NC State and Georgia State will meet on the football field Saturday for the first time ever, and while the Wolfpack is a big favorite, the Panthers will present some new challenges on both sides of the ball.
GSU has a quarterback who ran for 100 yards last week, and it runs a 3-4 defense, which is not common among power-conference schools. That defense was decent in the Panthers’ opener, but the offense has a lot of strides to make.
Three dudes to keep an eye on:
Junior QB Dan Ellington
So far so good for Ellington, who is coming off a successful FBS debut. The junior college transfer completed 20-28 throws for 187 yards and three scores, with zero interceptions. He also ran the ball for 100 yards on 15 carries (totals adjusted for sacks), and was pretty much the entire Georgia State running game.
Those wheels are a concern after we watched Ben DiNucci find a good amount of success tucking it last week, but there is no reason to expect the NC State defense to be caught off guard in Week 2.
Senior LB Michael Shaw
He’s been a major contributor to Georgia State’s 3-4 defensive scheme pretty much since stepping on campus, and he is the school’s all-time leader in tackles for loss (25.5).
Junior WR Penny Hart
GSU didn’t produce a lot of eye-popping stats on the offensive side last season, but Hart was consistently outstanding, finishing with over 1,100 yards receiving on 74 catches. If he stays healthy in 2018, he’ll probably have the third 1,000-yard season of his career.
Hart is listed at just 5’8, but he’s had no trouble finding the end zone in his career, with 18 touchdown catches in 28 games. He had five grabs and a score in the opener against Kennesaw State in what was an otherwise modest effort by his standards. Don’t be surprised if the Panthers lean on him Saturday.