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The opening weekend of college football was rife with headlines. A true freshman leads his team to comeback victory, a number of quarterbacks transfered and make a big impact and a few head coaches get their first win at a new school. All great circumstances and great stories for an opening weekend but none of those were the biggest.
How about a Sunbelt Conference school beats a big bad SEC school? The Georgia State Panthers came away with the huge 38-30 upset victory over the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday. It’s easily the biggest win in the school’s short football history and it definitely heightens the hopes for the 2019 season.
The Panthers were voted to finish last in the Sunbelt’s eastern division by many pundits and this win has definitely changed that sentiment. A 2-10 campaign last season left a bad taste in the mouths of players, coaches and fans alike.
“You are what your record says you are and we were 2-10 for a long long time in the off-season. I won’t say I, we never let them forget it and they never forgot it. So we went out there and practiced, they knew what they were practicing for,” said Elliot.
If that’s the case, Saturday’s game was pretty close to the saying “practice makes perfect.”
The Panthers rushed for 213 yards and the defense forced three turnovers. They will still need to clamp down a bit more against the pass but the coverage has come a long way from 2018.
Such a great performance can give a team great confidence but also a false sense of security. Yes, beating an SEC caliber team at any level is good for a program playing in a lesser conference.
Still, the victory over Tennessee won’t make the rest of the schedule any easier. The team has (at least) given notice to the rest of the conference not to take them lightly.
Georgia State started their brief football history 1-4 in opening week games but has now gone 2-0 in the last few seasons.
Quarterback Dan Ellington finished the game with 200 total yards from scrimmage. He threw for two touchdowns and scored another on a 22 yard trot that gave Georgia State the late lead.
The Panthers next game is Saturday, September 7th at home versus Furman.