Five things to know about Georgia State ahead of LSU’s Week 12 contest

LSU gets a break from conference play this week with Georgia State heading to Baton Rouge. Saturday will be the first time these two programs have met in their respective histories.

Georgia State is already bowl eligible at 6-4, making it the sixth time the Panthers have reach bowl eligibility in just 12 years at the FBS level.

Trent Miles, currently on LSU’s support staff, was responsible for one of those bowl trips back in 2013. The Panthers are now led by Shawn Elliott, who’s in his seventh year with the program.

Here are five things you should know about Georgia State prior to kickoff on Saturday night.

Season review

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia State entered the year feeling some pressure. It had its first losing season since 2018 last year and needed to get back on track.

The Panthers did just that, jumping out to a 4-0 start before losing to Troy. Georgia State bounced back with wins over Marshall and at Louisiana.

But Elliott’s group encountered a skid. The Panthers have dropped three straight to fall to 6-4. On the road against Georgia Southern and at home against JMU are respectable losses, but GSU just lost 42-14 to an App State team that’s been up and down.

Georgia State ranks 89th in SP+ and 98th in FEI.

Veteran QB leads solid passing attack

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Grainger is a third-year starter for the Panthers after spending his first two years at Furman. He’s got experience, having played his first collegiate snaps in 2018.

When Georgia State takes to the air, its efficient. The Panthers rank 53rd in EPA/pass and 52nd in passing success rate. And according to PFF, Grainger is the 10th best graded QB in the G5.

Grainger’s completing 64.5% of his passes, a career high, to go along with 21 total touchdowns.

We know this LSU defense allows some big plays. Grainger is good enough to do some damage.

Panthers' can't defend the pass

Georgia State struggles to defend the pass, which could spell trouble for the Panthers against LSU’s elite passing attack. GSU ranks 90th in 20+ yard pass plays allowed and 129th in 10+ yard pass plays allowed.

Not only does this unit allow explosive plays, but it isn’t efficient either. Georgia State ranks 123rd in passing success rate allowed.

The Panthers have allowed teams to pass for over 300 yards on four separate occasions, including allowing 408 to FCS opponent Rhode Island.

GSU’s allowed 40 points in three straight games, meaning Jayden Daniels will have some chances to boost those stats as the Heisman race heats up.

Georgia State isn't scared of the P5

Syndication: Knoxville
Syndication: Knoxville

Georgia State is in the Sun Belt, but its had its fair share of contests against P5 opponents.

Most recently, the Panthers played at South Carolina last year, where they gave the Gamecocks some trouble in the first-half. The following week, they came within one score of North Carolina.

In 2021, GSU played Auburn close and in 2019, it beat Tennessee, winning 38-30 in Neyland Stadium.

Elliot typically has his team up to the challenge and this group won’t shy away from the Tiger Stadium lights.

Players to know

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

RB Marcus Carroll

Caroll is one of the top backs in the country. With 1,201 rushing yards, he ranks third nationally and leads the G5. He’s the definition of a feature back, leading the country in carries, first downs, and 10+ yard runs.

LSU needs to tackle on Saturday night.

WR Robert Lewis

Lewis is the Panthers leading receiver with 727 yards and seven touchdowns. He ranks sixth in the Sun Belt in yards per route run.

DE Javon Denis

Denis leads Georgia State with 18 pressures to go along with 16 stops. The Panthers don’t have a ton of playmakers on this defense right now, so they’ll be counting on him.

Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire