BOONE, N.C. -- Despite a career-high 113 yards rushing by quarterback Dan Ellington, Georgia State fell to Appalachian State 45-17 on Saturday afternoon at Kidd-Brewer Stadium.
Ellington is the first Georgia State (2-9, 1-6 Sun Belt) quarterback to rush for 100 yards since Kelton Hill in 2011. After missing last week’s game due to an injury, Ellington finished 10-for-21 for 132 yards and a touchdown.
"Dan wants every inch of this football field," head coach Shawn Elliott said. "He goes out there and tries to make it happen on every play. I'm just proud to have that young man on our football team."
Appalachian State (8-2, 6-1 Sun Belt) was led by quarterback Zac Thomas who went 20-for-24 for 282 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He also rushed seven times for 27 yards and a touchdown.
Brandon Wright, a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top punter, also showed off his kicking ability with a 52-yard field goal, just one yard shy of Wil Lutz's school-record boot of 53 yards vs. Alabama in 2013.
With 197 yards rushing today, the Panthers surpassed the Georgia State season record for rushing yards with one game to play. GSU now has 1,963 yards on the year, bettering the mark of 1,847 yards set in 2011.
In addition to Ellington's yards, true freshman Tucker Gregg provided a spark with 43 yards on just four carries. Senior DeMarcus Kirk scored on a 3-yard run.
Georgia State got off to a good start as Ellington directed a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive on the Panthers' first possession, capping it with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Tamir Jones.
The Mountaineers answered with touchdowns on their first two possessions before the GSU defense stiffened and allowed just a field goal with 11 seconds left in the first half as App State took a 17-7 lead into the locker room. After App State drove for a touchdown to open the second half, the Mountaineers then returned an interception for a touchdown to go ahead 31-7.
"You can't doubt their effort," Elliott said. "We had our opportunties offensively in the first half to put it in and the defensive rose up, but we had back-to-back bad possessions to start the third quarter and it kind of steamrolled. It was uncharacteristic for us to throw that interception for a touchdown, but this team continues to fight."
Ellington's third quarter interception was his first since Game 4 vs. Western Michigan, ending a string of 149 passes without an interception, the second-longest streak in school history. The record is 202 by Drew Little in the 2010 inaugural season.
With his first catch of the game, Penny Hart reached the 200 career catch milestone. The junior ranks second in GSU history and seventh in Sun Belt annals with 201 career receptions.
There's a lot of upside with this group and a lot of positive things to point to," Elliott said after returning to his alma mater as a head coach for the first time. "We've got to grow, we've to develop, we've got to coach better and we need to have some better play, but we need to understand we're all in this together. We'll keep our heads held high and move forward.
"There's a lot more football to play, and there's a lot more growth in this football team."
Georgia State concludes the season by hosting in-state rival Georgia Southern next Saturday at 2 p.m. at Georgia State Stadium.