game plan moved away from quick throws and went more so towards intermediate routes. A few drops cost them, but they finally were able to move the ball a little bit. 
  • Troy got into Panthers territory due to a 40-yard gain to Deshon Stoudemire who just got a step on Qua White. 
  • Enter the “don’t break” part of the GSU defensive philosophy. Troy’s second turnover of the game was a Gunnar Watson pass that was destined for Antavious Lane and Antavious Lane only. 
    • The interception gave him his 8th career pick, which is the all-time program record. 
  • Hardrick Willis won’t get credited with a sack, but his pressure forced the bad throw from Watson which Lane picked off. A few more seconds and Watson might hit his man. 
  • Tucker Gregg can really run the football. Even against a nice defense such as Troy, the senior had another great half of football. Head down, tough runs are his bread and butter and he did it again. 
  • Always a good sign when a team is up by 14 points at the half despite not converting a single 3rd down. That’s how good Georgia State was against Troy defensively. 

3rd Quarter Observations

  • Jamyest Williams seems to gain confidence in his runs as games go on. More on this later. 
  • Grainger and Pinckney have really had a nice connection as the season has gone on. It’s a pity Pinckney was unhealthy during the year, but he has emerged as Grainger’s top WR target in recent weeks. 
  • With the way Georgia State moved the ball to close the first half to and begin the second, 14 points would have been lovely. Really felt like those 8 points the Panthers left on the board hurt, but Noel Ruiz being automatic softens the blow of needing to settle for long field goals.
  • Georgia State did not record their first sack of the game until Jhi’Shawn Taylor brought down Watson out of the timeout. Troy was really moving on the Panthers, and if not for a questionable defensive pass interference call on the ensuing 3rd down, the defense would have gotten off the field right then and there. 
  • Blake Carroll and Jamil Muhammad would team up for a strip-sack scoop-and-score a few plays later which was a huge blow to Troy’s chances of coming back in the game. 
    • Panthers defensive coordinator Nate Fuqua wasn’t known for blitzing a ton coming into this season, but Georgia State has done an excellent job of dialing up the blitz at key times this season. Carroll came through the C gap completely untouched, and Watson had no chance to protect himself. It was virtually all Muhammad from there as the only person in position to catch him was an offensive lineman. Panthers up big, 27-3. 
    • This marked the first defensive touchdown for Georgia State this season. 
  • Muhammad sure looked like a natural OLB when he sacked Watson on the next drive. Always a treat when the guy who gets held still ends up with the sack. 
  • Muhammad’s second sack of the drive forced a long field goal for Troy which they would miss. A phenomenal quarter for the former QB. 
  • Georgia State didn’t convert some of their drives into TDs, but their last score of the quarter was a Noel Ruiz 50-yard field goal, his longest field goal as a Panther. 
  • Dontae Willson has a legit gripe with the Sun Belt officiating as the officials took away a fumble he recovered. At the very least, it should have been grounding on Watson. But regardless, the defensive front for Georgia State had one of their best quarters all season and it almost ended in another turnover. 
  • Of course there was another sack. 5 sacks in the frame. 

4th Quarter Observations

  • Not sure what Watson saw on his second pick, but Bryquice Brown saw it better. Brown ran the route better than the WR and it marked the 4th turnover for the Georgia State defense. 
  • OK, back to Jam Williams. Another long untouched run which results in a touchdown for the CB-turned-RB. Once he gets going, it is incredibly hard to stop unless you force him out of bounds. The 50-yard touchdown run set a season and career long for Williams. 
  • Troy had two long drives in the 4th, but with the game well out of reach, neither mattered for our purposes. The Panthers had a great game despite the yard disparity being fairly close and the offense not doing a ton on 3rd down.

Seniors Honors 

As it was senior day, the following is a list of those who were honored prior to the game:

–          #5 TE Roger Carter

–           #27 CB Jaylon Jones

–           #28 S Chris Moore

–           #32 LB Zach Dixon

–          #33 DE TJ Smith

–           #35 TE Herman McCray

–          #38 LB Kyle Wright

–           #41 DL Ikenine Ochie

–           #47 OLB Jhi’Shawn Taylor

–           #51 LS Charlie Flint

–           #52 DL Dontae Wilson

–           #62 C Malik Sumter

–           #64 G Pat Bartlett

–           #75 G Shamarious Gilmore

–           #87 WR Donavon Grier

–           #88 TE Aubry Payne

–           #90 DL Hardrick Willis

–           #92 K Noel Ruiz

Before and After

And finally, here’s a look at how Georgia State’s stats stacked up in the Sun Belt before and after the Troy win:

  • Scoring offense: 25.3 (T-5th in Sun Belt) > 26.3 (4th)
  • Rushing offense: 219.64 (2nd) > 221.92 (2nd) – also #11 in FBS
  • Passing offense: 159.6 (9th) > 158.0 (9th)
  • Total offense: 379.3 (5th) > 379.9 (5th)
  • Scoring defense: 29.3 (6th) > 27.7 (6th) 
  • Total defense: 411.1 (6th) > 405.5 (6th)
  • Rushing defense: 154.45 (6th) > 146.33 (6th)
  • Passing defense: 256.6 (8th) > 259.2 (8th)
  • 3rd down conversion rate: 42.67% (2nd) > 40.99 (2nd)
  • Opponents’ 3rd down conversion rate: 44.64% (9th) > 44.32 (9th)
  • Sacks: 29 (3rd) > 34 (3rd)
  • Sacks allowed: 22 (4th) > 24 (4th)
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