Georgia Southern’s season continued to spiral downward in a hurry as rival Georgia State jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game and refused to give it up for the remainder of the game.
Georgia Southern put up a fight in the first half to get the game back to 20-17 at the half, but two turnovers – one in each half – led to 10 points for the Panthers that kept the game out of reach for the Eagles. The first was a fumble on Georgia Southern’s second offensive play, which led to a touchdown and a 13-0 lead. The second was a fumble in the 3rd quarter that led to a field goal after Georgia Southern was called for one of the worst targeting penalties in the history of the targeting rule.
That put the score at 30-17 late in the 3rd quarter, and with Eagles QB Kevin Ellison hurting, Georgia Southern could not mount an effective comeback. They cut the game to within 6 points on a late LA Ramsby touchdown, but couldn’t get the ball back with enough time to overcome the 6 point lead that remained with the final score 30-24.
Give credit where it’s due. Georgia State had a great offensive plan that involved picking on the middle of the field where Georgia Southern has shown a weakness all year long. The Panthers had little running game, but a couple of deep throws early in the game and a ton of intermediate routes over the middle picked apart the Eagles defensive backfield and let the Panthers convert when they needed to most.
Georgia Southern had a number of big stops – including one on the first drive of the game – that were negated by bad penalties. Undisciplined play on both sides of the ball has been a hallmark of the Eagles under Tyson Summers this season. The Panthers played a relatively clean game and did everything they needed to do to come away with a win and the series lead in this young rivalry.