Atlanta, Ga- At the beginning of the Georgia State Panthers versus Kennesaw State Owls game, everybody was hoping this would be the start of a long-time rivalry. By the time the game ended, Georgia State fans were hoping there’s more of this to come.
The Panthers came back from as much as 14 points down to win the game 24-20. Its a great win to open the season, but more importantly, it was a great game for first year starting quarterback, Dan Ellington.
Ellington engineered a nine-play 73-yard drive to win the game. Ellington threw for 55 yards on the drive including an eight-yard touchdown pass to Diondre Champaigne to go ahead for good. Every play on that drive was either an Ellington pass or run.
Kennesaw State’s defense looked all-world in the first quarter, holding Ellington to just 1-4 passing for four yards. They had complete control of the game building a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.
In the last two minutes of the first half, Ellington broke out with his team down 14-0. He had a dazzling 19-yard run where he broke multiple tackles. He completed four passes on the drive including a three-yard strike to wide receiver Penny Hart to cut their deficit to 14-7
The Owls threw an interception and gave Ellington the ball right back with :45 seconds left. At that point, it seemed everybody in the stadium knew Ellington would lead them to the tying score and he did. He moved the team 37 yards in :37 seconds culminating on a Christian Owens six-yard touchdown catch to tie the game.
It seemed like the moment coach Elliot decided to throw the ball more, the Panthers started thriving. “When we went on that little run there in the first half, its because we started going tempo against them. A lot of times we were not doing the tempo and we probably should’ve played up-tempo a little bit more,” stated Elliot.
“As much as they were moving and giving us various fronts and the pressure packages. We probably should’ve went a little bit more tempo, but when we got in the tempo mode, it really seemed to go.”
Ellington’s day looked great overall rushing for 103 yards, going 20-28 for 187 passing yards and three touchdowns. He stood tall in the pocket on pass plays and was very elusive when he had to get out and run. He showed great leadership quality and buckled down when it counted most.
His confidence level is high and remains so after the game. When asked if this would boost any confidence he has for the next game, Ellington seemed expressed his confidence.
” Yeah its [confidence] still probably the same. They [coaching staff] told me all week just to go out and have fun so today I did that and I just went out there and had fun with the game.”
Ellington is definitely saying the right things as a quarterback and after one game, he’s doing them as well. If he continues this level of play, not only will he have fun but his teammates and all the fans will too.