Panthers Finish Strong, Honor Seniors in 28-15 Win Over South Alabama
Georgia State (7-4, 4-3 in Sun Belt) overcame a slow start and took control on Senior Day, defeating South Alabama (1-10, 0-7 in Sun Belt) 28-15 to set a new program record in regular season victories and to stop their two-game losing skid. Senior QB Dan Ellington showed resilience after his struggles last time out against App State, putting together a 21-for-27 afternoon for 207 passing yards and a touchdown. Tra Barnett paced the Panthers on offense with 128 yards and a score on 23 carries. For the Jaguars, Desmond Trotter fought all game, finishing 12-25 for 218 yards and two passing touchdowns, and Tra Minter had 70 yards rushing.
Georgia State’s offense was slow out of the gate, moving backwards and going three-and-out after receiving to start the game. South Alabama took advantage of a short field as a result of a poor punt to strike first, taking a 3-0 lead through a Diego Guajardo 34-yard field goal. The Panthers were able to put a drive together at the third time of asking, putting together a 13-play, 82-yard drive – capped off by a Destin Coates 7-yard TD scamper – and took their first lead of the game.
The Jaguars couldn’t take advantage of a 55-yard return by RB Tra Minter on the ensuing kickoff, turning it over on downs inside the Georgia State 40. Ellington started finding a rhythm in the passing game and the Panthers pushed their advantage to 14-3 at the break after a 5-yard Devin Gentry touchdown reception, his second in as many games.
The South Alabama offense under the freshman QB Trotter continued to sputter early in the second half, going three-and-out on their two of their first three drives of the half. After being held to 61 yards rushing in the first two quarters, Georgia State came out to prove a point in the ground attack – pounding the rock early and often. Tra Barnett was the main beneficiary, scoring from 2 yards out to make it 21-3 on a drive where he also broke off runs of 18 and 32 yards. Roger Carter had a big game, stepping up with 7 catches and 87 yards. The junior tight end capped off his excellent work on the first play of the final quarter with a four-yard TD reception that made it a four-score.
South Alabama went down swinging, putting together a long drive into the Panther red zone, but a turnover-on-downs inside the 10 after two straight stops on runs up the middle all but put the game away. Trotter struck late with two passing touchdowns – one to Jalen Wayne, the other to Jalen Tolbert – but it was too little, too late for the Jaguars.
The Panthers improve to 5-1 at home on the season – a program-best home record – and this, their seventh win, marks a program high in the regular season as well. Georgia State will finish their regular season against that team down south, the Georgia Southern Eagles, next Saturday in Statesboro, Georgia. Kickoff is TBD.
Photos by Jordan Crawford for THERSdayNight.com