Georgia State’s Quad Brown making strides at QB

Georgia State quarterback Quad Brown has had an interesting start to his career.

In less than two months he’s gone from being an unknown quantity to the Football Writers Association of America’s Freshman All-American watch list. Despite that huge leap, Brown continues to learn on the job and has set some high standards.

“He can throw a little bit, he’s a great athlete who can stretch you in the running game,” Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott said. “His decision-making is improved, and he’s got a good understanding of the offense, and I’m pleased with that.”

A redshirt freshman, Brown leads the Sun Belt Conference and ranks 14th in FBS with 307 yards per game. The only freshman with better numbers is Spencer Rattler of Oklahoma. Last week Brown tied a school record with five touchdowns against Arkansas State, throwing for 314 yards and rushing for another 83.

“He does a lot of good things and is playing at a high level,” Elliott said. “We didn’t know how quickly that would come. We knew we had some surrounding pieces, but didn’t know how quickly he could develop and manage the offense. He’s done a good job. He still makes some bonehead decisions, but being a freshman, you’ve got to go through that. He’s where we’d hoped he’d be.”

Brown will need to continue his progress this week when the Panthers (1-2, 0-2 Sun Belt) play at Troy (3-1, 1-0) at 4 p.m. Saturday. The game will be shown on ESPNU and can be heard locally on WRAS-FM 88.5.

Georgia State easily could be 3-0. Instead, thanks to late-game breakdowns, the Panthers stand at a decisive point in the season.

“Three or four series, and we’re sitting here a whole different team and a different outlook,” Elliott said. “Now we’ve got to dig our cleats in and try not to get pushed off the cliff.”

Georgia State has shown the ability to score points; the Panthers rank No. 4 in FBS with 44 points per game. But they were unable to hold a late lead against Louisiana-Lafayette, losing in overtime, and couldn’t get a late stop against Arkansas State in losing a wild shootout on the road.

“With a couple different series, we could be 3-0,” Elliott said. “We’re a confident football team.”

The Panthers won’t know until later this week whether running back Destin Coates, wide receiver Cornelius McCoy and defensive coordinator Nate Fuqua will be allowed to participate this week. The two players and the coach were unavailable last week because of COVID-19 concerns.

The two players were missed less than expected. Coates, who had rushed for 263 yards in the first two games, was replaced by junior Tucker Gregg, who rushed for a career-high 142 yards. McCoy, who had 72 catches last season, was replaced as the go-to target by Sam Pinckney, who caught six passes, three for touchdowns, and a career-high 146 yards.

This should be a more difficult task for the Georgia State offense. Troy has allowed only 20 points in its three victories and is led by linebacker Carlton Martial, who was voted the Sun Belt’s preseason defensive player of the year. The undersized junior from Mobile – who plays with an untied left shoe -- is a former walk-on who is currently among the top 20 on the school’s career list for total tackles and is 10th in tackles for loss.

Georgia State won last year’s game 52-33 in Atlanta, but Troy leads the series 5-2. Georgia State has never won at Troy.