Georgia State (2-3, 1-0) started its Sun Belt Conference play with a 46-14 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.
Here are five things to know about the Panthers win:
1. Panthers’ explosive first quarter
Georgia State opened the game with two touchdowns. On his first drive, quarterback Dan Ellington led the Panthers’ offense on a 75-yard drive. The quarterback’s 1-yard touchdown run gave the Panthers a lead that the team would not lose.
“You always want to get started off on a fast start,” Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott said. “When an offense and a defense can put up back-to-back fast starts … then you start saying, “OK, we’re rolling with something here.””
The Panthers’ second touchdown came after Louisiana-Monroe’s quarterback Caleb Evans threw his first interception of the game. Georgia State running back Tra Barnett capitalized off of Evans’ mistake with a 23-yard touchdown run in the Panthers’ next drive.
“(The defense) going out and doing their job and us doing our job makes everyone’s lives easier,” Ellington said.
2. Heyward’s first interception this season
Georgia State linebacker Victor Heyward picked up his first interception this season, picking off quarterback Caleb Evans in the first quarter.
Heyward’s 10-yard interception return set up a Georgia State scoring drive, ending after Barnett’s 23-yard touchdown run. The linebacker recovered a fumble later in the first half to set up another Georgia State scoring drive.
“This week at practice went really well for me,” Heyward said. “It gave the offense a boost and the defense a boost.”
3. Freshman running back makes Georgia State history
Seth Paige made Georgia State history with his 82-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The freshman’s 82-yard touchdown is the longest run from scrimmage in program history.
“It was evident from the moment those backs stepped on campus that they had the opportunity to break long ones,” Elliott said. “We just didn’t have the speed, the electric spark to get through the line of scrimmage … and Seth (Paige) has it.”
Paige rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
4. Penny Hart climbs on GSU career leaderboard
Georgia State wide receiver Penny Hart surpassed former Panther Albert Wilson in career receptions. With 177 career receptions, Hart becomes the wide receiver with the second-highest career receptions in Georgia State history. Hart sits behind Robert Davis (222) for the lead.
“I think it is just a matter of continuing to set a standard where each and every day we make history for ourselves,” Hart said.
5. Panthers rush for over 300 yards
Georgia State improved its running game after only rushing for a total of 58 yards in the team’s previous game.
The Panthers rushed for 308 yards Saturday. Paige led the Panthers in rushing with 145 yards and two touchdowns. Ellington rushed for 64 yards and one touchdown.
The Panthers continue Sun Belt play Thursday, Oct. 4, against Troy.