Panthers football earn first FBS win in history

Signal Archives
Signal Archives
Signal Archives

On Sept. 4, two Georgia State fans waved as they chanted “Goodbye [head coach Trent] Miles” before leaving the Georgia Dome during a 23-20 Panther loss. On Sept. 13, Miles’ squad became the number one team in the Sun-Belt conference.

With a limited Joel Ruiz, who is returning from offseason knee surgery, still no Donovan Harden and losing reigning Player of the Week Bobby Baker to an ejection call 24/7 sports reporter Ben Moore said was “awful” via Twitter;  the Panthers were lead by freshman unsung hero Penny Hart.

Hart tied the school record for single game receptions with 11 for 150-yards and set the record for freshman receiving yards by halftime, reeling in 113-yards at the end of the second quarter. Nick Arbuckle threw for a monster final stat line, by completing 32 of his 43 passing attempts for 372-yards.

The entire game, however, was not smooth sailing for the Panthers. After jumping to a 17-3 lead, New Mexico State constantly crept closer on the scoreboard seemingly all night, exactly how the 2014 matchup between these squads concluded in a late-game meltdown for Georgia State.

Playing on the road without so many key players, the Panthers had every excuse not to make the necessary executions to win their first conference matchup of the season, but in the words of Arbuckle on Sept. 4: “We [Georgia State Football team] don’t make excuses.”

A defense that ranked last in the FBS at the end of the 2014 season needed to make a fourth down stop in their  territory to end and win the game for Georgia State. Redshirt Senior Bruce Dukes intercepted the ball in a call that would be overturned due to a facemask penalty on the Panthers.

After a false start penalty on New Mexico State, the Aggies needed a 49-yard field goal to take the lead with less than 30 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. The field goal attempt was potentially the difference in a 1-25 Trent Miles record to end his Georgia State head coaching career, but the kick went wide right, and the Panthers claimed their 34-32 victory.

Fans of Georgia State athletics probably haven’t shown so much joy on social media after a win since the Men’s Basketball upset over No. 3 Baylor in the NCAA Tournament.

Next up for the Panthers is a cross-country road trip to face one of College Football’s most prestigious programs in No. 7 Oregon and a chance for an upset even bigger than the Men’s Basketball edition.