ATLANTA--Playing its third straight overtime, the Georgia State football team dropped a 30-27 decision in overtime to St. Francis (Ill.) Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
GSU quarterback Kelton Hill had a career-high 98 yards rushing with two touchdowns passing and another score on the ground.
The Panthers (2-7) held a 27-17 lead late in the fourth quarter, but St. Francis (8-2) rallied to score 10 points in the final five minutes, tying the game as time expired on a 31-yard field goal.
In overtime, the Panthers were stopped on their opening possession as Matt Ehasz' 47-yard field goal attempt bounced off the upright. The Saints' Sean Murray then hit a 30-yarder on USF's first possession to end the game.
Hill finished the game 14-for-24 passing for 197 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also had an eight-yard touchdown on the ground.
Sophomore Albert Wilson hauled in seven grabs for 89 yards while sophomore Danny Williams became the first player in school history to pass 1,000 career receiving yards, making two catches for 48 yards and a touchdown.
"It is very, very disappointing," head coach Bill Curry said after the loss. "(St. Francis) of course did a marvelous job. They are a good team and they deserved to win but this shouldn't have happened."
The Panthers took the opening drive down for a touchdown as Hill capped a five-play, 54 yard drive with a 22-yard pass to Williams over the middle. It was Williams' second touchdown grab of the season.
USF put together a 10-play drive in the second quarter to get inside the GSU 10 yard line, but the Panther defense held USF to a 24-yard field goal that made it 7-3.
Minutes later, USF quarterback E.J. White found wideout Desmond Page for a 58-yard touchdown strike to put the Saints on top, 10-7.
On GSU's next offensive snap, Hill ripped off a 52-yard run down the sideline to the Saints' 21. The Panthers' drive would stall however, and Christian Benvenuto drilled a 36-yard field goal to tie the game, 10-10.
Hill then led GSU on a nine-play, 80-yard drive before halftime to reclaim the lead. Jordan Giles hauled in a 31-yard pass in the corner of the end zone with 27 seconds remaining in the half to give GSU a 17-10 advantage.
GSU took their opening possession of the second half on a 13-play, 65 yard scoring drive. The Panthers faced a 4th-and-12 after reaching USF's 32, but Hill found Wilson streaking over the middle for a 23-yard pass to extend the drive. Two plays later, Hill capped the seven-minute drive with an eight yard run for a touchdown, making it 24-10.
St. Francis drove the ball to the GSU 15 on their next possession, but the drive ended without a score as Murray missed a 31-yard attempt.
Hill went over the top to Wilson on the next play, launching a 50-yard strike down the right sideline that Wilson plucked out of double-coverage, bringing the third quarter to a close. The drive would later stall however as GSU failed to duplicate its fourth-down success, Hill being stopped on a scramble up the middle on 4th and 13.
USF quickly pulled back within one score after a three-play, 70-yard drive that ended with Anthony Hubert's 42-yard touchdown run, making it 24-17 GSU with 12:14 remaining in the game. The Saints then attempted an onside kick, but Panther Kail Singleton jumped on the loose ball to give GSU possession.
After the teams traded possessions, GSU's Ehasz connected on a 34-yard field goal with 5:05 remaining to extend the lead to 27-17.
White led the Saints down the field once more, ending with a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Luke Gundersen in the back of the end zone to make it 27-24 with 1:24 on the clock.
The Saints then attempted their second onside kick, this time recovering it to extend the game. USF then drove for the tying score. After converting on 4th-and-3 for a first down at the GSU 30, White completed a 16-yard pass to Elliot Allen who barely made it out of bounds to stop the clock. With one second on the clock, and the ball at the GSU 14, Murray came on to kick the game-tying field goal from 31 yards and send the game into overtime.
The Panthers went on offense first in overtime but failed to move the ball. Facing 4th and 15 from the 30, GSU was forced to try a 47-yard field goal by Ehasz. The kick bounced off the bottom corner of the upright and was no good.
The Saints then took their possession to down to the 15-yard line after a quarterback keeper by White. After the Panther defense allowed just two yards on the next three plays, Murray came in and made the 30-yard game winner.
GSU has now played five overtime games in the program's two seasons.
The Panthers return to action next Saturday with their final road game of the season, at West Alabama at 7 p.m.
GSU's final game of the season comes at the Georgia Dome Nov. 19 against Campbell at 2 p.m.