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Panthers return home to host Western Kentucky

4:52 PM, Oct 28, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Georgia State (0-8, 0-3 Sun Belt) returns home to host Sun Belt Conference foe Western Kentucky (4-4, 1-3 Sun Belt) Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.

The game features the return to the Georgia Dome of Bobby Petrino, the former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons who is now the head man at WKU.

After playing two straight Sun Belt road games, GSU now plays three of its final four games at home, beginning against the Hilltoppers.

Georgia State is making its Sun Belt debut as the program plays its fourth season and first under head coach Trent Miles. The Panthers opened the 2013 season with five straight non-conference games and now are playing seven consecutive Sun Belt tests.

The Panthers' top player is senior receiver and return specialist Albert Wilson, who was named to the Midseason All-Sun Belt first team by Phil Steele's College Football Preview. Wilson leads the Sun Belt in receiving yards (99.8 per game) while ranking third in receptions (5.4 per game). His average of 186.5 all-purpose yards per game is second in the league.

Western Kentucky features one of the nation's top rushers in Antonio Andrews, who has run for 1,180 yards (147.5 pg) and 11 touchdowns. He leads the nation in all-purpose yards (237.8 pg) while ranking second in rushing.

Georgia State and Western Kentucky are meeting for the first time in football. However, Miles previously faced the Hilltoppers as the head coach at Indiana State. Miles' Sycamores earned perhaps their biggest win with a 44-16 victory at WKU in 2011 for Indiana State's first victory over an FBS opponent since 2001.

GAME COVERAGE: Television coverage is available on the Sun Belt Network, which airs on CSS in Atlanta. In markets outside the Sun Belt footprint, the game can be seen on ESPN3. Announcers are Tom Dore, Cole Cubelic and Emily Gagnon. This will be Georgia State's ninth straight televised game.

Radio coverage is available on the GSU Radio Network, including Atlanta flagship 1340 The Fan 3. Dave Cohen is in his 31st season as the play-by-play voice of Georgia State athletics, while Harper LeBel and Brandon Leak join him from the booth, and Sam Crenshaw adds sideline coverage.

WILSON AMONG FBS ACTIVE LEADERS: Senior wide receiver Albert Wilson's career average of 19.1 yards per catch is tied for first among all active FBS players. He has 147 career receptions for 2,811 yards and 21 touchdowns.

The Port St. Lucie, Fla., native also ranks second among active players with 5,444 career all-purpose yards, fifth in kickoff return yards (2,125)and sixth in receiving yards (2,811) and ninth in yards per game (74.0).

POUNDING THE ROCK: As Georgia State continues to work toward its first victory, head coach Trent Miles uses the analogy "pounding the rock." He constantly reminds the Panthers that if you keep pounding the rock, keep working and chipping away, eventually it will break. The team even has a sledge hammer on the sideline to reinforce the image.

The rock has come close to breaking in three games this season in which the Panthers fell by a single score to Jacksonville State (32-26 in overtime), Troy (35-28) and Texas State (24-17). In each game, GSU was leading or tied in the fourth quarter.

PURPOSE-FULL: The matchup between Georgia State and Western Kentucky features the individuals who rank No. 1 and No. 2 among active FBS players in career all-purpose yards. All-purpose yardage includes rushing, receiving, kickoff returns, punt returns, and interception returns.

WKU running back Antonio Andrews leads active FBS players with 6.082 yards, including 3,124 yards rushing, 817 yards receiving, 385 punt return yards and 1,756 kickoff return yards.

Right behind him is Georgia State's Albert Wilson with 5,444 yards, including 2,811 yards receiving, 154 yards rushing, 286 punt return yards and 2,193 kickoff return yards.

ANOTHER MILESTONE FOR FERGUSON: Senior linebacker Robert Ferguson, who became Georgia State's career tackling leader Oct. 19 vs. Texas State, added another milestone at Louisiana-Monroe. The Belle Glade, Fla., native scooped up a fumble against the Warhawks and returned it 88 yards for a touchdown for the first defensive score in GSU history. Even though it was GSU's first fumble return for a score, it is not the longest fumble return by a Panthers. Demazio Skelton had a non-scoring, 93-yard return last season against Old Dominion.

The only Panther to play in every game Georgia State has played since the program began in 2010, Ferguson now has 170 career tackles.

EVANS ECLIPSES RUSHING MARK: With 25 yards against ULM, senior Travis Evans became Georgia State's all-time rushing leader. The Williston, Fla., native raised his career total to 1,428 yards as he surpassed the previous GSU record of 1,412 yards, set last season by Donald Russell (2011-12). Evans also ranks third in GSU annals with 57 receptions.

OFFENSIVE LINE SHUFFLES: With a rash of injuries on the offensive line, Georgia State has started six different combinations in eight games this season. A.J. Kaplan is the only lineman to start every game, but he has started at four different positions.

Last game at ULM, Georgia State started its third center, Ronald Martin. He left the game with an injury and was replaced by center No. 4, Mark Ruskell, seeing his first action of the season after a spring injury. Ruskell, too, was injured in the game, and guard Tim Wynn moved over to become center No. 5. Wynn was a backup center as a freshman in 2010 but had not played the position since then after moving to guard.

Georgia State University

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