FINAL: Georgia State 41, Shorter 7
The Hawks continued moving the ball after the start of the fourth quarter, making their way into Georgia State territory. The drive resulted in Shorter's first points of the game, as Williams dove into the end zone from a yard out to make the score 27-7.
On the ensuing Shorter kickoff, Albert Wilson took the ball at the goal line and ran it back all the way to the Shorter 47 for a 53-yard return. Running back Sam Burkhalter got into the game for the first time and picked up a first down with a 14-yard run, and Hill, in again at QB, got another 14-yard run to move the ball to the Shorter 16.
Little back in at QB again, and he throws a 16-yard STRIKE to wide receiver Jordan Giles for his second passing TD of the night. Panthers on top, 34-7 after the 47-yard drive.
After a Shorter turnover on downs, Burkhalter ripped off a long run to set up Hill for a 24-yard TD to cap the scoring with eight seconds left in the game ... GSU 41, Shorter 7 would be the final.
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Shorter received the ball at the beginning of the half, marching the ball with straight running plays to the GSU 32. A lost fumble and a big Brent McLendon tackle for loss helped push the Hawks back to their own 46, but a 20-yard third-down completion by Shorter's Ben Williams put the ball back on the 27. A delay of game pushed the Hawks back 5 more yards for the field goal attempt, which sailed wide and gave the Panthers their first possession of the second half.
Little hit Ogbuehi over the middle for a 35-yard gain on the drive's first play to move the ball to the Shorter 35, but penalties and a stout Shorter effort on defense forced another Schlechter punt, which rolled out of bounds at the Hawks' 6-yard line.
After another three-and-out forced by the GSU 'D', the Panthers started on their own 40 after an illegal block pushed back Matthews' return. Then the offense went to work. A first-down passing strike from Little to Williams gained 13 yards, then running back Travis Evans rumbled 8 yards to set up a Little first-down sneak. A pass interference call against Shorter on the ensuing first down play put the ball on the 10-yard line, and on the next play Parris Lee raced to the corner of the end zone to give the Panthers their second touchdown of the night. The third quarter ended with Shorter in possession of the ball at midfield with the score 27-0 in favor of GSU.
The second quarter began with a Shorter punt, giving redshirt freshman quarterback Kelton Hill a change to go under center. Hill led the Panthers on a drive that would end in a Vance field goal, making the score 10-0 GSU.
After the ensuing kickoff, a quick Shorter fumble set up the Panthers on the Hawks' 30-yard line. With Little back in at QB the Panthers struck quickly, with wide receiver Sidney Haynes catching a Little pass for a 17-yard completion to get to the 8-yard line. That play set up the Panthers' first-ever receiving touchdown, an 8-yard pass hauled in by tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi to make the score 17-0 with another Vance PAT.
After the kickoff and a Panther defensive stop, Matthews fielded another Shorter punt and followed several crushing blocks to get to the sideline and pick up a 32-yard return, putting GSU on the Shorter 30-yard line. The drive ended in another Vance field goal, his second so far on the night, but not before an illegal touching penalty nullified what would have been a touchdown pass from Little to Williams. The first half ended with GSU on top 20-0.
Georgia State kicked off its inaugural season in the Georgia Dome in front of a raucous home crowd, jumping on the Shorter Hawks by the score of 7-0 after the first quarter.
After winning the coin toss and electing to receive, Parris Lee returned the opening kickoff 26 yards to the 37 to begin the new era of Panther athletics. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Drew Little took the first snap from center Ben Jacoby on the first offensive play.
The Panthers' first drive seemingly stalled on the Shorter 47, and punter Bo Schlechter, also a backup quarterback, booted a punt that rolled out of bounds at the Shorter 11-yard line. But an illegal participation call on the Hawks resulted in a 15-yard penalty, giving the Panthers the ball back at the Shorter 32.
A big third-down reception by wide receiver Danny Williams kept the drive alive inside the 10, and Lee punched it in with a 4-yard scoring run. Iain Vance knocked the extra point through the uprights to make it 7-0 Panthers. Georgia State's first-ever drive spanned 63 yards over 11 plays and took 5:49 off the clock.
Shorter managed a first down on its first series, but was eventually forced to punt to Demarius Matthews, who fair caught the ball at the GSU 29. Other firsts for GSU on Shorter's possession: Michael Hall made the first tackle overall for the Panthers on the kickoff, and outside linebacker Jake Muasau made the first stop from scrimmage.
A three-and-out for GSU forced another Schlecter punt, and Shorter started to move the ball on the ground with its option attack. Shorter reached the GSU 29 before a series of penalties pushed them back over midfield; the first quarter ended on a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on Shorter.