For anyone who might have thought there would be a letdown after last week’s big win at Tennessee, the Georgia State Panthers proved Saturday night that the focus is real.
Dan Ellington passed for 362 yards and five touchdowns as the Panthers (2-0) defeated Furman 48-42 at Georgia State Stadium. The 38-30 win over the Volunteers of the SEC might have had some wow factor attached to it, but the win over the nationally-ranked Paladins (1-1) before a crowd of 20,351 at Pete Petit Field might have meant more because of how it was achieved.
Furman scored with ease on its first three possessions and held a 20-3 lead early in the second quarter, stunning a Georgia State defense which didn’t allow its 20th point to Tennessee until the end of the third quarter. Meanwhile, the Georgia State offense had only 81 yards of total offense, and 65 of those came on the first drive of the game.
And then the turnaround happened.
» Tra Barnett scored the Panthers’ first touchdown of the game on an 18-yard run with 5:32 remaining in the first half, the final play of a dominating 16-play, 94-yard drive.
» Ellington connected with Terrance Dixon on a 10-yard touchdown pass as the halftime clock expired.
» Ellington had TD passes of 26 yards to Sam Pinckney (which gave the Panthers their first lead of the game), 2 yards to Roger Carter and 20 yards to Aubry Payne in the third quarter.
» The fifth TD pass, Ellington’s longest of the game, was a 44-yarder to Cornelius McCoy early in the fourth quarter.
When the dust settled, Ellington had a career high in passing yards, a school record with the five TD passes and 448 yards of total offense.
“Dan did a phenomenal job orchestrating the offense,” Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott said after the game. “Dan is a good player, but he is only as good as the people around him. They all make him who he is. Offensively, it was a great night for all.”
And for the Panthers it was their second emotional win in as many weeks - and the first 2-0 start in program history.
“It’s been an incredible seven days [for this football program],” Elliott said. “Very proud of our football team for this win. Our players deserve all the credit for the win.”
The defense allowed more than 500 yards and a season high in points, but had its key moments as well:
» Holding Furman on four straight possessions midway through the game - led by Trajan Stephens-McQueen and Ed Curney - while the offense engineered its comeback
» A sack by Dontae Wilson and a deflected pass by Remy Lazarus helped to halt one drive while a Lazarus interception stopped another.
» Shutting down Furman on its final possession with the game still in doubt in the final two minutes.
“We faced adversity, we didn’t fold, we didn’t flinch,” Elliott added. “Was not sharp at all, we’ve gotta correct some things. We got to get ready to play Western Michigan. It is coming real quickly. Time stands still for no one.”
Furman -- 13 -- 7 -- 8 -- 14 -- 42
Georgia State -- 3 -- 14 -- 21 -- 10 -- 48
Furman -- Ryan Miller 18-yard pass from Darren Grainger (kick blocked), 12:37
Georgia State -- Brandon Wright 29-yard field goal, 9:05
Furman -- Thomas Gordon 32-yard pass from Grainger (Grayson Atkins kick), 3:34
Furman -- Devin Wynn 3-yard run (Atkins kick), 12:55
Georgia State -- Tra Barnett 18-yard run (Wright kick), 2:47
Georgia State -- Terrance Dixon 10-yard pass from Dan Ellington (Wright kick), 0:00
Georgia State -- Sam Pinckney 26-yard pass from Ellington (Wright kick), 12:03
Georgia State -- Roger Carter 2-yard pass from Ellington (Wright kick), 7:12
Furman -- Ryan DeLuca 11-yard pass from Grainger (Grainger to Miller conversion), 2:44
Georgia State -- Aubry Payne 20-yard pass from Ellington (Wright kick), 0:38
Furman -- Devin Abrams 30-yard pass from Grainger (Atkins kick), 13:41
Georgia State -- Cornelius McCoy 44-yard pass from Ellington (Wright kick), 12:10
Georgia State -- Wright 38-yard field goal, 7:35
Furman -- Grainger 12-yard run (Atkins kick), 3:26