It has been a decade, here are Georgia State football’s top five moments

Illustration by Monique | The Signal

The Georgia State Panthers football program started practicing ten years ago this August, marking a memorable milestone in the young history of the program. The team was officially created in 2010, with then-head coach Bill Curry. While the Panthers spent several of their early seasons trouting through the arduous struggles that most brand-new football teams face, recent years have seen exponential growth both on and off the field. 

Here are five of the most impactful moments in Georgia State’s first decade of football:

1. September 2, 2010: Inaugural Game Draws 30,000 Plus

It all started for the Panthers in 41-7 victory over the Shorter Hawks in the now-demolished Georgia Dome. Despite the dominant win, the game had a lot riding on the line as many throughout the sports world were uncertain of the viability of another football team in Georgia. 247Sports reporter Ben Moore remembers feeling the anticipation of that first game.

“You didn’t know how many people cared,” Moore said. “You didn’t know how many people would show up on a Thursday night in downtown Atlanta in September. The local media had been hammering Georgia State, saying, ‘Hey, this isn’t going to work. No one is going to show up for games.’”

Despite the lack of enthusiasm from the media and the uncertainty of their fan base, the Panthers drew a crowd of over 30,000 fans, including then-governor David Perdue, and topped off the night with the program’s first win.

2. October 16, 2010: First game-winning field goal

The Panthers’ first game-winning field goal at home came against North Carolina Central in a 20-17 overtime victory. Kicker Iain Vance nailed a 33-yard field goal to give the Panthers something to hold onto in the first season of their existence. The win also proved disappointing for the Eagles as they were the favorite team going into the game.

“That was a huge moment,” Moore said when recalling the game. “Coincidentally, North Carolina Central fired their coach the following Monday. They weren’t exactly thrilled about losing to a startup program.”

3. December 16, 2017: First Bowl Game Victory

Georgia State would concur their first trophy against Western Kentucky in the Cure Bowl in 2017. The Panthers beat the Hilltoppers convincingly with a final score of 27-17 under the new leadership of head coach Shawn Elliott.

4. January 5, 2017: Georgia State Secures Turner Field

In perhaps one of the most influential moments in Georgia State football’s short history, the team agreed to purchase Turner Field, the former home of the Atlanta Braves, for over 19 years. The stadium was completely renovated for football use and received the new name: “Georgia State Stadium.” Earlier this month, Center Parc Credit Union purchased the naming rights for the stadium in a reported $20 million deal that will span over the next 15 years.

5. August 28, 2019: Georgia State Upsets Tennessee The Panthers saw their most significant win ever in 2019 as they stunned the Tennessee Volunteers in a dominant 38-30 victory. The upset shocked the college football scene and brought national attention to Georgia State as the team entered as a 26-point underdog. Quarterback Dan Ellington shined in the game, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another late in the game that solidified the team’s victory.