ATLANTA -- Despite a late scoring rally, Georgia State fell 40-31 to Texas State at “Pete” Petit Field at Georgia State Stadium on Saturday.
Tra Barnett rushed for 85 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns for Georgia State (2-7, 1-4 Sun Belt). He has scored all seven of his touchdowns this season in the team’s last five games. GSU quarterback Dan Ellington rushed for a career-high 89 yards along with 112 yards passing before leaving the game with an injury late in the third quarter.
Aaron Winchester, who finished the game for Ellington, went 10-for-18 with 112 yards passing and two touchdowns, one through the air and one on the ground.
Quarterback Willie Jones III turned in a strong performance for Texas State (3-6, 1-4 Sun Belt) with 325 yards on 21-for-26 passing and three touchdowns including one rushing score.
“Certainly wasn’t the day we wanted,” head coach Shawn Elliott said. “The game really got out of hand on the first and second series of the second half. We didn’t really have an answer defensively. Overall offensively we were able to move the ball somewhat, but it definitely wasn’t enough.
“A lot of change has to happen, from a personnel standpoint, from a scheme standpoint, from a lot of standpoints.
"You stay motivated because you want to become a better man, a better player
Georgia State started well as Barnett capped off a nine play, 75-yard drive with a 29-yard touchdown run. Jones answered quickly for Texas State its first possession with a 48-yard touchdown run, but a blocked extra point by Javonte Lain kept the Panthers in the lead, 7-6. The Bobcats scored again on their next offensive possession, a 2-yard touchdown run by Anthony D. Taylor, to go up 13-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Penny Hart helped put Georgia State back in scoring position late in the second quarter with an explosive 48-yard punt return, setting up a 27-yard field goal by Brandon Wright to pull the Panthers back to within three, 13-10 heading into halftime.
But the Bobcats started the second half by scoring 20 unanswered points to ultimately put the game out of reach for the Panthers. Georgia State scored three times in the fourth quarter to tighten the deficit, starting with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Winchester to Devin Gentry. Barnett scored his second touchdown of the game on a four-yard run with just under five minutes remaining in the game before Winchester’s touchdown run as time expired.
The Panthers finished with 221 yards rushing, giving them 501 yards on the ground over the last two games.
Tight end Roger Carter led the receiving corps with four catches for 47 yards, while Hart added four receptions for 31 yards.
Lain, the sophomore defensive end, blocked two kicks in the game, adding a second-quarter field goal attempt to his first-quarter blocked PAT.
Punter Brandon Wright continued his strong season, averaging 44.8 yards on four punts along with his 27-yard field goal.
Georgia State heads back out on the road next week to face Louisiana on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 5 p.m. on ESPN+.