Even though they scored 24 unanswered points between the second and third quarters, the Georgia State Panthers were unable to upset visitor North Carolina. The Panthers, now 0-2, lost 35-28 to the now undefeated Tar Heels.
The Panthers’ streak of 24 unanswered began early in the second quarter with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that concluded with a Kris Byrd receiving touchdown thrown by Darren Grainger. That pass catch was the second of Byrd’s career and his final of the game.
GSU then opened the second half with another 75-yard drive, that time ended by a 49-yard Robert Lewis touchdown catch, and quickly followed that score up with a Michael Hayes 45-yard field goal and another 29-yard Lewis receiving score.
These passing scores represent a highly improved game for Grainger. Last week he completed just seven passes; this week he connected on 16 of his 24 attempts. That number ties his third-best performance at Georgia State.
Despite that offensive explosion, North Carolina RB Omarion Hampton scored twice in six minutes of game game for either side’s final points of the match. Hampton, a true freshman, finished the game with 110-yards— his second career game of over 100— and has five touchdowns in three games.
Hampton was not the only offensive weapon the Tar Heels had, however, as QB Drake Maye passed for 284 yards on just 24 attempts. Maye leads not just the FBS but all of the NCAA in total passing yards this season.
Maye favored Kobe Paysour above other targets, but only marginally. Paysour caught five of his six targets, both team highs, for 61 yards.
Despite the loss, Georgia State HC Shawn Elliott said that his team should be happy with its performance despite squandering opportunities.
“Some of our execution could have been better,” Elliott said, “but man, what a team we have. The way we played against [South Carolina] and [North Carolina], we’re going to hold our heads high and come back next week as a better football team.
Next week, the 0-2 Panthers play game two of a three-game home stretch. They will host 0-3 Charlotte at 7 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, Sept. 17.
North Carolina, now undefeated through three games, have an early season bye week after playing in Week 0.