Panthers’ football four games in

Photo by Trent Legaspi | The Signal

The Georgia State Panthers are currently 0-4 after four games with two losses in the Sun Belt Conference. 

Week One: Georgia State University @ University of South Carolina [35-14 USC]

The Gamecocks debuted their transfer quarterback, Spencer Rattler from Oklahoma in the first game of the season against Georgia State. In the 35-14 loss the Panthers showed quite a few reasons for fans to have hope for the future. The Panthers kept the Gamecocks off the scoreboard in the first quarter, they bolstered a whooping five yards-per-carry rushing average, over 200 rushing yards, and the Panthers won the turnover battle by intercepting Rattler twice to the single interception thrown by senior quarterback Darren Grainger. Grainger’s passing outing was subpar as he threw for 111 yards on a 7-for-29 completion rate. Grainger averaged 3.9 yards per rush for 43 yards on 11 attempts. 

Week Two: The University of North Carolina @ Georgia State University [ 35-28 UNC]

In the Panthers’ home-opener at Center Parc Stadium, the Panthers played a hard-fought game. 

Jacorey Crawford, Senior linebacker, led the defensive front with two fumble recoveries and an interception. Crawford single-handedly shifted momentum for the Panthers in the third quarter by recovering a fumble and the Panthers brought the score within one on the ensuing drive, 21-20. 

Unfortunately, the Panthers failed to capitalize on a late-game fumble recovered by senior linebacker Jontrey Hunter at the Tarheels’ 45-yard line. The Panthers punted the ball with 5:29 left in the 4th quarter down by seven and never found the endzone.

Photo by Trent Legaspi | The Signal

Week Three: University of North Carolina Charlotte @ Georgia State [42-41 UNCC]

The Georgia State Panthers lost in a heart-breaking last-second defeat to the Charlotte 49ers. Darren Grainger led the Panthers’ offense to four passing touchdowns and a total of 397 offensive yards, 343 of which were passing while the other 57 yards came on the ground. Senior Tucker Gregg led the Panthers’ rushing attack with 23 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns. The Panthers’ offense was clicking on all cylinders scoring touchdowns in all four quarters of the game.   

With 4:21 left in the game, the Panthers marched down the field on an eight-play 59-yard drive taking just over two and a half minutes. Grainger connected on a deep pass with junior receiver Jamari Thrash for 32 yards. The Panthers converted a two-point conversion off the legs of Grainger on a read option. This touchdown and conversion gave the Panthers a 41-35 lead. With 1:33 seconds left in the game; Charlotte marched downfield for 69-yards taking a one-point lead of 42-41. This was the end of the game as the Panthers failed to connect on a hail mary with 17 seconds left in the game. 

Week Four: Coastal Carolina University @ Georgia State University [41-24 CCU] 

The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers started hot in every phase of the game in the first half, forcing the Panthers to play from behind early and often. The Panthers’ defense gave up scores on all but one drive in the first half. The first play of the game was a one-play seventeen-second drive with a pass from Grayson McCall to Jared Brown for a 50-yard touchdown. The defense gave up a total of 540 offensive yards; this is the largest amount of yards allowed by the Panthers this season. 

The defense brought the score within 10 in the fourth quarter when Jontrey Hunter intercepted a pass for a pick-six from the Chanticleers’ second-string quarterback Jarret Guest. However, the momentum did fade as on the ensuing drive Georgia State’s defense gave up a touchdown on a seven-play, 75-yard drive that chewed over three-minute off the clock. This crucial drive put the score out of the Panthers’ grasp being down three possessions late in the fourth. 

Week Five: Georgia State University @ Army [31-14 GSU] 

The Panthers traveled to West Point, New York to face the Army Black Knights and walked away with a decisive victory. Georgia State’s defense shifted the momentum early in the form of a fumble recovery from senior linebacker Jordan Venziale on Army’s first drive. The Panthers held the Black Knights without a score in the first half of the game. This allowed the offense to take charge, gaining a 17-0 lead through the two opening quarters.

The Georgia State offense scored early and often starting with a 46-yard field goal from Micheal Hayes in the first quarter. Followed by two touchdowns in both the second and fourth quarter to secure a 31-14 victory.