Georgia State was able to peak at the right time against its main rival in Georgia Southern on Saturday, closing the contest with 17 unanswered points as the Panthers surged past the Eagles for the 30-24 win.
Cornelious Brown IV scorched GS to the tune of 372 yards with one touchdown and one interception in this one. As I stated in the preview for this contest, the secondary of the Eagles rotates between Jekyll and Hyde on a drive-to-drive basis, and Brown was able to take advantage of several defensive lapses throughout.
Sam Pickney and Cornelius McCoy each went over the century mark for GSU in the win, with Pickney posting a game-high 126 yards on 10 catches.
The Panthers decided against running the ball too much with Brown’s passing effort leading the team, as Destin Coates led the team with 47 yards on 15 totes and added a rushing score.
This win moved Georgia State to 4-3 in the all-time series against its rival in Georgia Southern.
On Georgia Southern’s side of things, the lone bright spot in this game was the effort of running back Logan Wright, who turned just 8 carries into 143 yards and two touchdowns, buoying another offensive game where the Eagles faded late.
The game looked a lot like Georgia Southern’s contest against Army last week: An early lead went to waste, the team eschewed many opportunities to put up points in the second half, and an injury to Shai Werts gave way to the Sun Belt version of Nathan Peterman, Justin Tomlin.
Tomlin came in for Werts on the final two drives for the Eagles in this game with chances to put away and win the game on a comeback, respectively. Tomlin took an ill-advised rush to the right on the second-to-last drive of the game, fumbling the ball and eventually allowing the Panthers to take a late lead, 30-24.
On the final drive, Tomlin threw a couple of short passes before launching the ball into the waiting hands of State defender Quavian White, which sealed the game for the Panthers.
Georgia Southern head coach Chad Lunsford needs to take a good long look at this team and decide if he still wants to lead it or not. Offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse essentially took his shoes off after Wright’s second rushing score to open the 4th quarter, asking the defense to win the game for the Eagles, which it obviously was not going to do.
Defensively, after hot-and-cold performances all season Georgia Southern might want to look to get a more stable defensive coordinator than Scot Sloan if this team ever decides it might want to compete in the Sun Belt East division again.