Georgia State Panthers were happy to be back on the field again in this odd 2020 season. The Panthers returned home Saturday to face the East Carolina Pirates for their second game of the season. The Panthers dismantled the Pirates 49-29 for their first win of 2020 and set a school record with 35 points in the first half.
Both teams have had games cancel this season, like all other college football teams around the country. Georgia State opened their season on Sept. 19 at home against conference foe, Louisiana-Lafayette. East Carolina had their first few games canceled and opened up their season on Sept. 26 at home against Central Florida.
The two teams came into Saturday looking for their first wins on the season. The Panthers had a heartbreaking 34-31 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. The Pirates saw Central Florida put up 51 on them in their loss.
The Pirates opened up the game with a pick-six by senior safety Warren Saba. Next drive, the Panthers’ young quarterback, Quad Brown, shook off the pick-six and led the team right down to score and tie the game. The Panthers scored on their next two drives and quickly took a 21-7 lead in the first quarter and didn’t let it go. The Panthers ended the first half with 35 points, which was a school record for points in a half in the eleven-year program history.
Panthers’ junior running back Destin Coates shined in the win. Also, redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Sam Pinckney contributed in a big way as well. Coates had 23 carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Pinckney had seven receptions for a career-high 134 yards and two touchdowns.
The Panthers’ offense shined, but the defense was outstanding. The Panthers’ defense allowed only fifty rushing yards and three turnovers, including a pick-six of their own, nine tackles for loss, and four sacks.
“I think our defense was phenomenal today,” head coach Shawn Elliot said. “We just put the pressure on them all day long. It seemed like they had no answer for our defensive line and our pressure. It was fun to see. Even when we struggled offensively in the third quarter, the defense continued to pick us up. Just a phenomenal day on their part.”
Georgia State offense and defense were tremendous in their win, but their special teams had a few blunders. Late in the game, they gave up a fake field goal for a 31-yard touchdown run. They followed that performance with a blocked punt on the next drive for a scoop and score. Special Team awareness will undoubtedly be a focus for Coach Elliot in practice as the team looks forward to their next matchup on Thursday, Oct. 15, at Arkansas State.