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Georgia State Win First Opener Since 2019, Beat Rhode Island 42-35

We almost saw the first FCS-FBS upset of the season.

NCAA Football: Georgia St. at Appalachian State Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia State beat FCS team Rhode Island 42-35 Thursday evening in Atlanta. The game was the first of the season for both sides, and snapped a three-year streak of opening game losses for the Panthers.

Rhode Island was never out of the game, and was leading as late as the third quarter. But a 63-yard rushing score from Marcus Carroll followed immediately by a Gavin Pringle pick-six swung momentum back to the Panthers, which they carried the remainder of the game.

Hill, who started 12 games for Maryland over two years but tore an ACL in consecutive seasons, has only had three multi-interception games in his career.

Carroll, in his first appearance as GSU’s full-time starting running back, finished the game with a career-best 184 yards and three touchdowns. the non-QB carries for GSU.

That carry was a one-yard loss by freshman KZ Adams.

While things were working on the ground and the air for GSU (Darren Grainger threw for 193 yards on 16-for-20 passing), the defense had difficulty stopping the Rams outside of Hill’s two interceptions.

Rhode Island punted only three times and converted 13 of 20 third downs.

Last year, Georgia State was among the worst in the Sun Belt at forcing punts, and had the fifth-worst third down defense in the conference.

The Panther D did, however, make the game’s only two sacks and added three other tackles for loss and hurried Hill twice.

Rhode Island has now lost back-to-back games to FBS opponents. The Rams beat UMass in 2022, but before that had gone 21 seasons without a win against an opponent from the upper division.

GSU, meanwhile, has not lost to an FCS team since 2017, the team’s fifth year in the FBS. The Panthers lost to Tennessee State in current head coach Shawn Elliott’s first game.


The Panthers host another New England team next week when they play UConn, who lost to NC State on Thursday. That game kicks off at 7:00 PM ET on September 9.

The Rams host Colonial Athletic Association rival Stony Brook on Friday, Sept. 8th at 7:00pm.