A game of inches: GSU loses Homecoming after failed comeback

Georgia State fell to Coastal Carolina on Oct. 27 for its second straight Homecoming loss. Photo by Jerell Rushin | The Signal

Georgia State (2-6, 1-3) was down 17-0 in the first quarter of their Homecoming game against Coastal Carolina (5-3, 2-2). The Panthers were driving for a game-winning touchdown with less than three minutes left in regulation. Dan Ellington fired a fourth down pass to Penny Hart Hart, but the ball slid just off Hart’s fingertips, just as another pass did the play before.

The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers took a knee on the next play, and they won 37-34. This is the second consecutive Homecoming loss for Georgia State.

Georgia State scored two touchdowns in the first half, but a bad snap held back Brandon Wright from attempting one extra point. The score was 17-13 at halftime.

[Read The Signal’s coverage of Georgia State’s Homecoming Court crowned at halftime.]

Coastal Carolina had no solution for the Georgia State offense in the second half. The Panthers’ run grew to 27-3 when Ellington ran in a 42-yard touchdown, which gave them a 27-20 lead. The teams eventually tied the game 34-34, and Coastal Carolina place-kicker Massimo Biscardi made a 23-yard field goal with 2:54 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Georgia State couldn’t score in those two remaining minutes and turned the ball over on downs on the play which Hart and Ellington couldn’t connect. The Panther offense once again showed its full potential in the second half by out-scoring its fourth Sun Belt Conference team in four tries this season.

“We had 521 yards of total offense,” an emotional Ellington said during the postgame press conference. “8-of-11 third down. We did really well on third down which was one of our keys to victory today. Coach Trickett said if we do [get ourselves in] good third downs — manageable third downs — that we had a chance to win the game. And he was right; he had a chance to win it. We just didn’t click and win it, and we just didn’t pull it off.”

Georgia State’s streak of slow defensive and offensive starts moved to three games once Homecoming was underway.

A bowl game appearance is not likely for the Panthers with their remaining schedule that includes tough games against Appalachian State (5-2, 3-1) and Georgia Southern (7-1, 4-0). The Panthers were in the same position in 2015 when they made their first bowl game in program history by winning their final four games with a 2-6 record.

Texas State plays Georgia State next Saturday, Nov. 3 at 2 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and 92.9 FM.