Despite the tough loss to the powerful Crimson Tide (8-2), head coach Bill Curry and the Panthers (6-5), already assured of a winning season, reveled in the rare opportunity for a first-year program to take on the defending national champions and receive unprecedented exposure on ESPN.
"I told them before the game, I'm going to be proud of you regardless of the outcome, and I am," said Curry. "We're a better football team right now than we were before the game because of what we learned. I'm grateful to our administration for making this happen, and I'm grateful to Alabama."
Highlights for Georgia State included Albert Wilson's 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 55-yard pass completion from Drew Little to tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi for the Panthers' longest pass play of the season.
Wilson's return was the second kickoff return for touchdown for Georgia State in its inaugural season, following Darren McCray's 96-yard against Campbell this season. Not only was that the first surrendered by Alabama this season, but the previous long return against the Crimson Tide was 37 yards.
The Little-to-Ogbuehi came on the Panthers' first play from scrimmage and moved the Panthers to the Alabama 30-yard line. But two penalties pushed GSU back, and then the drive ended on an interception.
The Panthers trailed 14-0 at the end of the first quarter before the Tide exploded for 28 second-quarter points, including an interception return for a touchdown and a blocked punt for a score, to take a 42-7 lead into the intermission.
The Alabama defense, which leads the nation in interceptions, picked off four against the Panthers, including one that C.J. Mosley returned 41 yards for a touchdown.
"Alabama is a great football team," said Curry. "We worked hard to not be overwhelmed by the whole scene, but we were. Alabama really took the wind out of our sails."