Panthers Run Away With Victory Over Troy, Clinch Bowl Eligibility
The Georgia State Panthers (6-2, 3-1 in Sun Belt) made a statement in more ways than one as they ran away to a 52-33 victory over the Troy Trojans (3-4, 1-2) to earn bowl eligibility for the second time in three years under coach Shawn Elliott. Tra Barnett led the way with an historic day, tallying 242 rushing yards and two touchdowns, breaking the school’s single-season rushing record, the single-game rushing yardage record, the all-time rushing touchdown record and the all-time rushing yardage record. Seth Paige added 109 yards of his own, many on a 65-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that busted the game open. As advertised, Kaleb Barker had an impressive night through the air for Troy, passing for 421 yards and two touchdowns.
Troy entered the game sporting a vaunted rush defense – allowing just an average 93.3 yards per game on the ground, good for best in the Sun Belt. But the Panthers made it clear from drive 1 that they were going to play their game, running it seven of the 10 plays and finding the end zone on a 19-yard scamper by QB Dan Ellington. This theme continued, as Georgia State found success all night in the ground game. The Panthers were made to rue an interception thrown just outside the Troy red zone – the Trojans were able to march down the field and tie the game. Georgia State was able to respond, adding the next two touchdowns and eventually taking a 28-14 lead into the halftime break.
In the second half, it was more of the same from the Panthers – run, run, run – punctuated by a 16-play, 80-yard drive that took nearly 7 minutes off the clock to make it 35-14. Troy answered on their ensuing drive to cut back to two scores. But after Troy’s failed onside kick attempt gave GSU favorable field position, the Panthers took advantage – adding a 29-yard Brandon Wright field goal to push the lead back up to three scores at 38-21. Troy’s offense continued to score to keep their team in the game but in the end, the Panthers ground-and-pound was too much for an increasingly-tiring Troy defensive unit. Georgia State iced the game away with two long touchdown drives in the 4th quarter, simply running out the clock on a high-octane Troy offense.
Georgia State improves to 4-0 at home on the season and heads into their bye week on the high of clinching the third bowl berth in program history. The Panthers are next in action in Monroe, Louisiana on November 9, as they head to the Pelican State for a intradivision showdown with the Warhawks of UL Monroe. Kickoff goes at 5pm Eastern.