It is safe to say that the Georgia State defense will be easier to score against compared to the Spartan defense a week ago. The Panthers have given up an average of 27.5 points per game and have forced six turnovers this season. Georgia State's defense is experienced, they return with their top five tacklers from last season. For Duck fans that aren't familiar with Georgia State the Panthers run a 3-4 defense and have won 11 games since their establishment in 2010.
The Panthers have given up 124 rushing yards and 344.5 passing yards per game. Georgia State has struggled to put pressure on opposing teams. Shawanye Lawrence is a two-year starter for the Panthers and is the best defensive lineman. Jalen Lawrence is another Lawrence that starts for Georgia State and statistically hasn't done much this year. The junior only has three tackles and has failed to get a sack.
Alonzo McGee is a transfer from UAB that has flourished in the early season. The junior took over the starting outside linebacker position in the off-season and has recorded five tackles for loss in the first two games of the year. Mcgee has two sacks this season, which is a team best. Trey Payne is the starting inside linebacker and was the second leading tackler a year ago. This season Payne has forced one fumble and has one sack.
The Panthers leader on defense is senior Joseph Peterson. The two-time all-conference linebacker led the team in tackles in 2014. Peterson was named to the preseason 2015 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List. This season Peterson continues his dominance on defense and leads the team with 17 total tackles.
If the Panthers want to shock the world the secondary will have to continue to be the strength for Georgia State. Bobby Baker is another transfer from UAB who leads the team with two interceptions. While at UAB, Baker led the team in tackles early in the year before suffering a season ending injury. Another transfer that has made an impact for Georgia State is Bruce Dukes. Dukes transferred from Central Florida in 2013 and leads the team with six pass break-ups.
X-Factor: Defensive Line
Georgia State will be physically outmatched by Oregon in the trenches. The Panthers struggle to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks and if the Oregon quarterback is given time to make a decision it will be a long day for Georgia State. If the Panthers wait for the play to come to them, then the Ducks will have no problem moving the ball downfield.