Georgia State drops season opener to Army 43-10

Panthers face Army in week one of the season, putting the team to the test. Photo by Harry Wyman | The Signal

The Georgia State Panthers roared into Center Parc Stadium looking to open the 2021 season with a win on Saturday but left after a disappointing 43-10 loss to the Army Black Knights.

The Panthers out of the gates and looked a bit flustered as senior running back Destin Coates fumbled on their first drive of the afternoon. Army the ball and never looked back, scoring a touchdown on four of their five first-half drives before going into the visitors’ locker room with a commanding 27-7 lead.

Coates made up for his fumble with a 16-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter, but even then the team didn’t look like themselves.

“It all starts with the head coach, and the head coach did a very poor job of preparing our team,” Head Coach Shawn Elliott said after the game.

The Panthers struggled to find any rhythm in the first 24 minutes. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Cornelious “Quad” Brown threw for just 129 yards, with 67 coming in the first half. With Sam Pinckney sidelined due to health and safety protocols, Brown established Jamari Thrash as his go-to target. The redshirt sophomore finished with 7 catches for 87 yards.

Army pounded the Panthers on the ground averaging nearly five yards per carry in the first half. The Black Knights triple option kept the Panther defense on its heels the entire game.

Any brief moments of the Panthers were quickly dispelled as costly mistakes plagued the Panthers. One of those mistakes came in the first flag when after stopping Army, Brown threw a costly interception at the Panthers’ five yard line on a designed screen play. 

The Black Knights pushed around the Panthers’ front seven as they were six-for-nine in third-down conversions. Army put the nail in the coffin with 9:33 in the third quarter when after a 40-yard touchdown from Tyrell Robinson.

Army threw the ball four times, with three completions, for 98 yards and ran 67 times for 258 yards. Georgia State recorded 177 total yards of offense.

Georgia State is on the road next week for a matchup with the No. 9 North Carolina Tar Heels. Both teams will look for their first win on Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m.