One Georgia State record broken, another coming

The record may not last long, but running back Travis Evans can become Georgia State’s all-time leading rusher with 10 yards in Saturday’s game at Louisiana-Monroe.

“That’s crazy,” he said. “I had no clue.”

Donald Russell holds the record with 1,412 yards, set in the 2011 and ’12 seasons.

“It will be a great honor to go out my senior year as the leading rusher at Georgia State, but that’s not in my focus,” said Evans, a native of Williston, Fla., which is memorialized with the tattoo of a red “W” on his right shoulder. “It will be better if it happens with (a win). That will make it feel so much better.”

Evans said he would like to break the record with a power run up the middle for 99 yards and a touchdown.

“I hope he gets the 10 yards early,” coach Trent Miles said.

That Evans likely will break the record shows his dedication. He began the 2011 season as the starter before Russell, a transfer from Kentucky, took over. Evans was No. 2 on the depth chart to start 2012 before taking over as starter when Russell sustained a season-ending injury eight games into the season.

Miles replaced the retired Bill Curry, and Evans, who at 5-11, 190 pounds doesn’t have the ideal size for his straight-ahead running style, again dropped on the depth chart. Evans never thought about leaving, saying his “mama didn’t raise a quitter.”

He said having to prove himself over and over irked his competitive side, but he said he never let it negatively affect how he played.

Evans kept running hard during practices — often taking every carry to the opposite end zone in every drill before turning around and sprinting back to the huddle.

He regained the starting spot after the season-opening loss to Samford. Evans has rushed for 308 yards this season with one touchdown, a 65-yard scamper at West Virginia.

“It shows my persistence,” he said. “I’m never going to be satisfied because you can’t be satisfied playing the game of football because then you get complacent. When you get complacent, you stop working hard. I try to find new motivation every day, so I’ll keep working harder and harder.”

Another record broken: Linebacker Robert Ferguson said he thinks that being the only player to appear in every game in Georgia State's history is more impressive than holding the school's career record for tackles, a mark he set in the second quarter of Saturday's loss at Texas State.

With his second tackle, Ferguson notched the 158th of his career, breaking the record set by Mark Hogan. Ferguson added six more in the game to push the mark to 164. Ferguson said he was told before the game that could break the record, but he wasn’t thinking about it during the game.

“It means a lot, but what’s more important is the rest of the games,” Ferguson said. “That’s on my mind more than making tackles.”

The record came in Ferguson’s 40th consecutive game, which is also the number of games Georgia State has played in its three-plus seasons.

Ferguson agreed that the consistency reflects the dedication he has toward fitness, the classroom and studying film.

“I don’t know many people that have played in every game their whole college career,” he said.

Injury update: The offensive line should get a boost from the return of left tackle Ulrick John, who missed Saturday's game because of a concussion. The group may also see the return of left guard Tim Wynn (ankle), who missed the game, too. A.J. Kaplan filled in at left tackle, and Garrett Gorringe played left guard Saturday.

The Panthers rushed for 160 yards, their best mark this season.

The line has used five combinations in seven games because of injuries.

“It’s been a challenge,” offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski said.

The lack of continuity may also have kept the line from finding a leader. Assistant coach Harold Etheridge said Monday that he’s still looking for one of the players to step forward.

The starting group will lose two seniors, John and Grant King, after this season. Mile said Kaplan, a junior, has the potential to lead the group.

First win: Miles said that his demeanor likely won't change whenever the Panthers pick up their first victory.

“I’m the same guy,” he said. “Never too high, never too low.”

But he badly wants his players to experience the joy of victory.

“I want them to feel the taste of success after they’ve trained so hard,” he said.

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