Despite outgaining Charlotte in total yardage and holding a lead late in the fourth quarter, the Georgia State football team remained winless for its 2022 campaign with a 42-21 home defeat at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta Saturday night.
The Panthers (0-3) took the 41-35 lead at the 1:39 mark in the fourth quarter on Darren Grainger’s 32-yard touchdown pass down the middle to Jamari Thrash. Grainger scored the two-point conversion on a quarterback keeper.
Grainger threw for a team-high and career-high 343 yards and four touchdowns in the defeat. Thrash had a game-high and program-high 213 receiving yards on 10 catches.
Charlotte (1-3) got the ball and drove the ball down the field. The 49ers had their drive extended when Jaylon Jones was called for pass interference defending wide receiver Grant DuBose in the end zone. After a ChaVon McEachern one yard run on first down, he was stopped for a one-yard loss on second down on a tackle by Jordan Veneziale and Jontrey Hunter. However, Charlotte able to take a 42-41 lead with 17 seconds remaining on Chris Reynolds’ two-yard touchdown pass down the middle to DuBose.
Reynolds finished with a game-high 401 passing yards and five touchdowns. DuBose caught a team-high nine passes for 85 yards.
Georgia State got one final possession but weren’t able to ge the ball past midfield as time expired.
The Panthers outgained the 49ers in total yardage 602-501. Georgia State ran 89 plays compared to only 66 for the 49ers.
Charlotte first play from scrimmage in the fourth quarter resulted in a score as Reynolds found Henry Rutledge for a short pass towards the left sideline and behind a group of blockers he took the ball 31 yards into the end zone, making the score 35-27 in favor of the 49ers.
Georgia State responded with a two-yard rushing touchdown by Tucker Gregg with 11:00 left in regulation. The Panthers’ two-point attempt to tie the contest was unsuccessful as Grainger’s pass into the end zone was broken up. Gregg had a game-high 100 rushing yards.
Georgia State was able to stop Charlotte on the road team’s next possession on fourth down when Veneziale broke up a Reynolds pass intended for Dubose.
The Panthers went for it on fourth and four from the Charlotte 38-yard line but were unable to convert due to an incomplete pass by Grainger to Thrash.
Georgia State’s defense was able to hold and forced a punt, giving the Panthers the ball down 35-33 with 4:21 left in regulation.
From the beginning of the contest, both teams were able to advance the ball with ease offensively.
Georgia State jumped out to the 7-0 lead on its first possession of the contest on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Grainger to Kris Byrd.
Charlotte answered on its first offensive possession with Dubose’s seven-yard touchdown catch from Reynolds to tie the score.
On the next possession, Jamyest Williams’ 13-yard run precipitated a 34-yard touchdown pass towards the left side of the end zone over two Charlotte defenders from Grainger to Robert Lewis.
Georgia State got a big stop on fourth down deep in their territory on Charlotte’s next possession when Thomas Gore tackled Shadrick Byrd for a one-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the three-yard line.
On the first play of the second quarter, Charlotte tied the score at 14-14 when Barutti Mazangu’s sack forced a fumble by Granger which was recovered by Markees Watts and returned 52 yards for the touchdown.
The 49ers forced another turnover when pressure from defensive tackle Jalar Holley forced an errant pass from Grainger intercepted by defensive lineman Amir Saddiq.
The Panthers got the ball back with another interception in the contest. Quavian White intercepted a pass by Reynolds intended for Dubose.
After forcing a punt, Charlotte took a 21-14 lead on two-yard TD pass from Reynolds to Victor Tucker with 9:04 left in the first half.
Georgia State was able to cut the deficit to 21-20 on its next possession when Gregg rushed it down the right side for a two-yard touchdown. The big play of the drive was a 73-yard pass from Grainger to Thrash. Michael Hayes missed the extra point attempt at the 7:29 mark of the second quarter.
The Panthers outgained the 49ers in total yardage in the first half 309-223.
Leading 21-20 at halftime, Charlotte took the opening possession of the third quarter and proceeded to have a five-play, 75-yar scoring drive culminating in a seven-yard touchdown pass from Reynolds to Elijah Spencer.
Georgia State scored on its first possession of the second half as well as Grainger connected with Byrd on a six-yard touchdown pass on the left side, cutting the 49ers lead to 28-27.
The Panthers’ defense stepped up and stopped Charlotte on fourth down deep in its territory when Reynolds’ pass to Spencer in the end zone was broken up by Jaylon Jones late in the third quarter.
Georgia State returns to action on Thursday, September 22 at home against Coastal Carolina in its Sun Belt Conference opener.