Jacksonville, Ala.--Georgia State played nearly even with 16th-ranked Jacksonville State for three quarters before succumbing in the fourth quarter and falling, 37-21, Saturday afternoon at Burgess-Snow Field.
GSU (1-2) wide receiver Albert Wilson set a school-record with 146 yards receiving on six catches, including receptions of 53 and his 54 yards, but on his final catch covering 53 yards, the sophomore injured his hamstring.
Jacksonville State (2-1) quarterback Coty Blanchard completed nine of 11 passes for 155 yards and one touchdown while rushing 12 times for 77 yards and two scores. His 17-yard scoring run with four minutes remaining in the third quarter proved to be the key blow, putting the Gamecocks ahead, 24-14. The score came on fourth-and-one as Blanchard faked a handoff up the middle, snuck around the right side and then dove into the end zone.
The Panthers answered with Travis Evans' three-yard touchdown run to pull within 24-21 late in the third quarter. The 80-yard drive was highlighted by a 54-yard completion from quarterback Bo Schechter to Wilson. Georgia State's longest pass play of the season moved the Panthers to the JSU 27, and from there, GSU kept it on the ground. On first down at the 15, Evans ran 12 yards to the three and then bulled his way into the end zone on the next play.
Holding a three-point lead, Jacksonville State ground out a 13-play, 74-yard drive that lasted 7:24 and was capped by Washaun Ealey's four-yard run. Ealey, the Georgia transfer, finished with 82 yards on the ground, while backfield mate Calvin Middleton rushed for 89 yards and one score. For the game, JSU rushed for 246 yards.
Now leading 30-21, JSU forced the Panthers to go three-and-out and then managed another touchdown drive that was kept alive by a roughing the punter penalty. Blanchard scored from 11 yards out with 1:39 left for the final 37-21 margin.
"If we take out the penalties and simply play intelligently, then we are right in the game," said GSU head coach Bill Curry. "But we kept their drives alive with silly mistakes, and we didn't sustain enough offensively. We didn't show poise in the clutch."
The teams were tied at 14-all at the half. Jacksonville State opened the scoring on Blanchard's 28-yard touchdown pass to Kevyn Cooper with 10 minutes left in the first half, but Georgia State struck back as Schlechter found tight end Arthur Williams for an 11-yard touchdown with three minutes to play in the first quarter.
After the Gamecocks regained the lead early in the second quarter by blocking Drew Little's attempt at a quick kick and returning it 34 yards for a score, Georgia State again knotted the score on Donald's Russell's one-yard plunge. That score was set up by Demarius Matthews' 67-yard kickoff return to the JSU 24-yard line.
Schlechter passed for 145 yards and one touchdown while completing 15 of 26 passes. He added 29 yards rushing. Donald Russell managed 47 yards and a touchdown, while Evans finished with 41 yards rushing, one touchdown, and five catches for 27 yards.
Georgia State plays its second straight road game next Saturday at Houston in a 8 p.m. ET contest that will be regionally televised on CSS.