JONESBORO, ARK. -- Georgia State fell 51-35 at Arkansas State in a Sun Belt Conference Thursday night game at Centennial Bank Stadium.

GSU quarterback Dan Ellington passed for 250 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 52 yards, but the Panthers (2-5, 1-2 Sun Belt) hurt themselves with two crucial fumbles, including one that was returned for a touchdown.

Junior Diondre Champaigne caught two touchdown passes, while sophomore Tamir Jones and freshman Cornelius McCoy also had touchdown receptions.

Jones also caught a 54-yard pass from Ellington and recorded a career-high 95 yards receiving on his three catches.

Junior running back Tra Barnett rushed for 61 yards on 13 carries, including a 12-yard touchdown run.

After Arkansas State drove for a touchdown on its opening possession, the Panthers answered with Ellington's 36-yard touchdown pass to Jones, whose first career touchdown tied the game at 7-all midway through the first quarter. But the Red Wolves' Warrren Wand returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards to set up Hansen's 8-yard scoring run.

The Panthers' then fumbled on back-to-back possessions to allow Arkansas State to take a 34-7 lead at the half.

"Turnovers killed us in the first half. We gave up a [91-yard] kickoff return, a fumble return for a touchdown ... things like that, I don't care what level you play at, you can't do those things. It was a disappointing first half. We came out and fought in the second half and put up some points offensively, but all in all, certainly not a good effort.

"I like the way they kept fighting to the last doggone snap, but we've got to get better in a lot of areas. I want to see us come out and practice well. I want to think about what we've got to do in practice and our preparation to get better."

In the third quarter, Ellington connected with McCoy for a 37-yard touchdown, followed by Barnett's scoring run.

Then Champaigne caught his two touchdowns in the fourth quarter with a 20-yard pass from Ellington and then a 3-yard grab from backup quarterback Aaron Winchester.

With 54 yards receiving, Penny Hart raised his career total to 2,734 yards to move into the Top Five in Sun Belt Conference history for career receiving yards.

Arkansas State quarterback Justice Hansen, the Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year, accounted for three touchdowns through the air and two on the ground. He passed for 257 yards and rushed for 76. Marcel Murray added 115 yards rushing and one touchdown for the Red Wolves (4-3, 1-2 Sun Belt).

Georgia State returns home next Saturday, Oct. 27, when the Panthers host Coastal Carolina for Homecoming at 2 p.m. at Georgia State Stadium. Call 404-413-4020 for tickets.