ATLANTA — Georgia State returns to Sun Belt Conference play as the Panthers travel to UL Lafayette for a 7 p.m. ET game Saturday at Cajun Field. The game will be televised on ESPN3.
Both teams are coming off open dates. Georgia State is 1-3 overall, 0-1 in the Sun Belt, while UL Lafayette is also 1-3 but is playing its first conference game.
“We are coming off bye-week that was very much needed because we were a little banged up after the Washington game,” head coach Trent Miles said. “We were able to get some good work in last week and come back this week with a fresh attitude as we get into the meat of our conference schedule.”
Georgia State quarterback Nick Arbuckle leads the Sun Belt in passing yards (328.8 pg) and total offense (333.2 pg), ranking in the NCAA top 15 in both categories. As a team, the Panthers lead the league in passing offense (eighth in NCAA) and are third in scoring (30.2) and total offense (456.8). Georgia State also averages 125.2 yards rushing per game.
Arbuckle’s top targets include wide receivers Robert Davis (20 receptions, 242 yards, 1 TD), LynQuez Blair (19 receptions, 254 yards, 3 TD) and Donovan Harden (17 receptions, 249 yards, 1 TD) and tight end Joel Ruiz (15 receptions, 223, yards, 2 TD). Ruiz is tied for second nationally among tight ends in receptions per game (5.0) and receiving yards per game (74.3).
Linebacker Joseph Peterson leads the Georgia State defense, averaging 13.2 tackles per game to rank second in the Sun Belt and sixth nationally. He is GSU’s career tackling leader with 221. Outside linebacker Jarrell Robinson leads the league with seven tackles for loss.
Junior placekicker Wil Lutz is Georgia State’s career leader in points by kicking with 104.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are the defending Sun Belt co-champions and have played in three straight bowl games under head coach Mark Hudspeth. UL Lafayette quarterback Terrance Broadway, the preseason Offensive Player of the Year in the Sun Belt, is averaging 169.0 yards passing per game with four touchdowns. Another preseason all-conference choice, running back Elijah McGuire, adds 60.2 yards rushing per game.
“They have a heckuva team,” Miles said “They’re well-coached and they’re getting healthy again. They will be full throttle against us, and we’re going to have to go down there and play our best to have an opportunity to win.”
GAME COVERAGE: Television coverage is ESPN3. Every Georgia State game this season will be televised, including every Sun Belt Conference game on one of the ESPN platforms.
Radio coverage is available on the Grady Health System Georgia State Radio Network, including Atlanta flagship 1340 The Fan 3 as well as Georgia State’s WRAS 88.5 FM. Dave Cohen is in his 32nd 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.
GEORGIA STATE VS. UL LAFAYETTE: Georgia State and UL Lafayette are meeting for the second time after the Ragin’ Cajuns won last year’s game 35-21 at the Georgia Dome. The Panthers tied the game late in the third quarter on Albert Wilson’s 22-yard touchdown catch. After ULL regained the lead with a 75-yard touchdown drive, Georgia State drove deep into the Cajuns’ territory with a chance to tie the game again, but the Panthers were stopped on 4th-and-3 at the ULL 16-yard line.
TACKLES RECORD FOR JOE PETE: Junior inside linebacker Joseph Peterson recorded 13 tackles against Air Force to raise his career total to a Georgia State-record 207. He surpassed the previous Panther mark of 199 by Robert Ferguson.
The 6-0, 225-pounder is leading the Panthers in tackles for the third straight season, averaging 13.3 hits per game to rank second in the Sun Belt Conference and sixth in the NCAA. In 2013 he was also third in the Sun Belt with 9.4 tackles per game, setting the GSU season record with 103 hits.
After earning honorable mention All-Sun Belt honors last fall, Peterson entered 2014 as a preseason all-conference pick.
Peterson opened the 2014 season with a game-high 11 tackles against Abilene Christian, plus a key interception in the fourth quarter that helped swing the momentum in Georgia State’s favor and set up the Panthers’ comeback. Against New Mexico State, he collected 15 tackles–one shy of the GSU single-game record that he set last year against Troy.
HERE’S TO YOU, MR. ROBINSON: Senior linebacker Jarrell Robinson became Georgia State’s career leader in tackles for loss against Air Force. He now has 19 tackles behind the line of scrimmage to surpass Jake Muasau (16.5).
Through four games this season, Robinson leads the Sun Belt Conference and ranks seventh in the NCAA with seven tackles for loss (1.8 per game).
Robinson enjoyed the best game of his career in the Panthers’ season-opening victory over Abilene Christian. After moving from inside linebacker to the outside, the Portal, Ga., native collected four tackles for loss against ACU, including two sacks, and a pass breakup. He tied the single-game mark for tackles for loss in that game.
TOP RECEIVING TIGHT ENDS: Tight end Joel Ruiz is the Panthers’ fourth-leading receiver with 15 receptions, 223 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-4, 240-pound junior is tied for second nationally among tight ends in receptions per game (5.0) and is second in yards per game (74.3).
Receptions Per Game by Tight End
5.2 Cam Serigne, Wake Forest
5.0 Joel Ruiz, Georgia State
5.0 Bradley Miller, Texas State
Receiving Yards Per Game by Tight End
75.0 Mitchell Henry, WKU
74.3 Joel Ruiz, Georgia State