RALEIGH -- Georgia State fell 41-7 at NC State Saturday afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium.
NC State (2-0) quarterback Ryan Finley was outstanding, going 30-for-38 for 370 yards and two touchdowns. Georgia State held the Wolfpack to 115 yards rushing, but NC State managed three touchdowns on the ground.
The Panthers jumped in front with a touchdown on their first possession and trailed 20-7 at the half. Georgia State had opportunities to pull closer but failed to capitalize due to two missed field goals and a touchdown that was nullified by an offensive pass interference penalty.
“You go into the halftime down 13, but it could have easily been a doggone seven-point ballgame,” head coach Shawn Elliott said. “Then in the fourth quarter, the game got a little bit away from us. They’ve got a little more depth at some positions.
“We saw a lot good things, we saw a lot of bad things. We’ve got an important game next week against Memphis, so we’ve got to go regroup.”
Junior Devin Gentry was the Panthers’ leading receiver in the game with five receptions for 83 yards. Penny Hart added three catches for 53 yards, extending his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 29, every game he has played.
Ellington gained 41yards rushing but three sacks brought his net down to 30 yards
Defensively, one of the bright spots for Georgia State was true freshman cornerback Quavian White, who intercepted Finley at the goal line in the fourth quarter. Redshirt freshmen safeties Jaylon Jones and Chris Bacon each forced fumbles, while senior Chase Middleton finished with a game-high 12 tackles.
“Quavian White has a lot of promise, and so do a lot of those young freshmen who are out there playing for us,” Elliott said.
“To tell you the truth, we played sound run defense, but we’ve got to get better pass rush and better coverage,” he continued. “We’ve got to get better in all phases of it. This is the typical time when you are going to start getting better.”
Georgia State marched down the field on its opening possession as Ellington drove the Panthers 75 yards on six plays for a touchdown. He connected with Devin Gentry for a 46-yard completion down the right sideline to the 8. Two plays later, freshman Destin Coates took a pitch from Ellington and scampered into the end zone for the 8-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
The Wolfpack answered with a 57-yard touchdown drive, capped by Finley’s 5-yard touchdown to Thayer Thomas that tied the game at 7-all with 9:32 to play in the first quarter.
NC State added a 25-yard field goal by Christopher Dunn on its next possession and then took a 17-7 lead with an 80-yard touchdown drive with 10:41 left in the second quarter.
The Panthers had an opportunity to cut into the lead but missed a 44-yard field with 46 seconds left in the first half. That proved to be a six-point swing because NC State managed to move in position for a 28-yard field goal on the final play of the half to take a 20-7 lead into the locker room.
Georgia State faces its second straight road test as the Panthers travel to Memphis next Friday night for a nationally-televised game on ESPN. Kickoff at the Liberty Bowl is 7 p.m. ET.