ATLANTA -- Three Georgia State quarterbacks performed very well in the Panthers' Blue-White Spring Game as the offense defeated the defense 59-35 Saturday at Georgia State Stadium.
With the defense scoring points for turnovers, sacks, tackles for loss and three-and-out stops, the offense led just 31-27 at the half and the score was tied at 31-all in the third quarter before the offense pulled away. Still, the offense's lead was 45-35 before two touchdowns in the final minute, both on tipped balls.
With the Panthers' looking to find a replacement for quarterback Conner Manning, four players are battling for the job in junior Aaron Winchester, senior Jaquez Parks, junior college transfer Dan Ellington and redshirt freshman Jack Walker. Parks sat out today with an injury, but the other three all put up impressive numbers.
"All in all, I was very pleased. It was our first Spring Game at Georgia State Stadium, and that's amazing," head coach Shawn Elliott said.
"All three of our quarterbacks went out there today and executed really well and delivered the football. I think we've got three pretty good quarterbacks, plus Parks when he gets back," Elliott said, but he added that he is not ready to name a starter.
"It takes more than 15 days to let that thing work itself out," he said. "Certainly leadership dictates a lot of it. We'll go into fall camp and have 29 practice opportunities before our first game, and we'll know. The separation will be evident then."
Ellington, who enrolled in January after a prolific career at Itawamba (Miss.) C.C., was 21-for-24 for 249 yards and four touchdowns.
One of his touchdown passes was to a surprise new "recruit" - basketball coach Ron Hunter made a guest appearance in the end zone and hauled in a 19-yard touchdown from Ellington.
Winchester, who served as Manning's backup the last two years, completed 17 of 25 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns, while also catching a 17-yard pass from Jonathan Ifedi on a trick play.
Walker, the redshirt freshman from Madison, Miss., hit nine of 16 passes for 169 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman Camryn Johnson.
Johnson, from Orangeburg, S.C., also caught a 34-yard touchdown from Ellington. He finished with five catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
Tight end Ari Werts pulled in a 9-yard scoring pass from Winchester and a 4-yarder from Ellington on a tipped ball. He had five catches for 40 yards. Another tight end, Camrin Knight, a transfer from Florida, also had a big day with six catches for 100 yards, highlighted by a 25-yard touchdown from Winchester on a tipped ball on the game's final play.
Sophomore Tamir Jones and sophomore Terrance Dixon also caught touchdown passes.
Redshirt sophomore Darius Stubbs highlighted the running game with a 67-yard jaunt. He finished with 101 yards on just seven carries.
The offense did not commit a turnover in the game.
The day began with a youth clinic, conducted on the field by the GSU team and coaching staff.
Georgia State opens the 2018 season by hosting Kennesaw State on Thursday, Aug. 30 at Georgia State Stadium.