The Georgia State Panthers fell to the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 37-23 after special teams play continued to be not so special.
The special blunders started early in the first quarter on yet another bad snap on a punt with Georgia State pinned back near their own end zone resulted in a safety. The first touchdown of the game, and the fourth allowed by the Panther defense in the first half of the last eight games, would be the also be the first of many scored by UL-Monroe sophomore running back Thomas Koufie with a three-yard run. The Panthers would find their way to the end zone when Glenn Smith hauled in a 31-yard reception for a touchdown.
UL-Monroe would go into the half with a 9-7 lead.
Then the real fun would start as the Warhawks and Panthers played ping pong exchanging touchdowns right at the start of the third quarter. Conner Manning would get things started with 58-yard bomb to Robert Davis. The Panthers would attempt a two point conversion but fell short of the end zone. Freshman quarterback Caleb Evans would lead the Warhawks down the field for 5 plays and 39 yards capped off by a 15-yard touchdown run by Koufie to give UL-Monroe a 16-13 lead.
The Panthers and Warkhawks continued trading touchdowns as true freshman wide receiver Jawan Nobles hauled in a 61-yard touchdown to put the Panthers up by four. Koufie would build onto his career day with his second touchdown on a one yard run. The Warhawks would regain the lead 23-20.
Manning would march the Panthers down the field for five plays and 81 yards including another 78-yard bomb to Smith, which brought Georgia State to the Warhawks 13 yard line. The drive would end on a blocked 27-yard field goal attempt. The Warhawks would take over at their own 38 and drive for 62 yards and another one-yard touchdown run by Koufie to put the Warkhawks up 30-20 with under two minutes left in the quarter.
There is something about Koufie and one yard runs for a touchdown. He repeated that trend to kick off the fourth quarter after the Warhawks 13 play 49 yard drive to put UL-Monroe up 37-20. Panther kicker Rogier ten Lohuis would add the final three points of scoring to the board.
With the loss at home, the Panthers would fall to 2-8 on the season and 2-2 at home, adding to a very difficult season where Georgia State continues to underperform. In his last few hours as Georgia State’s Head Coach, Trent Miles was very disappointed in the Panthers performance against UL-Monroe.
“I thought we gave them the game. Obviously, with special teams giving up a safety, catching the punt in the end zone and not doing very well on offense in the first half. We weren’t able to run the football. The defense played well in the first half. The offense came out second half and got some points on the board. They opened it up a little bit and got us some quick strikes. I didn’t expect our defense to give up over 200 rushing yards.”
Georgia State will welcome “That Team Down South” to the Georgia Dome next Saturday at 2 p.m. It will be the final home game of the season and the final game for the Panthers in the Georgia Dome before they visit the land of potatoes for the Idaho Vandals final game as a member of FBS.
You do know Idaho has one more year in the sun belt, right?