The Bobcats’ 112th nationally ranked pass defense will be challenged Saturday when the team faces Georgia State’s senior wide receiver Albert Wilson and the Panthers’ offense.
With 670 yards on the season, Wilson has accumulated more yards than Texas State’s top five receivers. Andy Erickson, Bradley Miller, Brandon Smith, Isaiah Battle and Ben Ijah combine for 643 yards. For his career, Wilson has 2,683 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns.
Wilson currently leads the Sun Belt conference in receiving yards, averaging 111.7 per game. His average of 197.8 all-purpose yards per game ranks him second in the league. Having a career average of 19.6 yards per catch, Wilson ranks first amongst all active FBS players.
“They’ve got some good players,” said Coach Dennis Franchione. “Wilson, their receiver, is as fine as we’ll go up against this year. Their quarterback is athletic, runs around and does a good job of giving it to Wilson. He’s their key.”
The Panthers established a 28-21 lead in the fourth quarter last Saturday before Troy recorded a similar game-winning drive as Louisiana-Monroe did to beat the Bobcats at home.
“First off let me say I’m real proud of my kids. They battled hard after last week,” Franchione said. “We prepared well, fought hard, battled hard. That was really great to see we bounced back, and we will do that and go on to win some more games this year.”
In Georgia State’s loss to Troy, quarterback Ronnie Bell tied a school record connecting on four touchdown passes, two of which were caught by Wilson.
The Bobcat defense will look to force more offensive turnovers Saturday. Texas State is ranked 17th and leads the conference in fumbles recovered. Constant emphasis on take-a-ways have led to 14 forced turnovers and eight interceptions, both leading the Sun Belt.
“This past week was about getting back to Bobcat football,” said senior safety Aaron Matthews. “We’ve got to get off the field on third downs—that’s what we take pride on. So, (we need to) practice that down situation and learn how to get off of the field.”
Texas State’s scoring defense averages 23.5 points per game, best amongst conference teams. The Panthers have allowed on average 37.7 points, making them last in the league.
Sophomore running back Robert Lowe leads the Bobcats with 442 yards on the ground, placing him second behind the 882 yards of Western Kentucky’s senior running back Antonio Andrews.
Lowe will look to avoid senior linebacker Robert Ferguson on the field, the only Panther to play in every Georgia State football game. The program began in 2010, and Ferguson is at 156 tackles, one tackle away from breaking linebacker Mark Hogan’s career record.
Last week against Troy, sophomore linebacker Joseph Peterson tied the Panthers’ single-game record with 16 tackles. Peterson leads Georgia State with 44 tackles on the season, placing him fifth in the Sun Belt.
“It’s all about tomorrow—tomorrow we learn from our mistakes and try not to make those throughout the week so that when next week’s game comes, we capitalize on those mistakes we made this past game,” Lowe said. “It’s those little things that are going to make us better, and if we work on those little things, that will be a complete turn around, I feel.”