ATLANTA – The football era began at Georgia State with a 41-7 victory over NAIA Shorter in the Georgia Dome Thursday night. Quarterback Drew Little led the Panthers attack with a 13-of-17 performance and two passing touchdowns, while running back Parris Lee scored twice on the ground.
The program's first-ever game capped a preparation period that began in April 2008, when it was first announced that the school would field a football team.
"I've never been more proud of a group of young men than I am of this group," said head coach Bill Curry.
Georgia State (1-0) piled up 366 yards of total offense, including 212 yards rushing, in the contest and allowed the Shorter offense inside the red zone just once in the game. Safety Brandon Jones led the defense with six tackles on the night.
The Panthers jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, moving the ball 63 yards on 11 plays on the game’s first possession and capping the drive with a 4-yard Lee touchdown run. A 15-yard completion by Little to wide receiver Danny Williams on third down put the ball inside the Shorter 10 and helped set up the opening score.
Georgia State scored three times in the second quarter on two Iain Vance field goals (from 22 and 18 yards out) and a touchdown drive of 30 yards after the Panthers recovered a Shorter fumble. Little found tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi for an 8-yard score and the Panthers’ first-ever touchdown through the air.
Quarterback Kelton Hill piloted the offense for the first drive of the second half, which resulted in the first of the period’s two field goals. Hill capped the scoring in the contest with a 24-yard touchdown run with eight seconds remaining in the game.
The second-half scoring for the Panthers began with Lee’s second touchdown of the game, a 10-yard run into the corner of the end zone with 2:12 left in the third. Little found wide receiver Jordan Giles from 16 yards out for the Panthers’ first score of the fourth quarter and his second passing touchdown of the night.
Shorter scored its first points of the game with 8:14 left in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Ben Williams, making the score 27-7. The Hawks had a chance to get on the scoreboard on their first possession of the second half, but David Guilford hooked the 51-yard field goal attempt wide left.
Georgia State finished the game with no turnovers; Shorter gave the ball up twice on the evening.
"When you don't turn the ball over and you get some turnovers you almost always win," added Curry. "That is an incredible coefficient of victory that we have hammered and preached so hard."
Official attendance for the game was announced at 30,237, with overflow into the mezzanine level of the Georgia Dome.