After 50 days, the Georgia State Panthers finally returned home to the still freshly remodeled Georgia State Stadium. While Troy was in need a big road win, the Panthers were looking to capitalize on recent momentum. The former got its way as Troy handled Georgia State 34-10.
Troy opened the game with a Brandon Silvers interception on its third play, setting the Panthers up with great field position for their first drive of the game.
After an athletic catch off of a tipped pass by Todd Boyd, the Panther offense stalled at the 15 yard line and Georgia State made a 30 yard field goal to go up 3-0.
Troy quickly answered, using a key 15 yard pass on third down to Damion Willis to set up a 49 yard touchdown pass to John Johnson. It was Silvers’ first touchdown pass in 81 pass attempts.
After winning a quick field position battle, Georgia State attempted and missed a 49 yard field goal with just over five minutes left in the first quarter.
Troy moved the ball downfield on its next drive behind the hard running of running back Josh Anderson. Anderson and Jamarius Henderson were leaned on throughout the game due to work horse Jordan Chunn nursing an injury suffered against South Alabama.
The drive lasted 11 plays and ended with a six yard touchdown pass to Deondre Douglas to put Troy up 14-3 early in the second. The touchdown pass gave Silvers two on the day after having two through the first six games.
On the next Troy drive, the Trojans went 64 yards on six plays and scored by running a reverse on fourth and two which was taken 35 yards to the end zone by Douglas. Yes, a wide receiver reverse on fourth and two.
Georgia State finally put together another drive, using a 39 yard pass to Tamir Jones to get into Troy territory. The Trojan front seven, however, would the drive there. Following a sack by Sam Lebbie and Seth Calloway, the Panthers were forced into a third field goal attempt that was missed.
Georgia State’s defense gave the offense another shot, though, quickly forcing Troy into a three and out. Once the ball was back in Conner Manning’s hands, Georgia State moved back into Troy territory with a pair of first down throws. Manning then turned on the jets on a 15 yard run that set up the Panthers inside the redzone.
On a short field, the Troy defense prevailed again. Georgia State went for it on fourth and goal from the four yard line and Manning’s pass was batted away. The Trojans took over inside their five with 1:03 left in the half. Troy then worked the clock down to zero and went into the locker room with a 21-3 lead.
Troy outgained the Panthers 246-166 while Silvers hit nine different targets for 167 yards. Manning had 124 passing yards while three different ball carriers total 42 rushing yards on 2.6 yards per carry.
Georgia State opened the second half with the ball but couldn’t get past its own 21 yard line. After a field-flipping 58 yard punt, Troy set up shop for its first drive.
The punt ended up helping very little as Henderson took a swing pass 42 yards on the first play. Each of the next two plays were first down passes. That set up a two yard touchdown run by Anderson.
Troy may have found its kicking answer on the next drive when punter Tyler Sumpter hit a 27 yard field goal on the Trojans’ next drive. Sumpter was also perfect on all of his extra point attempts.
The two teams traded punts for the remainder of the third quarter before an early fourth quarter Georgia State punt worked out well for the Panthers. Punt returner Marcus Jones attempted to field a hard line drive inside his own 10 and muffed it. Georgia State recovered but unfortunately for them, Troy safety Cedarius Rookard made a tip-drill interception in the end zone and returned it to the eight of Georgia State on the Panthers second play.
Silvers quickly got the offense out of the shadow of its own goal post with a 47 yard pass to Tray Eafford. Getting help from a pass interference and a 14 yard pass to Henderson, Troy was able to move inside the five before stalling. Sumpter then knocked in his second field goal of the game to put Troy up 34-3.
Georgia State put together its best drive of the game in the fourth quarter, running 20 (!!) plays for 82 yards and finishing with a three yard touchdown pass to Penny Hart. Troy ran the clock out and notched a much needed win on the road.
- Missing star running back Jordan Chunn, Neal Brown opened up the playbook and gave Georgia State several looks that Troy had yet to give anyone else. Troy went vertical on more pass plays than it had all year and ran several counters and options to keep the Panther defense off-guard.
- Troy was able to limit mistakes and play with discipline. Averaging nine penalties a game, Troy had just one against the Panthers. The Trojans also turned the ball over just once early in the game and played soundly the rest of the way sans a muffed punt late that didn’t hurt the Trojans.
- Defensively, the Trojans continue to be incredibly stingy against the run. Troy was able to key in on the pass attack with the Panthers’ lackluster ground game failing to be effective.
Georgia State Breakdown
- Without a reliable ground attack, Georgia State was unable to find any rhythm on offense. Several drives stalled due to the Panthers inability to pick yards on short yardage situations.
- When the drives stalled, Georgia State was forced to attempt multiple field goals. The Panthers were only able to convert on the first one as the kicking game continues to be a thorn in Shawn Elliot’s side.
- The defense continues to be the opposite of what was expected before the season started. The secondary was expected to be among the best if not the best in the Sun Belt. Instead, its been the run defense that has shined and the secondary that has struggled.