Georgia State remains at six wins on the year (6-5, 5-3) after falling 24-10 on Senior Day to Idaho (4-8, 3-5). The Panthers are on their first losing streak since Sep. 16, the second game of the season.
“Last home game, our seniors going out, It’s certainly not the way we wanted to go out. It was not the way we wanted to go play. It was a very, very careless football game in a lot of aspects,” head coach, Shawn Elliott said.
Idaho running back, Aaron Duckworth rushed for 113 yards and a score on 19 carries. Isaac Saunders who finished with 61 yards and a touchdown, assisted Duckworth in closing out the game for the Vandals.
Georgia State scored the games first points on a early first quarter touchdown run by senior running back Glenn Smith. The lead lasted less than three minutes and was the Panthers’ first and only of the day. Smith logged 79 rushing yards and 39 receiving, but Georgia State was forced to abandon the run game playing down the stretch. Quarterback, Conner Manning spent much of the second half on his back and scrambling.
“When you know you’ve got to pass the ball, it’s not a whole lot you can do when you’ve got guys coming off the edge. You can move the pocket a little bit but at that point there wasn’t gonna be a whole lot of play action going on,” said Elliott.
Georgia State outgained the Vandals, but Idaho made their yards counts on methodical possessions. The Vandals scored on three out their four trips to the redzone, including the final punch, a touchdown run by Saunders with 2:55 remaining in regulation.
“Being on the field had a lot to do with it. Some of it is just not recognizing what’s going on. Any time they motion their wide receiver in there, he was cracking our strong safety,” Elliott said of the running defense. “We didn’t recognize it. We didn’t get down low enough in the field and that’s certainly a gap control problem.”
All-Sun Belt wide receiver, Penny Hart left the game and did not return after a 48-yard completion in the first quarter. Neither did offense’s explosiveness after the drive unfolded
Only three yards away from their second touchdown, tight end Ari Werts was stripped by Kaden Elliss and the Vandals fell on the ball. Elliss stuffed the stat sheet with seven tackles (three for loss) for loss, a sack an a pass break up.
Going into bowl selection week, the Panthers have no visible momentum. However, the Panthers have one more shot to send off their 24 seniors in the program’s second-ever bowl game.
“Those guys, they’ve laid the foundation here for our university and our football program to move forward. It hasn’t been a real easy last four or five years for them. There’s been big time struggles. Some of these guys were lifting [weights] under tents when they came here and to see what we’ve done, I salute every single one of them because they put their fingerprints on this program,” Elliott reflected.
Possible destinations are the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Dollar General Bowl, Raycom Media Cameilla Bowl, Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl and AutoNation Cure Bowl.
Georgia State is looking for it’s first bowl win in program history. In 2015 the Panthers played in their inaugural bowl game, falling 27-16 to San Jose State in the AutoNation Cure Bowl. The Bowl Selection Show is Dec. 3 at noon and can be streamed on Watch ESPN.