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Penalties Cost Georgia State in Heavy Loss to Army

HC Shawn Elliott took the blame for his team being underprepared for Army’s brute force

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 28 Georgia Southern at Georgia State Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Georgia State’s 43-10 loss at home to Army can best be described by the penalty numbers for both teams.

Army was flagged just twice: once for a false start, once for roughing the passer.

The Panthers, on the other hand, collected a costly six flags. They lost 55 yards on paper, but that number climbs to 100 when considering the plays cancelled out by penalty.

What makes the penalties so fitting, however, is the nature of the flags. GSU was not incredibly jumpy on the defensive line, nor were they getting unlucky with soft pass interferences. Instead, the Panthers were negating important plays by making undisciplined mistakes.

On their second drive of the game (RB Destin Coates turned the ball over on the first) the Panthers were forced to punt on their own 37. A squibbed rugby style kick by Michael Hayes ricocheted off the helmet of Army’s Caleb Johnson and was recovered by GSU’s Jacorey Crawford, granting the Panthers a free 30 yards. That play was called back for a hold.

Now on his own 27, Hayes tried another rugby style kick. This one was muffed by Army return man Tyrell Robinson and recovered by GSU’s Jamyest Williams. The Panthers again received a free 35 yards; that they again got negated by another holding call.

In the third quarter five-year starter Shamarious Gilmore was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, cancelling what was a ten-yard completion.

Later that quarter the defense did their part, or rather didn’t do it, by granting the Black Knights an extra 15 yards by hitting Army’s QB after the play. That drive resulted in a 22-yard field goal.

These persistent negating penalties are emblematic of the Panthers’ game-long struggles. For every positive play they made, two ugly reactions reared their heads.

Army was stopped on four of five third downs, but conceded ten points on fourth downs. Cornelius Brown IV connected with Roger Carter for a 15-yard reception on third and 17, the Panthers’ longest play of the quarter, but followed it up with a one-yard rush to fail the fourth down conversion.

When it was all said and done, the Panthers were dominated in all aspects of the game. They conceded 356 yards and only gained 177 of their own. They allowed two passing touchdowns to an Army team that scored through the air just four times in 2020.

There was no mistaking this, and HC Shawn Elliot was not shy in his postgame interview.

“We didn’t play well,” Elliott said, “it was an embarrassing effort… it falls on my shoulders.”

Elliott felt that his teams penalties were mostly deserved but does not view it as an issue that needs serious addressing.

“I don’t think it’s a problem, but certainly any time you’re getting penalized you’ve got to fix it.”

Elliott added with a slight grin that he had never seen the holding call that hurt his team twice on consecutive downs, and that he needs to review the tape before commenting on went wrong on the two would-be fumble recoveries.

As is typical with their style of play, nine Army players had at least three carries. QB Chris Anderson led the stable with fifteen carries, 55 yards, and a score. Anderson typically does the passing work for the Black Knights but took an uncharacteristically large role in the running game.

While the offense could not get moving, Georgia State did pass the ball with relative effectiveness. QB Cornelius Brown was 12/20 through the air for 129 yards. One of his balls did get picked off.

RB Destin Coates had an irregularly low-yardage game. He gained 48 yards on 13 attempts but did reach the end zone for the Panthers’ only touchdown. Coates’ touchdown brings him now just three rushing scores away from tying the school record for career ground touchdowns.

Georgia State next plays when it visits Chapel Hill to play the 0-1 UNC Tar Heels. North Carolina was ranked No. 10 in the AP Preseason Poll. That game is on September 11th at 7:30 pm.

Army gets to play their next game and home opener on September 11th against the 1-0 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. That game kicks off at 11:30 am.