South Carolina got off easy, at the start of the 2021 season. The Gamecocks played their first game against Eastern Illinois, an FCS opponent who at the time had only won two games in two years.
If you think Georgia State will be a similar matchup in any way… You’ve got another thing coming. Georgia State is not the same football team they were 10 years ago.
If you disregard them in any way on your schedule, they’ll make you pay for it.
First off let’s take a look back at some of Georgia State’s previous matchups against respectable opponents. In 2019 the Panthers went into Rocky Top and beat Tennessee 38-30. Let’s not forget this was a Tennessee team that ended up going 8-5.
Last year, the Panthers could have, and really should have beaten Auburn. A few lucky breaks, and some poor officiating helped the Tigers escape. At the time, this was a completely healthy Auburn team that was nationally ranked.
Georgia State also handed Coastal Carolina (a team that spent the majority of the season ranked) one of their only two losses last year.
Last season Georgia state finished 8-5 and 3rd in the Sunbelt conference (behind App State and Louisiana Lafayette). The scary part about this team is, they’re returning 3/4ths of their starters. Their offensive weapons, and their lockdown defenders will be returning next season. I personally would call them a competitor for the Sunbelt Championship next season.
Through the air, the Panthers are mediocre; however, on the ground, they are dangerous. Against Auburn last season, Georgia State rushed for nearly 300 yards.
To put that into perspective, South Carolina rushed for only 149 against Auburn. Georgia state will also be returning nearly its entire backfield for the 2022 season.
Finally, the Panthers are coached by Shawn Elliott, who most Carolina fans will remember. If any FBS coach can light a fire and really pump up his football team, it’s Elliott. Like I mentioned earlier, Georgia State has really played well against far superior opponents over the years. I would argue that Shawn Elliott is a major part of that.
With that being said, he would have a better reason than ever to get his team fired up against South Carolina, as it was his previous coaching job. Before kickoff, I guarantee that the Georgia State sideline will be electric.
Do I believe that Georgia State will beat South Carolina? No. I think South Carolina would have to underestimate the Panthers, and under Beamer, I don’t see that happening. He knows as well as I do that Georgia State is a good football team.
I believe South Carolina offensively will be too much for the Panthers to handle. Defensively, I see Carolina giving up a score or two before buckling down and shutting down the Panthers.
Georgia State is a great football team. As long as the Gamecocks can recognize this and properly prepare, they will win.