Despite holding a third quarter lead and getting two interceptions from defensive back Quavian White, the Georgia State football team was unable to overcome multiple special team mistakes and first-half offensive struggles in its 35-14 road loss to South Carolina to open the 2022 campaign.

“Obviously a disappointing opening contest,” Georgia State head coach Shawn Elliott said after the game. “We as a football team came in here prepared to win, fight and play extremely hard. We got some areas that were exploited tonight. We have a talented, hard working football team and I think we’ll grow and get better.”

Georgia State’s (0-1) first eight offensive plays from scrimmage were runs. On fourth and one from the Gamecocks’ eight yard line, Tucker Gregg’s run up the middle was stopped for no gain by South Carolina (1-0) defender Nick Emmanwori, giving it possession of the ball.
The Gamecocks best offensive play in the first quarter came on a roll out pass by Spencer Rattler down the right side to Jalen Brooks for 39 yards. Rattler, the Oklahoma transfer making his debut for South Carolina, finished the night with game-high 226 passing yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Later on the same drive, South Carolina ran a fake field goal attempt with holder Hunter Rogers taking the snap and rushing for five yards to gain the first down. The Gamecocks ended the drive on a one-yard touchdown by MarShawn Lloyd at the 13:38 mark of the second quarter. South Carolina failed the extra point on a bad snap, making the score 6-0.

“We started with the fake field goal that gave them an opportunity for a first down which was critical,” Elliott said of the special team struggles. “We had not one but two blocked punts for touchdowns which is unacceptable. Those right there (three plays) were a culmination of everything and was probably the difference.”

Georgia State stalled a Gamecocks drive midway through the second quarter highlighted by a pass breakup by White on an attempt to Josh Vann in single coverage on third down. South Carolina was able to increase its lead to 9-0 on the next play on Mitch Jeter’s 53-yard field goal with 6:12 remaining in the first half.
Georgia State got on the board on its next possession. Grainger’s 17-yard touchdown pass wide receiver Robert Lewis on an inside route made the score 9-7 at the 4:20 mark of the second quarter. Granger threw for 111 yards with a touchdown and interception on the night.

“When you look at us offensively and defensively, its hard for me to really say but I believed we went toe-to-toe with them in those two areas,” Elliott said. “I didn’t feel like our team was intimidated. We went out there and moved the football and had opportunities to win the game in those two phases.”

South Carolina went for it on fourth and one with less than 20 seconds left at its own 42 yard line. Lloyd ran for the first down and was hit late by Georgia State defender Blake Carroll, giving the home team an additional 15 yards. Jeter’s 51-yard field goal was the final play of the first half and increased the Gamecocks’ lead to 12-7.
South Carolina outgained Georgia State 185-147 in the first half.
Trailing 12-7 at halftime, Georgia State got a big boost when White intercepted Rattler on the first offensive play of the second half.
The Panthers took advantage on the subsequent possession with Grainger’s four yard touchdown run at the 11:43 mark of the third quarter, giving them the 14-12 lead. Georgia State rushed for 200 total yards in the contest.
The Gamecocks retook the lead on their next possession with Rattler’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Lloyd with 7:20 left in the third quarter. Rattler’s successful two-point conversion run made the score 20-14 in favor of South Carolina.
South Carolina increased its lead at the 5:12 mark of the third quarter when Michael Hayes’ punt was blocked by Rashad Amos and recovered by DQ Smith who returned the ball 26 yards for the touchdown.
White got his second interception of the night on an intended pass for Austin Stogner by Rattler.
South Carolina blocked its second punt of the night for a touchdown with 11:30 left in regulation, this one by Traevon Kenion and recovered by Ahmarean Brown who ran it back 10 yards for the touchdown, making the score 35-14.
Georgia State outgained South Carolina in total offense 311-306 for the entire contest but less than half of them came in the first half. Jamyest Williams had a game-high 76 rushing yards for the Panthers in defeat. Jamari Thrash posted a team-high 70 rushing yards as well for Georgia State.