It was a disappointing Senior Day for the Georgia State football team as critical turnovers lead to a 31-28 home loss to Louisiana Monroe Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers (4-6, 3-3 Sun Belt) saw their two-game winning streak snapped while the Warhawks (4-6, 3-3) have now won their last two contests and keep their hopes of bowl eligibility alive.
Georgia State led in total offensive yards 535-300 and converted 13 out of 24 third-down attempts. The Panthers also converted on four out of seven fourth-down attempts and scored on all four possessions in the red zone.
Georgia State’s defense limited Monroe to a third-down conversion rate of three-for-12.
Offensive superlatives for Georgia State included quarterback Darren Grainger who threw for a game-high 349 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 31 yards. Jamari Thrash had a game-high 164 receiving yards on nine catches and Marcus Carroll had a game-high 110 rushing yards on 28 carries. Tucker Gregg’s two touchdowns give him 27 for the career which is a program record.
Monroe was led offensively by Chandler Rogers who threw for a team-high 225 yards. Defensive player Quae Drake had two touchdowns, one on a returned block punt and the other on an interception return for the Warhawks.
Georgia State started the second half with the ball and up 21-20. The Panthers lost possession of downs on an incomplete pass from Grainger to Aubry Payne.
After forcing a Warhawks’ punt, the Panthers increased their lead to 28-20 on a 21-yard touchdown catch by Ja’Cyais Credle on a fade route the back of the end zone on the left side.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Monroe kicker Calum Sutherland hit his third field goal fo the day, this one from 54 yards and grazed the crossbar to cut into Georgia State’s lead and making the score 28-23.
Monroe was driving the ball down the field on its next possession and got the ball into Panthers’ territory but Antavious Lane intercepted a deflected pass by Chandler Rogers intended for Zach Rasmussen.
The Warhawks took the lead on a 34-yard interception return for a touchdown by Drake. Rogers’ pass attempt was completed to Jevin Frett in the end zone on the two-point conversion giving Monroe the 31-28 lead with 6:23 left in regulation.
The Panthers got the ball back and on fourth and two from their own 48 yard line, Grainger was only able to gain one yard on a rush, tackled by Zach Woodward.
Georgia State’s defense forced a Monroe punt and gave its offense the ball on the 16-yard line and less than three minutes left on the clock.
The drive included multiple fourth-down conversions including a 17-yard completion by Grainger to Credle on 4th and 16. However, the drive stalled when the Panthers were held two yards short on 4th and 14 on a 12-yard catch by Thrash.
The Panthers got on the board on their first possession of the contest on a four-yard touchdown run down the right side by Grainger, making the score 7-0 early in the first quarter.
Monroe scored their first points on the next possession on a 44-yard field goal by Sutherland at the 6:35 mark of the first quarter.
Georgia State increased its lead to 14-3 later in the quarter when Gregg took an inside handoff four yards for a touchdown. A highlight of the drive was an over-the-shoulder catch by Thrash on a 49-yard pass from Grainger.
Monroe got a boost when Georgia State punter Michael Hayes’ attempt was blocked by Nick Torres, recovered in the air by Drake and ran back 23 yards for a touchdown at the 14:16 mark of the second quarter.
The Panthers rebounded on their next possession, driving the ball 75 yards on nine plays culminating with a nine-yard touchdown run down the middle by Gregg early in the second quarter.
Sutherland’s second field goal of the day, this one for 36 yards, cut Georgia State’ lead to 21-13 with 5:58 remaining in the first half.
Andrew Henry’s four-yard touchdown run for Monroe cut the Panthers lead to 21-20 at the 2:27 mark of the second quarter.
Georgia State turned the ball over on its next possession when Talilique Williams fumbled the ball after catching a pass from Grainger which was recovered by Fitzroy Gardner to end the first half.