Bartlett was present when Georgia State scored the program’s game win at Tennessee. And he also remembers the next game, a shootout against Furman, whose quarterback Darren Grainger is now the starter at Georgia State.
Only once did Bartlett come close to losing a game. This happened a year ago in the season opener against Army when he had plantar fasciitis and could barely walk. But he played the pain, something he did over and over again.
“That 61 is definitely a testament to my health and it’s a testament to our training staff for preparing and keeping me healthy for the games and moving forward each week.”
Center Malik Sumter will also play his last game. The Irmo, SC native entered the program at the same time as Bartlett — they were roommates that first season — and started 52 straight games and will play in his 58th game.
“Just to see the growth of the program,” Sumter said. “We are leaving the state of Georgia in a better place than when we arrived here.”
Bartlett and his teammates have one more game, Saturday at the Marshall in Huntington, W.Va. Kickoff is at noon and the game can be watched on ESPN-Plus and listened to live on the GSU Athletics App or delayed on WRAS-FM 88.5 at 7:00 p.m.
Georgia State (4-7, 3-4 Sun Belt) will see its three-game bowl streak end after back-to-back losses to Louisiana-Monroe and James Madison. The Panthers have never faced Marshall (7-4, 4-3), one of four teams to join the Sun Belt Conference this year.
Although the Panthers were eliminated from postseason consideration, Elliott said the focus hasn’t changed. He said the team is healthier than it has been in weeks and that the motivation is to win the game.
“We’re going to play football to win, so the best players are going to go out there and play,” Elliott said. “The guys who lead the way have the ability to go out there and give us the best chance to win, and they’re going to pull it off.
“We have the opportunity to finish the season with some momentum and play a good Marshall team. Like I said, even though we’re sitting here at 4-7, I still feel like we’re one of the best teams in the league when we’re healthy.
The game will feature two teams that have dominated the takeaway. Each forced 25 turnovers, tied for third most in FBS. Georgia State set a school record with 13 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries. The Panthers posted a school-record four fumble recoveries in Saturday’s loss to James Madison, with defensive end Javon Denis getting the second scoop-and-score of his career.
In the last four games, the trio of Thomas Gore (five tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks), Denis (seven tackles for loss, three sacks) and Jeffery Clark (five tackles for loss, three sacks) have totaled 17 tackles per loss and 10.5 sacks. Linebacker Shamar McCollum also had five tackles for loss and three sacks during that stretch.
Receiver Jamari Thrash has 51 receptions and six touchdowns and ranks second in the Sun Belt with 955 rushing yards. He is looking to join Albert Wilson and Penny Hart in becoming just the third player in program history to reach 1,000 yards.