ATLANTA – Conner Manning passed for a career-high 422 yards and Georgia State had three 100-yard receivers for the first time in school history, but the Panthers fell to UL Monroe 37-23 Saturday at the Georgia Dome as the Warhawks' Thomas Koufie rushed for 201 yards and five touchdowns.
Manning was 19-for-30 passing with touchdown passes to Robert Davis, Glenn Smith and Jawan Nobles, who each topped the century mark. Manning's 422 yards passing are the second-most in school history, bettered only by Nick Arbuckle's school-record of 471.
Davis continued to cement his name in the Georgia State history book with five catches for 114 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown. Already GSU's career leader in receptions, he broke the Panthers' career record for receiving yards previously held by Albert Wilson. Davis now has 3,203 career yards, among the top 10 active leaders in FBS, on 209 catches.
Davis also caught a pass in his 47th straight game, the longest current streak among all active FBS players.
Smith caught four passes for a career-high 123 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown and a 78-yard reception down to the 13-yard line.
Nobles, a true freshman seeing his first significant action following a season-ending injury to Todd Boyd, hauled in a 61-yard scoring pass and finished with five catches for 103 yards.
Trailing 9-7 at the half, Georgia State took its first lead just three plays into the third quarter as Manning hit Davis down the left sideline for the 58-yard touchdown and a 13-9 lead.
But ULM returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards to the GSU 39, setting up Koufie's 18-yard touchdown.
Manning did it again three plays later, this time connecting with Nobles down the right side for the 68-yard score and putting GSU ahead 20-13 less than five minutes into the third quarter.
After ULM drove 82 yards for Kouffie's third touchdown to move ahead 23-20, it looked like Manning would make it three straight touchdowns as he hooked up Smith down the right sideline, but Smith was knocked out of bounds at the 13-yard line. However, the Panthers could not capitalize and had a 27-yard field goal blocked and returned to the ULM 38-yard line.
The Warhawks capitalized on the short field to take control of the game a 62-yard scoring drive, capped by Koufie's fourth touchdown.
Georgia State's defense, which has been outstanding for most of this season, held ULM to 76 yards rushing on 19 attempts in the first half, but the Warhawks managed 188 yards on the ground in the second half.
Sophomore linebacker Michael Shaw had a career-high 12 tackles and tied the GSU record with four tackles for loss, including one sack, but all came in the first half.
Georgia State fell to 2-8 and 1-5 in Sun Belt play, while UL Monroe improved to 4-6 and 3-3 in the league.
“I’m very disappointed," head coach Trent Miles said. "I thought we gave them the game. Obviously, with special teams giving up a safety, catching the punt in the end zone and not doing very well on offense in the first half. We weren’t able to run the football. The defense played well in the first half. The offense came out second half and got some points on the board. They opened it up a little bit and got us some quick strikes. I didn’t expect our defense to give up over 200 rushing yards.”
Georgia State will conclude the home portion of the schedule and close out the Georgia Dome next Saturday at 2 p.m. against in-state rival Georgia Southern.