Coach Trent Miles said he doesn’t expect that running back Krysten Hammon will exceed the number of carries he had in Saturday’s 34-31 loss to New Mexico State.
Hammon, despite being 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, had 25 carries for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
“That’s his limit,” Miles said. “He’s a true freshman. They aren’t physically ready. It’s different if they are built like (Todd) Gurley or (Nick) Chubb (of Georgia). The physical stature of a small back, until they get a couple of years in the weight room, it’s difficult to carry that load.”
Hammon said he’s comfortable with 25 carries and that he improves the more he gets the ball. He estimated he carried 30 times per game in high school.
Despite missing two quarters in the season opener with a quad strain, Hammon is the team’s leading rusher entering Saturday’s game against Air Force at the Georgia Dome (2 p.m.), with 38 carries for 197 yards.
Miles said the other backs didn’t get more carries in last week’s game because of the circumstances.
Hammon “was rolling,” so Miles didn’t want to take him out. Also, the team rarely got into any short-yardage situations that would have allowed them to use Duvall Smith.
Kyler Neal subbed for Hammon and rushed six times for 26 yards against New Mexico State. Miles said Jonathan Jean-Bart is working his way into the rotation after missing several weeks with an ankle injury.
Neither may get a lot of chances against the Falcons, who are tough on runners. They are allowing an average of 57 rushing yards per game this season and 2.0 yards per carry.
Suspensions: Safety Bryan Williams and wide receiver Avery Sweeting are suspended for Saturday’s game. Both violated an athletic-department rule during the spring semester.
Miles had the option to sit them in any one of the first three games.
Williams had an interception and recovered a fumble in last week’s game. Tarris Batiste will reclaim that starting spot. Batiste was suspended from the first half of last week’s game after being ejected in the second half of the season-opening win.
Sweeting has 10 catches for 140 yards and a touchdown this season.
Ticket sales: Hosting Air Force in Georgia State’s first non-conference FBS game is positively impacting ticket sales, according to senior associate athletic director Rob Clark.
Projected announced attendance for Saturday’s game is 15,000, of which 40 percent of the tickets that will be distributed are tied in some way to Air Force.
More than 400 tickets were asked for by Wounded Warrior Project. More than 500 were asked for by the Veterans Ticket Foundation and a yet-to-be-tallied amount of tickets have been purchased by members of the Panther Athletic Club to be given to the group, Seats for Soldiers.
Additionally, the game is expected to draw a large crowd of Falcons supporters because the date is close to the founding of the Air Force on Sept. 18, 1947.
Line solid: Assistant coach Harold Etheridge said there were far fewer missed assignments by the offensive line in Saturday’s game than there were in the season opener.
The Panthers rushed for 162 yards and averaged 4.2 yards per rush, but Etheridge said missed assignments cost them too many other yards.
“It’s about execution,” Etheridge said.
He was pleased that the line suffered no serious injuries. Tackle A.J. Kaplan was a concern because of a sprained ankle, but he played throughout the game.
Four of the five starters from Saturday’s game should continue. The only change may come at guard, where starter Garrett Gorringe is battling Steve Wolgamott, Davis Moore and Akil Hawkins.
TV information: The Pac-12 Network will televise the Panthers’ game at Washington on Sept. 20. TV time is 6 p.m.
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