MEMPHIS – Georgia State fell 59-22 at Memphis in a Friday night game at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Playing without four starters in the secondary, the Panthers struggled defensively as Memphis quarterback Brady White threw five touchdown passes and Darrell Henderson rushed for 233 yards and two scores.
Georgia State quarterback Dan Ellington, from nearby Olive Branch, Miss., passed for 107 yards and scored his first rushing touchdown on a 1-yard run early in the second quarter. That capped a 12-play, 70-yard drive and pulled the Panthers within 21-10, but Memphis responded with two touchdowns and a field goal to take a 38-10 halftime lead.
True freshmen running backs Destin Coates and Seth Paige combined for 103 yards on 19 carries, including Paige’s 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Backup quarterback Aaron Winchester added 37 yards rushing.
Redshirt freshman Jaylon Jones grabbed his first interception near the goal line and returned it for a 1-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Starting safeties DeAndre Applin and Remy Lazarus both missed the game due to injuries, as did junior cornerback Cedric Stone, and senior Jerome Smith was injured early in the game. With the defense depleted by injuries, the Panthers played seven true freshmen and four redshirt freshmen for a significant number of snaps on that side of the ball.
“Three of the four playing in the secondary are freshmen, but it is what it is,” head coach Shawn Elliott said. “They’ve got to grow up in a hurry.
“It’s our job to get them better, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Georgia State returns home to host Western Michigan next Saturday, Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. at Georgia State Stadium.