The Georgia State Panthers found themselves in an unfamiliar position in their game versus the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. Down three in the closing minutes of the game, the Panthers would face a 4th down with six yards to go from the Coastal Carolina 36 yard line. Instead of kicking what would be about a 48 yard field goal, head coach Shawn Elliot decided to go for the first down and try for the win.
Wide receiver Penny Hart found daylight and quarterback Dan Ellington saw him but Hart couldn’t haul in the pass. Georgia State would go on to lose 37-34, in the closest game they’ve played since the opening weekend of college football. A loss this tough weighs heavily on the team going forward.
Head Coach Shawn Elliot commented on the teams feelings after the game, “The disappointment alone is probably the number one lesson we’re gonna learn from this because, we see a lot of guys in that locker room that have an extreme care for playing this game, to play for this team. I don’t know if that’s always been the case, maybe I’m misspeaking on that part, but there’s a lot of hurt in that locker room, there’s a lot of hurt in me sitting right here”.
The Panthers now face a tough task to become Bowl eligible for the second consecutive season. At 2-6 with four games left they would have to go undefeated to reach the necessary wins to even get a bid. Their next opponent is the Texas State Bobcats. The Bobcats have found it tough to win games this season as well, also sporting a 2-6 record.
The Bobcats average 180.1 yards through the air and 143.4 yards rushing per game. Their defense is much better, only allowing 372.6 yards of total offense to the opposition and they force right around two turnovers per game.
Georgia State will have to watch out for Bobcats quarterback Willie Jones III. Jones finished with 223 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in their win over New Mexico State. Keeping him contained and making solid tackles is the key to making sure he doesn’t bust out for a big play is a priority.
Jones’ main target is 6’3″, 250 pound tight end Keenan Brown. Brown has 31 catches averaging 13.5 yards a grab. The Panthers’ youngsters will have to step up and cut off the passing lanes, making sure that such a huge target won’t be wide open down the field.
This win will be vital for the Panthers seeing as how their last three opponents are a combined 16-7. That includes games against the Sunbelt Conference’s two toughest teams: a trip to Appalachian State (5-2) and a home game to rival Georgia Southern to end the season.
There’s no more time to wait for development or growth. Any chance for the Panthers to salvage their season starts this weekend at home. Hopefully the lessons and feelings of hurt can be used to fuel a fully motivated effort for this weekend and beyond.