Georgia State Panthers

The Turning  Point for the Panthers

After a month worth of trips GA State returned home and reached the turning point in a season going south at 0-4. After spotting Texas State 14 points they hit their groove or reached the turning point for the second consecutive season against the same team as last year Texas State. It was fast break football at its finest, the Lone Star guys took the opening kickoff and went straight down the field and scored on a 12 play 775-yard drive capped off with a 19 yard touchdown pass from Tyler Jones to Eric Luna. They Kicked it off, the home state boys couldn’t do anything with it, their defense held the Panthers to a quick 3 and out allowing only 8 yards.


They got the ball back, marched right back down the field to pay dirt, this time 13 plays for 83 yards in 3:29.Their offense was hitting on all cylinders, cutting through the Panthers defense like they were cuddly kittens, just like that 25 plays, 158 yards in 7 minutes, two touchdowns for 14 points. Meanwhile their counterparts had 3 plays for 8 yards 3:35.  It was looking dark and gloomy, returning home to get drug across your own carpet or was it Hurricane Mathew making an appearance in the GA Dome. To quote the Southwest slogan “you wanna get away”, my goodness it was looking awful.


If that wasn’t enough Georgia State was forced to punt it traveled 41 yards to (6) B McDowell who made one simple cut and up the seam he went untouched that appeared to be the nail in the coffin but deep down field yellow laundry was on the turf, holding. That live ball penalty is administered from the spot of the flag which meant the punt return for a touchdown had to disappear. They went all the way back to 23 yard line and stepped off 10 yards leaving 1st and 10 Texas State from their own 13 yard line instead of 21-0. By some indescribable force that was the turning point.


After surviving the first quarter with no more destruction something happened, I noticed the demeanor of QB Conner Manning he didn’t panic, he looked poised, it was like the game just slowed down, he could see everything, and his body language was of confidence. They carried the ball into the second quarter and put up an early score on a QB sneak by Connor Manning from one yard out. It took them 11 plays to go 91 yards, 3:17. Though dominated in the first quarter hope was still alive after a successful try by R. Lohuis the score was 14-7.  Hope carried over to the next series for the defense QB Tyer Jones did a fake right with a spin move as he threw right on a down and out DB Jerome Smith stepped in front of the intended receiver and intercepted the quick pass at the Texas State 46 yard line.  Hope was more than a live now they had the most precious thing in college football momentum.


Tra Barnett tore off for 13 yards. Connor tried to connect with Robert Davis States all-time leading receiver twice before getting it right on a 22 yard completion. Then on third and seven from the 8 yard line Conner Manning hit Keith Rucker on a slant for the touchdown. It was a game again at 14-14. They went on to score on their next 5 possession’s making it a grand total of 7. Talk about a wakeup call. 7 drives that resulted in 7 scores 5 touchdowns and two field goals.

“Offensively, it was our best performance yet. We’ve got to take care of the ball in
the fourth quarter, too many turnovers that allowed them to be right there, but we got bailed out by the defense. We ran the ball better than we have all year; I think we had almost 200 yards rushing. I thought Conner Manning played extremely well, got the ball to the big dog, in Robert Davis, he made some excellent plays. I’m thrilled with the way our offensive line was able to establish the line of scrimmage and move the ball and keep them from getting a lot of pressure on him (Manning).”


The defense played outstanding, their next two drives were quickies lasting 3 plays, for 5 yards and 3 plays for 6 yards. It was total dominance by Georgia State from the second quarter on.Head Coach Trent Miles said “I thought our guys did, especially on defense, an outstanding job of overcoming adversity after the first two series of the game, when they (Texas State) went up 14-0, our defense made some excellent adjustments on the sideline and basically only gave up seven points the rest of the game. We were backed up numerous times because of offensive miscues and gave up no points, so I thought it was an outstanding effort by our defense.”


Texas State was able to manage just one more score on 9 yards run by Tyler Jones midway through the third quarter to make the score 21-34 in favor of Georgia State. That was really all she wrote. The Panthers was just too much, rattling off 24 points in the second quarter and 17 in the third quarter. Quarterback Conner Manning got back to his high school roots going 27-40 for 342 yards, 2 touchdowns. Wide Receiver Robert Davis caught 9 of those passes for 149 yards, one a 555-yard-bomb that excited the crowd of more than 13,000.


He is the top active receiver in the Sun Belt. He ranks eighth among all active FBS players in career receiving yards and 13th in receptions. The 6-3, 220-pounder from Warner Robins, Ga., has caught at least one pass in every Georgia State game the last four seasons (41 straight), which is tied for the FBS active lead. FBS ACTIVE LEADERS – Kyler Neal lead the rushing attack with 13 carries for 89 yards.

It was really a three headed monster one coach Trent Miles has been waiting on to come to life. In the battle of the states, Georgia States defeats Texas State 41-21.




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