Georgia State falls to Arkansas State 59-52 in offensive shootout

Georgia State Football huddles together during their home opener at Center Parc Credit Union Stadium. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

Heartbreaking conference losses are becoming the norm for Georgia State (1-2, 0-2 Sun Belt) as they fell 59-52 to Arkansas State (3-2, 1-1) on Thursday. With running backs Destin Coates and Cornelius McCoy not making the trip amid coronavirus concerns, the cornea was the offense, but it was quite the opposite.

The Panthers offense fired on all cylinders, led by freshman quarterback Cornelious Brown and the running game. Brown threw for 314 yards and ran for another 83 with three total touchdowns –– the best line of his young career. 

The Panthers running game also did not miss a beat with Tucker Gregg putting the team on his back, carrying the ball just 14 times for stellar 142 yards and a touchdown. 

Every part of the offense had a great night as wide receiver Sam Pinckney had himself a night with 14 yards and a monster three touchdowns.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, the Red Wolves matched them point-for-point and then some. The Redwolves played with two quarterbacks under center, and it kept the Panther offense on their toes. Georgia State’s secondary was tortured throughout the game and often allowed huge third and fourth down conversions. 

Red Wolves quarterback Logan Bonner converted a third-and-six with a 16-yard touchdown to tie the game at 35 apiece with 8:21 left in the third quarter. Noticeably, Arkansas State controlled the ball for most of the game, leading to more plays and more opportunities for big plays. The Red Wolves also nearly doubled the number of passing yards and picked on the Panther secondary when it came to long yard pickup situations.

The Panthers had 12 days to prepare for the matchup, and the defense looked completely anything but that. 

While defensive coordinator Nate Fuqua’s absence caused some defensive issues, the defense, particularly the secondary play, was less than stellar. 

247Sports Georgia State reporter Ben Moore also echoed similar disappointment at the loss at Arkansas State. 

“12 days to prepare for this game and absolutely embarrassed on national TV,” Moore said. “This one should sting for a long, long time.” 

But, on a brighter note, there were major positives to take away from the defense. 

Shawn Elliott’s men sacked the quarterback four times on the night and forced a turnover against the Red Wolves. Linebacker Blake Carroll ever scored a touchdown after a sack and created major momentum for the Panthers.

While the game surely benefitted the Sun Belt Conference’s ratings, the loss for the Panthers disappoints a promising program. For the second time in the last four weeks, Georgia State landed on the losing end of a nationally televised conference game. While some might see the moral victory in the losses, Elliott definitely did not. 

“It was a disappointing loss to tell you the truth,”  Elliott said in his press conference. “We couldn’t stop them defensively … We had our opportunities to win.”

Georgia State remains winless in the conference after two tough games, and the constant falling short in conference games is becoming a theme. While the loss against then-No. 19 Louisiana-Laffeyete was somewhat understandable, this one seems more puzzling. While Fuqua’s loss hurt, Georgia State has given up an average of 40-points a game, which would be worse than last season’s atrocious defense

Georgia State’s schedule will only ramp up. Their next game will see them travel to Troy to face the Trojans on Halloween at 4 p.m. on ESPNU.