Georgia State did not fall victim to post-bye week rust in its week eight game against Texas State. The Panthers topped the Bobcats 28-16 early Saturday evening for GSU’s third win of the season and second in conference play.
The Panthers saw success in both phases of the offense— they recorded 200+ yards in both passing and rushing for a second consecutive game, the first such streak since early last season— and played a near-perfect bend-don’t-break defensive game.
GSU’s offense was predicated on the ground, as is now expected from head coach Shawn Elliott’s offense. Running backs Tucker Gregg and Jamyest Williams recorded 115 and 7 yards each with Williams reaching the end zone twice. Gregg’s performance put him above 1,000 career yards and makes him Georgia State’s ninth leading rusher all-time.
“Tucker is a very patient runner,” Elliott said about Gregg post-game. “He’s strong, very durable and very dependable… He’s a special young man.
Gregg and Williams’ performances opened the passing game up for the Panthers. QB Darren Grainger completed 64% of his 25 passes for 200 yards, his third-ever game with 200+ air yards. As is now typical for him, Grainger added a hefty among of value on the ground; he gained 106 rushing yards and was the only player outside Gregg to see double-digit carries.
Grainger showed love to his three favorite air weapons Ja’Cyais Credle, Terrance Dixon, and Jamari Thrash. The three accounted for 15 of Grainger’s 25 attempts, with the remaining 10 being distributed among four other players.
Dixon caught his first touchdown of the season and recorded a season-high 65 yards. Thrash accumulated 37 yards on his three catches but dropped his two other targets. Credle suffered from a similar case of the drops; three of his four targets ended on the ground.
The Panthers’ defense did little to halt Texas State from gaining yards— the Bobcats gained 378 overall— but for the most part halted scoring. Nine of its 16 points came from field goals. Texas State’s one touchdown came early in the second quarter on a eight-yard scramble from QB Brady McBride.
“[The Bobcats] weren’t putting the ball in the end zone,” Elliott said about Texas State’s offense. “I’m a guy that thinks the field goal, unless it’s a last-second scenario, doesn’t win you a lot of games… A field goal isn’t going to cut it.”
McBride finished the game with a 57% completion percentage and 255 passing yards. He also added 46 rushing yards, as did RB Calvin Hill.
The Bobcats hung onto hope late into the game, they had possession of the ball down 28-16 with nearly an entire quarter left, but McBride threw his tenth interception of the season with under 10 minutes to play and all but iced the game.
Senior cornerback Jaylon Jones was on the receiving end of that interception, his second of his career and first since his second career game.
“I had a feeling before the ball was even snapped,” Jones said, “but then when I seen [sic] the ball in the air I was like ‘Oh yeah, that’s mine.”
Georgia State’s win brings it to 3-4 overall, 2-1 in conference play. The Panthers are now hold a four-way tie for first in the Sun Belt’s East Division. Anecdotally, GSU was 3-4 to begin the 2020 season and won its three next games to end the season. The Panthers visit in-state conference rival Georgia Southern for the eighth rendition of ‘Modern Day Hate’ next Saturday, October 30 at 6:00 pm.
Texas State falls to 2-5 and 1-2 in the Sun Belt. They are apart of a three-way tie for second place in the Sun Belt’s West Division. Next Saturday, October 30 at noon the Bobcats face off against Sun Belt West Division rival Louisiana. The Ragin’ Cajuns are undefeated in Sun Belt play.