Kingston, R.I.--Donald Russell set Georgia State school records with 201 yards rushing and three touchdowns scored to lead the Panthers to a dominating 41-7 victory at Rhode Island Saturday afternoon at Meade Stadium, Georgia State's first win of the season.
Ben McLane passed for a career-best 213 yards and two touchdowns, Travis Evans scored twice and the Panthers did not commit a turnover or allow a sack. Meanwhile, the Georgia State (1-6) defense held Rhode Island (0-6) to 288 yards.
Russell, the senior from West Palm Beach, Fla., carried 21 times for 201 yards with two touchdown runs and also caught a 35-yard touchdown pass for 236 all-purpose yards, also a GSU record. His previous rushing high was 146 yards last season versus South Alabama, and the previous school record was held by Kelton Hill with 152 yards versus West Alabama in 2011.
Walking off the field with the game ball in his hand, GSU head coach Bill Curry said, "Somebody handed this to me, but this ball is for our football team. This is so wonderful and so sweet, there are no words.
"We showed what we can do when we play together and don't turn the ball over."
Russell opened the scoring for GSU with a 35-yard touchdown catch from McLane. Russell caught a short wing pass in the flat and outraced the defense down the sideline for his first touchdown reception of his career.
Then Russell added to GSU's lead on the next possession as he broke through the middle for a 45-yard touchdown, his longest scoring run in a GSU uniform and the third-longest in Panther history.
"I'm just so happy to get this win. I wanted this for my team," said Russell. "Our line did a great job, our wide receivers did a great job blocking. Coach Bond made some great calls that got me some looks, and my o-line took me to the promised land."
Travis Evans made the score 21-0 when he took a shovel pass from McLane and ran 36 yards for the score.
Wil Lutz tacked on a 40-yard field goal with 47 seconds left in the first half, the longest field goal of his career and the longest for the Panthers since last year's South Alabama game. That sent the Panthers into the locker room with a 24-0 advantage. Lutz added a 26-yard field goal on GSU's first possession of the third quarter.
Rhode Island had one scoring threat in the first half as the Rams drove deep into GSU territory, but on third-and-six from the seven, linebacker Robert Ferguson intercepted Bentsen to end the drive. The interception was the second of Ferguson's career and was one of two turnovers forced by the Panthers. Mark Hogan, who played high school football nearby in Boston, made a game-high eight tackles and a fumble recovery, and another New England native, Theo Agnew, had five tackles and a sack.
Russell's third touchdown was classic Donald Russell. He carried four times for 45 yards on the 75-yard drive, breaking numerous tackles on each run, including his six-yard scoring jaunt, which put the Panthers ahead 34-0, with six minutes left in the third quarter.
Evans concluded the scoring with a two-yard touchdown run after taking direct snap on the second play of the fourth quarter. The junior running back also forced a fumble with a big hit on punt coverage.
Georgia State returns home to host Villanova for Homecoming next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.