Georgia State lost its third game of the season to Charlotte 42-41 Saturday night after a late defensive pass interference call put the 49ers on the Panthers’ 2-yard line and in position to close the game.
After GSU’s Darren Grainger found Jamari Thrash for a 32-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth, it looked like the Panthers were going to win the game. However Charlotte moved 69 yards in under 90 seconds, 14 of those coming on a pass interference call in the end zone, and Chris Reynolds completed his fifth touchdown pass of the game.
Kicker Antonio Zita made the PAT kick to give Charlotte the one-point lead.
The Panthers completed a 40-yard Hail Mary on a final untimed down of the game but it was caught 32-yards short of the end zone and Thrash was unable to get a lateral off.
Georgia State kicker Michael Hayes missed a PAT half-way through the second quarter and Grainger’s two-point try in the fourth was incomplete, creating a two-point gap. Grainger rushed into the end zone on a two-point conversion after the Panthers’ final drive and score, but it still left a one-point deficit on the board.
Grainger and Reynolds accounted for nine of the game’s 12 touchdowns and combined for 744 passing yards. The former found Thrash 10 times for 213 yards, a Georgia State record, but the latter had no lack of weapons; four 49ers caught at least five passes and six receivers had at least 30 yards.
Reynolds returned to the 49ers lineup after missing the previous two games with an injury. He finished 31 of 43 for 401 yards, with five passing TDs and an interception.
“I love James Foster and I love Xaiver Williams, but No. 3 is different. Just felt a little different knowing he was going to play. We looked like a different football team,” 49ers head coach Will Healy said postgame.
This victory is Charlotte’s first of the season and are 1-3 on the season. They play at South Carolina, a team GSU lost to in week one, at 7:30 pm Eastern next week.
“It was a poorly executed football game, starting with me,” Shawn Elliott said of his team’s showing. “It starts with myself and it goes down to our assistant coaches, to our captains and our seniors and to everyone in that locker room. Offensively, defensively and special teams. It’s 42-41 and we missed an extra point, gave up a sack fumble and gave up 500 yards of offense. I’m just sick. We didn’t execute at all today, and it’s a very pitiful feeling.”
Georgia State is now 0-3, its worst start in the Shawn Elliott era, and will host Coastal Carolina on a short week. That game will kickoff at 7:30 pm Eastern on Thursday.