ATLANTA -- Conner Manning completed 17 of 22 passes for 182 yards and Kyler Neal scored three touchdowns to lead the Blue Team (Offense) to a 27-19 victory over the White (defense) before a crowd of 2,500 fans in Georgia State's Blue-White spring game on a beautiful day at Grady Stadium in Midtown Atlanta.
Manning, the senior who started 10 games last fall, looked comfortable directing the offense installed by first-year head coach Shawn Elliott and his staff.
"We had a great environment today," Elliott said. "The fan support was great, and we had our youth clinic and the Easter egg hunt. I thought it was a fantastic day with beautiful weather, and our guys came out here and played hard. We ran 120-some-odd plays. They came out here and competed, and I like what we saw."
The team and staff began the day by conducting a free youth clinic for young fans, and then went through the scrimmage.
Manning spread the ball to several different receivers, including a pair of youngsters who had solid games. Redshirt freshman Eric Elder was the top pas catcher with six receptions for 81 yards, while Devin Gentry, a sophomore who saw limited duty last fall, had five catches for 39 yards. One of the highlights was Manning hooking up with Elder for a 45-yard completion over the middle.
Manning was one of four quarterbacks to see action, along with junior Jaquez Parks, sophomore Aaron Winchester and redshirt freshman Joshua Shim. Parks had the best numbers of the three, completing 10 of 12 passes for 77 yards. Shim had a nice 44-yard completion to Bryan Hypolite.
Neal, the senior running back, gained tough yards inside. Although he finished with just 29 yards on 12 carries, he scored on three short runs.
The defense earned points for turnovers, sacks, tackles for los and three-and-outs. Sixth-year senior safety Bryan Williams started the scoring for the defense with an interception. Linebacker Deshaun Faltz also had an interception, and Mackendy Cheridor had two tackles for loss.
As it has been for the entire spring, Elliott stressed physical play.
"There's only one way to play football, and that's to block and tackle," he said. "That's the only way I've ever been known to play it. That's the way we approached the spring, and we'll be no different than that in the fall. We're going to be a physical bunch. We've got to block and tackle and do the fundamentals right.
"All in all I thought it was a very good spring," Elliott continued. "Guys really increased their mental capacity and their toughness, and that's what I was looking for.
"We've got a football team that doesn't mind the work and doesn't complain. These guys have come to work every single day. They've put forth great effort, and they want to learn and they want to get better and they want to win and have fun doing it."
At halftime Manning was honored as the team's Top Offensive Player of the Spring, while defensive lineman Julien Laurent ws the Top Defensive Player. Elliott also presented awards to tight end Jacob Nesmith (Team Academic Award), center Gabe Mobley (Everyday Effort Award) and linebacker Demarcus Kirk (Ironman Award).
Georgia State football will play its first season in the new Georgia State Stadium in 2017, with the inaugural game scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 31 vs. Tennessee State. Season tickets are on sale now, beginning at $100.