Release from Georgia State Athletics:
Quarterback Nick Arbuckle and safety Tarris Batiste were honored by the Sun Belt Conference for leading Georgia State to a record-setting and bowl-clinching 34-7 victory at rival Georgia Southern.
Arbuckle was named Offensive Student-Athlete of the Week for the third time this season, and Batiste was recognized as the top Defensive Student-Athlete for the second time in three weeks. The pair led Georgia State to its fourth straight win by handing Georgia Southern its worst home loss ever.
Georgia State (6-6, 5-3 Sun Belt) now heads to the AutoNation Cure Bowl to face San Jose State Dec. 19 in Orlando, Fla.
Batiste had two interceptions, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and eight tackles to lead
a defensive effort that limited Georgia Southern to 203 total yards, including just 135 yards rushing for the nation’s top rushing attack that entered the game averaging 375.6 yards. The last time Georgia Southern scored as few as seven points at home was a 2002 loss to Wofford.
The 203 yards allowed are the fewest in Georgia State history, while the seven points allowed equals a program low and are the fewest against an FBS opponent.
With the score tied at 7-7 in the second quarter, Georgia Southern drove to the Panthers’ 15-yard line. On 2-and-7, Batiste broke up a pitch to force a fumble. Georgia Southern recovered, but two plays later the Eagles missed a field goal.
Georgia Southern was driving again late in the first half when Batiste ended the threat with an interception at the GSU 5-yard line to preserve the 7-7 tie.
His second interception came midway through the fourth quarter at the Georgia State 30 and effectively ended the game. It also gave him the Georgia State season record of four interceptions and tied the career record of five. Batiste is the fourth player in GSU history with two interceptions in a game.
Batiste, from Cartersville, Ga., had a tackle for loss in a scoreless first quarter in which the Georgia State defense allowed just one first down and 26 yards. With two tackles for loss in the game, he set a new GSU career record with 21.5 career TFL.
After the teams played to a 7-7 tie in the first half, the senior from Camarillo, Calif., exploded in the second half as the Panthers scored four straight touchdowns on their first four possessions after halftime.
Arbuckle was 11-for-12 for 216 yards and two touchdowns in the second half, directing touchdown drives of 87, 85, 81 and 56 yards.
After throwing a 63-yard touchdown pass to Penny Hart in the first half, he hit Robert Davis with an 18-yard touchdown and tight end Keith Rucker with a 4-yard scoring strike.
The Sun Belt’s leading passer, Arbuckle has directed the Panthers remarkable turnaround with 4,160 yards and 26 touchdowns. He is just 94 yards shy of the Sun Belt single season record of 4,254 yards.
On Georgia State’s current four-game winning streak, Arbuckle is averaging 374 yards passing and completing 66 percent of his passes with 10 TD passes, two touchdowns rushing and just three interceptions.