Difficult Sun Belt schedule awaits GSU football

Shawn Elliot, head coach of Georgia State, yells at the referee during the Georgia State University vs. Georgia Southern University football game on Saturday, November 28, 2020, at Georgia State University Stadium in Atlanta. Georgia State defeated Georgia Southern 30-24. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Shawn Elliot, head coach of Georgia State, yells at the referee during the Georgia State University vs. Georgia Southern University football game on Saturday, November 28, 2020, at Georgia State University Stadium in Atlanta. Georgia State defeated Georgia Southern 30-24. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Credit: Christina Matacotta

The Georgia State football team didn’t get any breaks when the Sun Belt Conference released the league’s schedule on Monday.

After opening the season with the most competitive non-conference schedule in the program’s history, the Panthers jump into league play against Appalachian State, the league’s bellwether program, to start Sun Belt play on Oct. 2. Georgia State has never beaten Appalachian State.

After a road trip to Louisiana-Monroe on Oct. 9, the Panthers return to Center Parc Stadium to play Texas State on Oct. 23.

Then the fun really starts. Georgia State will go nearly a month between home dates and faces a trio of the league’s best. The Panthers travel to Statesboro to play rival Georgia Southern on Oct. 30, visit Louisiana for a nationally televised Thursday night game on Nov. 4, then visit reigning Sun Belt champion Coastal Carolina on Nov. 13.

Georgia State beat Georgia Southern in 2020, lost a heartbreaking overtime game to West Division champion Louisiana – a team it has never beaten -- and suffered a 51-0 thrashing against Coastal, a loss that ironically seemed to turn the season around. Coastal Carolina was 11-1 and finished No. 14, while Louisiana went 10-1 and was ranked No. 15.

GSU completes the season with home games against Arkansas State on Nov. 20 and Troy on Nov. 27.

The non-conference schedule features the home opener against Army on Sept. 4, at North Carolina on Sept. 11, home against Charlotte on Sept. 18 and at Auburn on Sept. 25.

Georgia State is coming off a 6-4 season, their second straight winning season, and a victory over Western Kentucky in the LendingTree Bowl. The Panthers return all 11 offensive starters from a team that averaged 33.3 points and nine starters on defense from a team that finished No. 7 in the nation in sacks.

GEORGIA STATE 2021 SCHEDULE

Sept. 4 vs. Army

Sept. 11 at North Carolina

Sept. 18 vs. Charlotte

Sept. 25 at Auburn

Oct. 2 vs. Appalachian State

Oct. 9 at Louisiana-Monroe

Oct. 23 vs. Texas State

Oct. 30 at Georgia Southern

Nov. 4 at Louisiana

Nov. 13 at Coastal Carolina

Nov. 20 vs. Arkansas State

Nov. 27 vs. Troy

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