KALAMAZOO – Georgia State suffered its first loss of the season as the Panthers fell 57-10 at Western Michigan Saturday night at Waldo Stadium.
Tra Barnett recorded his second career 100-yard rushing game for Georgia State (2-1), finishing with 127 yards on 19 carries.
Western Michigan (2-1) was led by Levante Bellamy who rushed 15 times for 192 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Jon Wassink was 15-of-20 for 246 yards and a touchdown for the Broncos, who finished the night with 694 yards of total offense, including 450 yards rushing.
Trailing 17-3 late in the first quarter, the Panthers took over at their own 25, and on the first play, Ellington broke through the middle for a career-long 64-yard run. Then he tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Aubry Payne, who made a spectacular juggling catch. The junior tight end has caught a touchdown in each of the first three games.
But then the Broncos (2-1) reeled off 26 straight points to take a 43-10 lead into the locker room.
"They were able to do about anything they wanted to us offensively,” head coach Shawn Elliott said. “The inability to stop the run is the most obvious thing. It was a poor effort defensively.
“After we got behind, we were pressing offensively and couldn't get anything going. We tried to come out and do something in the second half and just got further behind.”
Ellington finished the game 11-of-20 for 126 yards and a touchdown, while rushing nine times for 44 yards.
The Panthers hurt themselves with three turnovers and an uncharacteristic nine penalties for 95 yards.
One bright spot for Georgia State was punter Brandon Wright, who averaged 49.2 yards on eight punts, including a 56-yard boot that was downed at the 1-yard line and a 55-yarder downed at the 4. He also kicked a 32-yard field goal.
“Very disappointing, very embarrassing defeat, to come out and play like that,” Elliott said. “A lot of humbled men in that locker room right now, and rightfully so. We'll get ready for our conference start next week."
Georgia State plays its second straight road game next Saturday, when the Panthers open Sun Belt Conference play at Texas State (7 p.m. on ESPN+). The Panthers’ next home game is Saturday, Oct. 5 as Arkansas State visits for Homecoming in a 3:30 p.m. kickoff at Georgia State Stadium. For tickets, visit GeorgiaStateSports.com/tix or call 404-413-4020.