“In my entire career I’ve never thought that it would come to a day where you see the fight really taken out of our football team.”
Somber words from Coach Elliott on his teams performance. The Panthers gave up three sacks and 294 rushing yards on the way to a 34-15 loss to the Western Michigan Broncos.
The first drive by GSU showed some good movement in the air but a blindside strip-sack forced a fumble to kill the drive. The Broncos drove down the field, mainly on the ground, and after a clutch red zone stop by the defense the Broncos were forced to settle for a field goal. Once the Panthers got the ball back they drove down the field off the arm of Dan Ellington with a nine yard run by him to close out the quarter. WMU 3 GSU 3
While the Panthers were able to drive into the red zone but had to settle for a field goal. After trading field goals, Jon Wassink drove the Broncos down the field and capped off a nine play drive with a 17 yard touchdown throw to Brett Borske. The Panthers looked to make a response but Ellington was strip sacked and the fumble was recovered by the Broncos. Defense was able to hunker down in the red zone forcing a three and out. Western Michigan kicked a field goal to end the drive.
On the next drive the Panthers found true freshman Destin Coates on a wheel route for 50 yards to quickly put them in the red zone. Dan Ellington finished it off with a 10 yard run for the touchdown. With two minutes remaining in the quarter the Jon Wassink took control of the offense and picked apart the young Panthers secondary. Jon Wassink found Keishawn Watson on a 24 yard touchdown catch to put another score on the board. The Panthers attempted to drive down for a score but were picked off to end the half. WMU 20 GSU 9
The Broncos opened up with a quick five play drive that ended with a 40 yard touchdown pass to Jayden Reed. The Panthers offense saw yet another fumble, putting them in unfavorable field position and forcing a three and out. After the punt, Western Michigan quickly scored on a 71 yard run by Jamauri Bogan. On the ensuing drive three quick passes to Penny Hart drove the Panthers down the field. Ellington finished off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run. The two teams traded punts to end the quarter. WMU 34 GSU 15
The Broncos running game wore down the Panther defense, converting three third downs to methodically drive down the field. The defense was able to force a punt, but only after nearly ten minutes were taken off the clock ending any hope of a comeback. The Western Michigan defense forced a turnover on downs and ran out the clock to win the game.
What We Learned
The freshmen are still adjusting
Over 10 freshmen are seeing significant playing time for the Panthers with two true freshmen starting on the offensive line today. Coach Elliott trusts the talent of these players to give them playing time, but considering their youth it’s no surprise that mistakes showed up on the field for GSU.
Special teams might be an issue
Brandon Wright is dealing with an injury that leaves him unable to kick field goals. The injury doesn’t affect his ability to punt so he still retains those duties. Barry Brown missed his first PAT attempt and the Panthers went for two on their next score. If Wright has to miss significant time on field goal, Barry Brown will have to improve his game.
The real work begins now
The Panthers conference schedule begins now and while their OOC schedule was taxing they still have a chance to make noise in the Sun Belt conference race. If the offense can cut down on the mistakes they can keep up with any team on their schedule.
Player of the Game
Western Michigan Offensive Line -- 294 rushing yards, no sacks allowed
The Panthers begin their conference schedule with the ULM Warharks coming to visit next week.