“It was big for us to put on a show for our fans,” co-captain Dontae Wilson said. “It’s an excellent feeling.”
The Panthers revealed their intent on the first play. Quad Brown unloaded a deep throw to Cornelius McCoy for a 57-yard completion. McCoy, who missed the past three games, had another first down catch on the possession, and reliable tight end Roger Carter completed the drive by grabbing a swing pass and diving into the end zone, tipping the pylon as he flew by.
“I had to make plays, especially big plays down the field like that,” McCoy said. “We practice tempo a lot, just pushing the ball down the field is good, especially with Quad as our quarterback with the arm he’s got. It was big time.”
Special teams set up the second score. Punter Michael Hayes launched a rugby-style kick about a foot over the head of the linemen that was unwisely fielded and stripped by Jamyest Williams, with Seth Glausier recovering the ball. Five plays later Brown ran for a 3-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
The defense gets credit for the third touchdown. Hardrick Willis clobbered Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Colby Suits from the blind side, and the ball popped loose and was captured by Wilson.
“The D-line had a celebration lined up for whoever got the first sack,” Wilson said. “I was actually going over to celebrate, and I looked at the quarterback and saw he didn’t have the ball in his hands. I started to scoop it, but I just dove on it this time.”
Elliott said, “In all three phases we came out and set the tone in the first half. The tackles for loss and the sacks were huge.”
McCoy finished it minutes later when he caught a 5-yard touchdown to give the Panthers a 21-0 lead with 8:44 left in the quarter.
Memories of that Coastal Carolina game grew fainter and fainter.
Georgia State continued to pour it on. Brown hit McCoy on a 3-and-10 that he turned into a 18-yard touchdown. An interception by Bryquice Brown, the first of his career, set up a 1-yard touchdown by Destin Coates. Another drive kept alive by a fake punt – with upback Chris Moore racing for 32 yards – was completed when Coates walked in from the 1, giving the Panthers a 42-14 lead.
It got a little sloppy at times in the second half, but GSU was able to add to its lead with a 21-yard field goal from Noel Ruiz and a 3-yard touchdown run by freshman Marcus Carroll.
Brown completed 20 of 32 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 21 yards and one score. Coates rushed 20 times for 102 yards, his fourth 100-yard game of the season, and two touchdowns. McCoy caught seven passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
The Georgia State defense got seven tackles from Blake Carroll. Jhi’Shawn Taylor had two of the team’s sacks.
Louisiana-Monroe (0-8, 0-5) was led by backup quarterback Jeremy Hunt, who completed 28 of 39 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns. Perry Carter carried four times for 124 yards and scored on two long reverse runs and caught a touchdown pass.
“The way we opened the game, took control of it and had control the whole day,” Elliott said. “There were a couple of blunders that let them get their confidence back in them, and the third quarter dragged on a little. It was a great win for our football team. Just a great day.”