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Knox-out punch: Georgia State upsets Tennessee, 38-30

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Panthers ground game comes up big.

NCAA Football: Georgia State at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Down goes the SEC.

The headlines Sunday morning will be filled with orange-clad fans pressing the panic button. But in the end, it was Georgia State’s grit who won this game.

The Panthers saw an early lead disappear, but Georgia State resolved to win 38-30 thanks in part to a cutting run game. The Panthers compiled 213 rushing yards on the day.

Tra Barnett had 95 yards rushing - 19 of which came on a sprint for the end zone to give Georgia State a 28-23 lead.

Dan Ellington took his lumps last year, but made many big plays with his legs. The senior rushed for 61 yards and also found Cornelius McCoy and Aubry Payne for key touchdowns in the passing game to keep the Vols’ defense honest.

Jones sack proves huge

The defense, however, made the play of the day.

After regaining the lead, 28-23, Tennessee began to march downfield to try and reclaim the advantage. Jaylon Jones delivered a punishing sack that popped the ball free.

Jhi’Shawn Taylor recovered the ball that would later setup Ellington’s 22-yard touchdown run to the corner that put the Panthers up two scores.

Trajan Stephens-McQueen would intercept Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano on the next drive to lead to a Brandon Wright field goal and 15-point lead.

The defense came to play from the first drive.

Ed Curney recovered a fumble on the second play from scrimmage to give their offense a short field. Seth Paige would punch in the first TD of the game.

It seemed to go a long way all afternoon to the Panthers’ confidence.

The Georgia State defense forced three turnovers on the day.

It is Georgia State’s first ever victory against a Power-5 opponent. Many lines had Georgia State at about 26-point underdogs before kickoff.

Tennessee is in for a lot of sour headlines Sunday morning, but make no mistake.

Georgia State took this game from their creamsicle-colored gloves.