SAN ANTONIO-One week after earning dramatic overtime victory, Georgia State was the victim in overtime, falling at UTSA, 17-14, Saturday at the Alamodome.
UTSA's (3-5) Sean Ianno tied the game with a 39-yard field goal with just 24 seconds left in regulation, and then the Roadrunners' placekicker booted the game-winning 32-yarder in the first overtime after GSU missed its field goal attempt in the extra session.
Georgia State (2-6) used the running of Donald Russell, who finished with 87 yards on 21 carries, and the passing combination of Kelton Hill-to-Albert Wilson to take a 14-0 lead in the first half before the Roadrunners began to chip away.
The GSU defense appeared to seal the victory with pass breakups by Demarius Matthews and Demazio Skelton on third and fourth down, respectively, giving the Panthers the ball at the UTSA 31 with a 14-11 lead and 3:42 left. But three plays netted just three yards, and Christian Benvenuto missed a 45-yard field goal.
That allowed UTSA to move in position for the tying field goal. Quarterback Eric Soza, who passed for 189 yards, hit a 17-yard completion to Brandon Freeman on fourth down, and then found Freeman again for another 17 yards for a first down at the GSU 30.
In the overtime, GSU went on offense first and its possession began with a false start penalty, and ended with Benevenuto unable to hit a 48-yard field goal.
"UTSA is a good team, but this is a very disappointing loss because we just kept making mistakes and shooting ourselves in the foot," said GSU head coach Bill Curry.
"We've got to be able to run the ball when we need to, even if the other team knows we're going to run it, and we didn't get that done," he continued.
After a scoreless first quarter, Georgia State got on the board on Russell's 24-yard touchdown run, on which he appeared stopped behind the line of scrimmage before reversing field and outracing the defense to the end zone.
Russell's team-leading ninth touchdown of the season capped an eight-play drive that covered 97 yards, the longest drive in school history. The previous long was a 90-yard march against Murray State.
After a squib kickoff and a 23-yard completion from Soza to Evan Okotcha, UTSA had a first down at the GSU 35, but the Panther defense held and forced the Roadrunners to try a 50-yard field goal that fell short, and put Georgia State back on offense.
On first down from the GSU 46, Hill found Wilson behind the defense for a 54-yard touchdown, the third time in the last two games that those two have hooked up for a scoring pass of more than 50 yards.
The Panthers looked to take the shutout into the locker room, but back-to-back roughing the passer penalties allowed UTSA to get in position for Ianno's 30-yard field goal just six seconds before the intermission.
The third quarter was also scoreless, Georgia State held its 14-3 lead until UTSA completed a 12-play, 80-yard drive, capped by a nine-yard scoring run by Chris Johnson. Soza then hit Freeman for the two-point conversion to pull the Roadrunners within three with 14 minutes to play. Georgia State appeared to have the drive stopped early on, but an offsides penalty nullified a third-down incompletion, and UTSA capitalized.
"That one definitely hurts because we had it in our grasp," said outside linebacker Jake Muasau, who finished with a game-high 10 tackles, two tackles for loss and an interception. "We have to learn from this and move on."
Hill, making his second straight start, completed six of 15 passes for 91 yards and rushed 11 times for 46 yards. The Panthers managed 164 yards rushing as a team.
Freshman punter Matt Hubbard had his best day, averaging 47 yards on five punts, including a 64-yarder that is the longest in GSU history.