Blowout loss a wake up call for the Panthers

Head coach Trent Miles said he was disappointed with his team even before they arrived at the Georgia Dome on Saturday, with players not arriving on time for the special teams meeting.

Miles said players not doing what they were asked to do on the field led to majority of the problems on the field.

“You saw where we are talent wise today,” Miles said after the game. “It was really embarrassing.”

“I saw a very poor FCS team in blue today,” Miles said referring to the Panthers. “I’m just telling it like I see it.”

There was a lack of big plays from the Panthers on both sides of the ball until the fourth quarter, but they were trailing by 42 points at that point of the game.

The Mocs continuously pounded the ball on the ground as the running game accounted for four of their six touchdowns.

Successful third-down conversions were the key for the Mocs’s victory, by converting 10 out of 14 attempts.

Contrastingly, the Panthers had little success on third down. They converted 6 out of 14.

The Mocs elected to receive to start the game, and the Panthers limited kick returner Chaz Moore for a 22-yard gain unlike the kickoff return for a touchdown the special teams allowed to start the game against Samford.

The Mocs moved down the field 70 yards in five and a half minutes to score the first touchdown on a two-yard run from Keon Williams on an option pitch to the right.

Keon Williams continued to dominate the ground game rushing for 147 yards and one touchdown in the game.

“I think the issue was our preparation. Not that they didn’t throw anything at us that we didn’t recognize, but there were just a few variations of things that we didn’t practice,” defensive tackle Terrance Woodward said on the defense.

The Panthers started their first drive by going three-and-out after a 2-yard run from running back Travis Evans followed by an incomplete pass and a completed pass from starting quarterback Ronnie Bell to Danny Williams to come up a yard short of the first down.

The Mocs responded on offense running the ball down the field for 46 yards combined between Huesman, Williams, and wide receiver Tommy Hudson. On third-and-one defensive end Theo Agnew got to running back Marquis Green for a 4-yard loss bringing up a fourth-and-five.

Chattanooga lined up for a field goal attempt on the Georgia State 27-yard line. Before the snap, the special teams shifted and Huesman took the snap and went to tight-end Faysal Shafaat for the second touchdown of the game, putting the lead up by 14.

“They got us early . . . I honestly thought they were gonna kick it,” Woodard said about the fake field goal.

Huesman connected with Shafaat again halfway through the second quarter on a 9-yard touchdown pass to put the Mocs up by 21.

Unfortunately, the Panthers couldn’t slow down the Mocs strong running game.

The Mocs averaged 6.7 yards per carry on the ground with 19 of their 26 first downs coming off the rush.

Huesman contributed to the running game with 84 yards on the ground and tw rushing touchdowns.

Both of Huesman’s rushing touchdowns came in the third quarter.

His first was a 9 yard run from the goal line.

On the next offensive drive for the Mocs, Huesman scored on a 26 yard run after the 14 yard punt return set up a short field for the Mocs.

Chattanooga put in backup running back Derrick Craine in the game along with their second-team offense, but the Panthers could not stop Craine as he scored on a four-yard run to start the fourth quarter putting the Mocs up 41-0.

However, Ben McLane took over for the quarterback position for the Panthers in the fourth quarter and instantly started converting big plays against the Mocs second-team defense.

McLane’s first pass was a 39-yard completion to receiver Robert Davis. On the next play, McLane threw to Wilson for a 29-yard gain to get the first consecutive first downs since the first quarter for Georgia State.

McLane threw the first touchdown of the game for the Panthers to Albert Wilson on third-and-goal with a five yard pass to cut the lead to 42-7.

On defense, The Panthers got the second-string offense to go three-and-out, and punt the ball right back to them.

McLane started the drive by throwing a 49-yard pass to Robert Davis to put them in Moc’s territory. On the next play, McLane threw to Albert Wilson in the end zone to give the Panthers 14 points.

McLane threw for 164 yards and two touchdowns, playing only in the fourth quarter. Starter Ronnie Bell threw for 70 yards, completing 9 out of 22 in pass attempts.

Miles said the quarterback competition is always open, hinting that there could be a change at position in the future.

However, Miles did say that Ronnie did not throw too many bad passes and that the problem was the Mocs defense manhandled the offensive line.

“I felt we could have don’t better as a team. The offensive line tend to let guys go past them,” Bell said.

“They had a pretty good pass rushing attack, but it’s no reason for the quarterback to be touched as many times as he was,” senior left tackle Ulrick John said. “You have to be able to read what your guy does and know what he’s going to do to keep him off the quarterback and it wasn’t done today.”

Miles said that he will focus hard on recruiting moving forward as he said that was the glaring issue on the field was personnel.

“They better start doing things right. We have a player [Nermin Delic] not even suit up and sit in the stands because he didn’t go to class. How hard is that? We had guys showing up late for weight lifting, that’s not going to be tolerated in this program,” Miles said.

“We’re going to find people that want to do it right and do it the way we ask them to do it,” Miles continued.

“It’s a hard dose of reality but that’s where we’re at, and that’s not a Sun Belt team we played today. So, get ready. Be prepared. It’s gonna get tough around here.”

The Panthers travel next Saturday to Morgantown, W. Va. for their first road game of the season against the West Virginia Mountaineers.