The Georgia State football team dropped its season opener at home to Army 43-10 Sept. 4.
The Black Knights (1-0) controlled the line of scrimmage gaining 258 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Army finished the day with 356 total yards while converting seven out of 16 third-down attempts. The Black Knights possessed the ball for 42:00 minutes in their victory.
“This game was about toughness today and you saw who was the toughest team out there,” Georgia State head coach Shawn Elliott said.
The Panthers (0-1) struggled offensively throughout the day and only amassed 177 total yards.
“Army has a really good defense,” Elliott said. “They’re very skilled, had a good game plan and I don’t think we executed very well.”
Georgia State’s offense started slowly with Destin Coates’ fumble on its first possession recovered by several Army defenders.
“From our opening possession with the fumble things just went south,” Elliott said. “We didn’t play well all the way around. Turnovers are so critical and when you’re playing a team like Army, you have to steal the turnovers. You’re behind a possession. It was not a good feeling.”
The Black Knights were able to take advantage of the opportunity and took a 7-0 lead on a Tyson Riley four-yard rushing touchdown at the 9:17 mark of the first quarter.
Army increased its lead to 14-0 later in the first quarter on AJ Howard’s four-yard touchdown run.
The Black Knights’ offense continued its strong form and took a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter on a two-yard TD run by Jakobi Buchanan.
Georgia State got on the board at the 4:03 mark of the second quarter on Coates’ 16-yard touchdown run, making the score 21-7. He had a team-high 48 rushing yards in the loss.
Army was able to get good position on the Panthers’ next possession when Cornelius Brown’s pass was incepted by Jabari Moore deep in Georgia State territory. In the final play from scrimmage in the firs half, Christian Anderson’s two-yard TD run increased the Black Knights’ lead to 27-7 heading into the locker room. Anderson had a team-high 55 rushing yards in the victory.
Army outgained Georgia State in total yardage 179-102 in the first half. The Black Knights also had a time of possession of 22:09 minutes through the first two quarters.
On the Panthers first possession of the second half, they were unable to convert on fourth down as Coates was stopped short on a rushing attempt by Chris Frey and Nolan Cockrill.
“We didn’t do what we were supposed to do,” Georgia State senior offensive lineman Malik Sumter said. “We weren’t efficient. We knew we weren’t going to get many drives.”
On the very next play, Anderson connected with Tyrell Robinson on a 40-yard touchdown pass with 9:33 left in the third quarter, making the score 33-7.
The two teams traded field goals before Jemel Jones’ 32-yard touchdown pass to Braheam Murphy late in the fourth quarter concluded the scoring for Army.
Brown threw for a game-high 129 yards for Georgia State. Jamari Thrash was a bright spot offensively for the Panthers with game-high 87 receiving yards on seven catches.
“It was an embarrassing effort,” Elliott said. “I told our team that it falls on my shoulders. I know how to fix that, how to get our coaches to approach it differently and get our players to understand what’s it going to take.”