Georgia State accepts bid to LendingTree Bowl

Georgia State quarterback Cornelius Brown IV runs the ball against Georgia Southern Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, in Atlanta. (Christina Matacotta/ For AJC)

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Georgia State quarterback Cornelius Brown IV runs the ball against Georgia Southern Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, in Atlanta. (Christina Matacotta/ For AJC)

The Georgia State football team has earned a bowl trip for the third time in four years since Shawn Elliott joined the program as head coach.

The Panthers accepted an offer to play Western Kentucky in the LendingTree Bowl at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 26 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN. Ticket information, when it becomes available, can be found at www.GeorgiaStateSports.com/bowls.

The game is a rematch of the 2017 Cure Bowl, which Georgia State prevailed 27-17 for the first bowl win in school history.

Georgia State is 1-2 in bowl games. Last year, the Panthers lost to Wyoming 38-17 in the Arizona Bowl. Western Kentucky is 5-2 all-time in bowls and defeated Western Michigan 23-20 in the 2019 First Responder’s Bowl.

“I’m so proud of our players for their commitment and hard work to persevere through this season and earn our fourth bowl berth,” Elliott said. “We talk about doing things for the first time and back-to-back bowl games is another first for our program.”

In 24 seasons as a Division I coach, Elliott has been a part of 19 teams that reached a bowl game or the NCAA playoffs.

Georgia State (5-4) won three of its final four regular-season games and will be making its second trip to Mobile this year. The Panthers beat South Alabama 31-14 there on Nov. 21. Two of Georgia State’s losses have come against ranked teams – Louisiana and Coastal Carolina, who will meet in the Sun Belt Conference championship game.

Georgia State averages 32.7 points behind redshirt quarterback Quad Brown, who has thrown for 2,046 yards and 14 touchdowns, and receiver Sam Pinckney, who has 44 catches and six touchdowns. The Panthers rank third in the Sun Belt in rushing defense (140.3 yards) and is second in the league with 32 sacks, with linebacker Jordan Strachan second in the nation with a school-record nine.

Western Kentucky went 5-6, including losses to Louisville, Liberty and Brigham Young. The Hilltoppers were 4-3 in Conference USA and finished the season with three straight wins.

Western Kentucky ranks last in the conference in scoring (18.8 points) and fifth in scoring defense (24.1). They lead Conference USA in pass defense, allowing 170.1 yards per game.

Quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome has thrown for 1,435 yards and nine touchdowns, with no interceptions, and has rushed for 328 yards and three touchdowns. Kicker Brayden Narveson, who is 13-for14 on field goals and 24-for-24 on extra points, is a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, an honor given annually to the nation’s best kicker.