GEORGIA STATE (4-0, 1-0) vs. TROY (2-2, 0-1)
Saturday, Sept. 30 | 7 p.m. | Center Parc Stadium
RADIO: Georgia State Radio Network on WRAS-FM 88.5 and the GSU athletics mobile app
THE KICKOFF: Off to a 4-0 start for the first time in program history, Georgia State hosts Troy Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Center Parc Stadium.
> Georgia State (4-0, 1-0 Sun Belt) achieved another milestone this week by receiving a vote in the US LBM Coaches’ Poll, the Panthers’ first-ever in either national poll.
> Georgia State is one of 23 4-0 teams in FBS and one of only five non-P5 teams (Liberty, Air Force, Fresno State and JMU are the others).
> The Panthers improved to 4-0 with a 30-17 win at Coastal Carolina last Thursday night. Marcus Carroll rushed for 150 yards and his FBS-leading eighth TD of the season to back a strong performance by the GSU defense. QB Darren Grainger passed for 191 yards and one TD while rushing for 47 yards and another score.
> Troy (2-2, 0-1 Sun Belt), the 2022 Sun Belt champion, is coming off a 27-24 win over WKU.
> QB Darren Grainger is second in the Sun Belt in total offense with 314.3 ypg (No. 15 in FBS) while completing 70 percent of his passes for 994 yards and seven touchdowns.
> Grainger’s top target is Robert Lewis, who leads the Panthers with 20 receptions for 386 yards and five touchdowns.
> Lewis is No. 1 in the Sun Belt and No. 6 in FBS with five touchdown receptions. He is second in the Sun Belt in receiving yards (96.5 per game).
> Lewis has caught 12 touchdown passes in his last 13 games.
> RB Marcus Carroll is No. 5 in FBS in rushing with 127.0 yards per game and No. 1 with eight touchdowns.
> Carroll rushed for a career-high 184 yards and three touchdowns in the opener vs. Rhode Island and then followed with 107 yards and three more scores vs. UConn before his 150-yard effort against Coastal.
> GSU’s top offensive lineman is super senior left tackle Travis Glover, a Preseason First-Team All-Sun Belt selection who has 49 career starts.
> Georgia State leads the Sun Belt and ranks No. 22 in FBS in rushing defense at 89.2 yards per game. The Panthers held UConn to 50 yards rushing on 31 attempts and Charlotte to 88 yards on 29 carries.
> Grainger completed 27 of 33 passes (82 percent) for 466 yards for the second-best single-game in program history, just five yards behind Nick Arbuckle’s 2015 school record of 471 yards. He added 23 yards rushing for 489 yards of total offense, also No. 2 in GSU annals.
> Grainger rushed for one touchdown and threw three TD passes, including a 97-yard scoring pass to Lewis for the longest play in GSU history. He also hit Tailique Williams for a 78-yard touchdown and connected with Lewis for a 38-yard TD and a 59-yard completion to the 1-yard line to set up another score.
> Lewis broke the GSU single-game record with 220 receiving yards on just six catches. Williams added a career-high 129 yards on five receptions.
> Grainger’s big day earned him Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time in his career. He was also named to the Davey O’Brien Award’s Great 8 List for Week 3 and a Manning Award Star of the Week.
> Grainger and Lewis were also tabbed to the PFF College Team of the Week.
TURN, TURN, TURN: The Georgia State defense has forced seven turnovers in the first four games to rank No. 12 in FBS.
> That gives the Panthers 32 turnovers in the last 16 games.
> Georgia State ranked No. 11 in FBS in 2022 with a school-record 25 turnovers gained (13 interceptions, 12 fumble recoveries).
> Senior linebacker Jontrey Hunter has forced a fumble in each of the first two games to give him six in his career, tying the GSU record.
> CB Gavin Pringle, the grad transfer from Bucknell, leads GSU with two interceptions.
> The Panthers grabbed a school-record four fumble recoveries last season at James Madison and returned two of them for touchdowns, also a first.
> Senior ILB Jordan Veneziale ranked third in FBS with three fumble recoveries in 2022. His five career fumble recoveries are tied for the GSU career lead.
> Senior DE Javon Denis returned a fumble 21 yards for a touchdown vs. James Madison, the second scoop-and-score of his career. He is the only player in GSU history with two fumble returns for scores, and just the third player in school history with two defensive touchdowns.
SERIES VS. TROY: Troy holds a 5-4 lead in the series, which began in 2013, but Georgia State has won three in a row.
> The Panthers won the last meeting 37-10 in 2021 in Atlanta. Darren Grainger threw two touchdowns, Georgia State rushed for 257 yards and the GSU defense collected five sacks and limited Troy to 57 yards rushing.
> Georgia State also won 36-34 at Troy in 2020 and 52-33 in Atlanta in 2019.
> GSU is 2-1 against Troy at Center Parc Stadium and 3-2 in Atlanta.
MORE ON MARCUS: Marcus Carroll showed that he is ready to carry the load for the Georgia State rushing attack with 508 yards and eight touchdowns in the first three games.
> His career-high 184 yards vs. Rhode Island is the fourth-best single-game in GSU history.
> In the first two games of 2023, Carroll rushed for 144 yards on 12 carries in the fourth quarter.
> Against URI, he rushed for 94 yards on just eight carries in the fourth quarter. After rallying to take a 35-28 lead, Georgia State faced 3rd-and-2 at their own 25 when Carroll broke through the line and raced 63 yards to down the 12, then finished the job on the next play with a 12-yard TD run for a 42-28 advantage with eight minutes left.
> After rushing for 150 yards in the win at Coastal Carolina, Carroll now has three of the Top 10 single-game performances in program history, all in his last eight games (184 vs. URI/2023; 164 vs. USM/2022; 150 vs. CCU/2023).
> After topping the 1,000-yard mark against UConn, Carroll now ranks eighth in GSU history with 1,294 yards. His 17 career rushing touchdowns rank third.