Game 242: Troy @ Georgia State

Georgia State has a chance for a bowl game. It’s somewhat tenuous, but still quite astonishing considering that the program has only been in existence for five years. The Panthers have not only taken on the adjustment to developing a football team, but doing so at the FBS (Division 1) level. So, being 4-6 and two wins from bowl eligibility is a notable accomplishment.

Georgia State hosted reeling Troy in the Georgia Dome on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It’s a tough fan draw for GSU, especially the day after a holiday. Fighting for spotlight time with Georgia Tech and the Atlanta Falcons poses another challenge. The campus is walkable from the Dome, but being off campus doesn’t help either. The Georgia Dome is massive, and the 10,113 that showed up drowned in a sea of empty seats. So, the atmosphere took a hit, too.

But, again, this is a developing program with a bright future. These hiccups can be forgiven – especially with plans to build their own stadium. Currently, Georgia State is proposing a deal that would repurpose the soon-to-be defunct home of the Atlanta Braves, Turner Field – definite forward progress. The day began with the Panther Walk outside the Georgia Dome, with the band and fans welcoming their team.

On the field, quarterback Nick Arbuckle surfaced as the star for GSU with 368 passing yards. This adds onto the school record for passing yards that he broke a week earlier. Leading a team with only a five year history may have made this record less challenging to surpass, but Arbuckle really is good.

A lively crowd on senior day watched their Panthers pounce on the Trojans 31-7 before eventually winning 31-21. Troy brought their band – it gave the game somewhat of a bowl game atmosphere, which Troy will not be able to experience this season. But, Georgia State is one win away from capturing their first bowl bid – even if they don’t achieve that goal, this season has been a success with a clear movement toward exceeding expectations.

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