LARAMIE -- Wyoming has never played Georgia State before.

The schools are more than 1,400 miles apart. Barack Obama and Donald Trump have about as much in common as Atlanta and Laramie. But these programs, and the way they got to this point, both start with the running game.

It will be power against power Tuesday in the Arizona Bowl in Tucson.

But before we get into all of that, let's look into some numbers that define Georgia State football.


The Panthers rushing attack is ranked 14th in the nation, averaging 245 yards per game on the ground. Tra Barnett is the GSU workhorse, tallying 1,389 rushing yards this season. The senior averages six yards per carry and has scored 12 touchdowns.

How did the Panthers get to seven wins this season and knock off Tennessee on the road? This stat helped. GSU has converted 86-of-182 third downs on offense this season, which is good enough for 16th in the country. Only Ohio, Boise State and Hawaii are better in this category when it comes to Group of Five teams.

GSU doesn't shoot itself in the foot very often. In fact, the Panthers have only drawn 51 flags this season, which is tied for fifth lowest in the nation.

The Panthers aren't exactly a big threat in the kick return game. Then again, they've only had eight chances this season. Yes, eight. GSU ranks 128th out of 130 FBS teams in this category, averaging just 14.3 yards per return. Wyoming, it is ranked third in the nation, averaging nearly 30 return yards per boot. And the Cowboys have returned just nine kickoffs this season.

That's the average yards per punt for the Panthers, which ranks them in about the middle of the pack in major college football. Wyoming is just a few percentage points ahead in that category.


That's how many interceptions GSU quarterbacks have thrown this season. The Panthers don't turn the ball over much through the air. Credit senior Dan Ellington with being a cerebral signal caller, who makes very few mistakes.

On the flip side, the GSU defense doesn't pick off a ton of passes either. They have just eight. One was returned for a touchdown. The Cowboys have 11, and two taken back to the house.

GSU throws the ball more than the Pokes. You don't look shocked. Though Ellington and Co. air it out more than their Arizona Bowl opponent, that doesn't mean they are exactly lethal in that offense. They rank 93rd in the nation, averaging just 202 yards per game through the air. Wyoming sits at 125th.

That's where the Panthers rank when it comes to their punt return game. They average just 3.11 yards per return. Yikes. That's nine punts returned for 28 whole yards.

When the Pokes enter the red zone, you should love their chances to score. Everyone else has. GSU has given up 45 scores on 50 chances this season, including 36 touchdowns.

Here's the stat that has the Pokes licking their collective chops. The Panthers give up 212 yards per game on the ground. That's an average of 5.3 yards per carry. GSU has also given up 31 rushing touchdowns. Xazavian Valladay and Titus Swen, along with a seasoned offensive line, should cause plenty of fits for the Cats.


That's how many sacks the Panthers offensive line has allowed this season. Wyoming has 31 sacks this season, which is good enough for 34th in the nation. Garrett Crall and Solomon Byrd are coming.

The Panthers defense has gotten to opposing signal callers this many times this season.

That's how many points per game the Panthers score. That's 42nd overall in the nation.

That's the Panthers turnover margin this year, which has consisted of seven fumbles and eight interceptions. Wyoming is a plus-7 in this category.


The number of bowl games GSU has been in during its 10 years of existence. The program is 1-1 overall.

  • This week’s Behind the Numbers feature is brought to you by AARP Wyoming, and speaking of numbers, The U.S. Census Bureau is currently recruiting for 500,000 temporary  2020 Census Jobs across the country. Thousands will be hired to support their communities and get paid while doing it. Apply online at

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