The West Virginia Mountaineer Football team will take on Sun Belt Conference member Georgia State this Saturday.
Game time is set for noon at Milan Puskar Stadium and will be televised locally on ROOT Sports. [Rob King (PBP), Rasheed Marshall (analysis), Amanda Mazey (sideline)].
West Virginia returns home after a frustrating loss to the Oklahoma Sooners and will be looking for their second win of the season. It should come rather easily, if not, it’ll mean they have more problems on their hands than previously thought.
Georgia State opened the season with a 31-21 loss to Samford. Then lost again to UT-Chattanooga in their second contest 42-14. Neither UT-Chattanooga nor Samford are Football Bowl Subdivision opponents. In other words, they compete a level below West Virginia, in what is now called the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as 1-AA.
This is Georgia State’s first season in the FBS. They’re not eligible to compete in a bowl game this season, as they make the transition to the highest level of college football. However, next season they’ll be able to compete for a bowl appearance.
Georgia State head coach Trent Miles is in his first season with the school. He previously led Indiana State for five seasons as head coach. Miles, 49, is a native of Terre Haute, Ind., and a 1987 graduate of Indiana State with a degree in criminology.
The Panthers were picked to finish last in the Sun Belt Conference by nearly every preseason prognosticator. They did not have one player named to the preseason All-Sun Belt team.
West Virginia is favored by about five touchdowns. This should be a nice easy momentum builder going into the Maryland game next week.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen has reopened the quarterback competition coming off the seven point performance against Oklahoma. Quarterbacks Clint Trickett and Ford Childress have every right to see some snaps in this one.
The Mountaineers have to find a go to performer under center before they get into the meat of a difficult Big 12 schedule. This should be a great game to experiment in, many fans would like to see what redshirt freshman Ford Childress is capable of.
West Virginia should be able to score with the ground game all day long against an inferior opponent like Georgia State, so why not let Childress drop back to pass a few times. If he’s the future, then why not just start him now and continue to build upon it?
If Childress has a good showing, Holgorsen won’t have much of a choice, other than to let him play this season. It’s not like the coaching staff is picking from the likes of Joe Montana, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees here. Childress can’t do much worse than the other two quarterbacks at this point, and he still has four years to play.
Now back to Georgia State for a moment. They’re getting payed $550,000 just to show up on the sidelines in Morgantown. The program is in need of cash, so they’ve added games like West Virginia and Alabama this season to ensure big paydays, which will keep their program on the rise. In the next two seasons, they’ll play Washington, Clemson, and Oregon for more paychecks.
This really isn’t anything new, smaller programs do it all the time in order to boost recruiting, improve athletic facilities, and keep their programs on solid ground.
Georgia State has struggled so far this season on defense, allowing an average of 253 rushing yards and 151 passing yards per game. There’s no reason the Mountaineers shouldn’t move the ball at will on the ground against them. Georgia State’s talent is simply no match for WVU.
It won’t be surprising to anyone if the Panthers don’t win a single game this year. They only won one last year playing below the FBS level.
Offensively, quarterback Ronnie Bell leads the Panthers with 461 yards through the air, three touchdowns and two interceptions. One bright spot is senior receiver Albert Wilson, he leads the team with 15 receptions for 299 yards and three touchdowns.
A steadily improving Mountaineer defense should come up with a shutdown performance against the Georgia State offense. On paper, this game is a downright mismatch.
Expect West Virginia to win by a wide margin, while all eyes return to the quarterback competition.