Boone, N.C. -- Despite a strong performance by the Georgia State defense, the Panthers fell 17-3 at Appalachian State in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Georgia State (0-4, 0-1 Sun Belt) senior receiver Robert Davis became the Panthers' all-time leading receiver on his second catch of the game. Davis had five catches for 56 yards on the day, raising his career total to 179 receptions and surpassing his former teammate Albert Wilson (175, 2010-13).
The GSU defense kept Appalachian State (3-2, 1-0 Sun Belt) off the scoreboard until the third quarter and kept the Panthers close until a Mountaineer touchdown with three minutes left.
The teams played a scoreless first half as the GSU defense came up with a couple of big plays. Linebacker Michael Shaw came up with his first career interception first career interception on a tipped ball near the sideline, and cornerback Jerome Smith's sack on third down that forced App State to settle for a 52-yard field goal attempt that was no good.
Appalachian State scored the game's first points on Jalin Moore's 45-yard touchdown run on the opening possession of the second half.
"Defensively, I thought we had a great plan and the guys did a good job," head coach Trent Miles said. "We gave up the one long run and then the jump ball there at the end to ice it, but for the most part, I thought our defense was sound all day."
Georgia State answered with a 43-yard field goal by Rogier ten Lohuis with nine minutes left in the third quarter, but that was all the Panthers could manage.
Moore led the Mountaineers with 159 yards rushing on 29 carries.
Penny Hart, the Panthers' standout receiver, started after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury, but the sophomore sustained a foot injury early in the game and now is likely out for the season.
"It was very difficult losing Penny Hart so early in the game," Miles said, "but our kids battled. Offensively, we just struggled. We ran the ball better in the beginning, but then they started loading the box and we were ineffective throwing the ball down the field. We've got to coach better and get them ready for Texas State."
Georgia State quarterback Conner Manning got off to a hot start, completing eight of his first 10 passes, but he finished 19-for-44 for 153 yards with four interceptions (including a hail mary on the final play of the game).
Manning's first-quarter interception ended his string of 82 straight passes without a pick and was the Panthers' first turnover of any kind since the first quarter of the season opener vs. Ball State.
Linebacker Alonzo McGee had a game-high 11 tackles to lead the defense.
Redshirt freshman punter Brandon Wright was a bright spot with seven punts for a 46.6-yard average.
Georgia State will play its first home game in more than a month next Saturday as the Panthers host Texas State at 3:30 p.m. at the Georgia Dome. Call 404-413-4020 or visit GeorgiaStateSports.com for tickets.