GAME 2: GEORGIA STATE (1-0) vs. FURMAN (1-0)
Saturday, Sept. 7 | 7 p.m. | Georgia State Stadium | Atlanta, Ga.
TV: ESPN3. Announcers are Bob Rathbun and Wayne Gandy.
RADIO: The home for Georgia State football is Atlanta’s 92.9 THE GAME (WZGC-FM). Dave Cohen is in his 37th season as the play-by-play voice of Panther athletics. Harper LeBel joins him from the booth with Sam Crenshaw on the sideline. Free audio stream on GeorgiaStateSports.com and GSU mobile app.
Georgia State: 1-0, 0-0 Sun Belt
Furman: 1-0, 0-0 SoCon
SERIES: First Meeting
GSU HEAD COACH SHAWN ELLIOTT
Record at GSU: 10-15 (3rd year) / Career Record: 11-20 (4th year)
Coming off a monumental 38-30 upset at Tennessee, Georgia State opens its home slate by hosting nationally-ranked FCS program Furman at Georgia State Stadium.
> Playing its 10th season of football and sixth at the FBS level, Georgia State earned its first-ever win over a Power Five program.
> The Panthers outrushed Tennessee 213-93 and outscored the Volunteers 24-13 in the second half to claim the upset.
> In last year’s home opener, the Panthers rallied for a 24-20 victory over Kennesaw State on Dan Ellington’s 8-yard touchdown pass with 41 seconds left.
> Georgia State and Furman are meeting for the first time.
> Furman is ranked No. 11 in the AFCA FCS Coaches’ Poll. The Paladins opened the season with a 46-13 victory over Charleston Southern.
MORE ON THE UpseT: Georgia State outscored Tennessee 24-13 in the second half to shock the Volunteers 38-30 at Neyland Stadium. Trailing 17-14 at the intermission, the Panthers took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove 75 yards for Dan Ellington’s 6-yard touchdown pass to TE Aubry Payne. After the Vols managed a pair of field goals to take a 23-21 lead early in the fourth quarter, Ellington directed another 75-yard drive, capped by Tra Barnett’s 19-yard that gave the Panthers a 28-23 lead they would not surrender. Tennessee then drove to midfield, but cornerback Evan Jones sacked Jarrett Guarantano and forced a fumble that Jhi’Shawn Taylor recovered for GSU at the UT 39. Five plays later, Ellington’s 22-yard touchdown scramble put the Panthers up 35-23 with 4:45 to play, effectively sealing the win.
SUN BELT PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Quarterback Dan Ellington is the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week after leading Georgia State to its 38-30 victory at Tennessee. The senior signal caller threw two touchdown passes and ran for the game-clinching score in the fourth quarter to give the GSU program its first-ever win over a Power 5 opponent.
Ellington passed for 139 yards on 11 completions and rushed for 61 yards. After completing just one of his first nine attempts, he recovered to go 10-for-13 the rest of the way, including touchdown strikes of 17 yards to wide receiver Cornelius McCoy in the second quarter and six yards to tight end Aubry Payne in the third quarter.
Ellington led the Panthers on two 75-yard touchdown drives in the second half to give GSU a 28-23 lead with nine minutes left, and then he scampered for a spectacular 22-yard touchdown run with 4:45 left that essentially clinched the win. He faked a handoff and then eluded several defenders before running into the left corner of the end zone.
> Head coach Shawn Elliott has faced Furman 15 times during his years as an assistant coach at Appalachian State (1997-09) and South Carolina (2010-16). He compiled an 11-4 record against the Paladins, including 2-0 at South Carolina (38-19 in 2010 and 41-10 in 2014) and 9-4 at App State (1997-09).
> Offensive coordinator Brad Glenn and defensive coordinator Nate Fuqua are also very familiar with Furman. Both coached in the Southern Conference before coming to GSU, Glenn at Appalachian State (2005-11) and then Western Carolina (2012-18) and Fuqua at Wofford (2005-16).
> Tight ends coach Josh Stepp began his college playing career as a quarterback at Furman in 2003 before transferring to Newberry for his final three seasons.
> Tight end Aubry Payne, who caught a touchdown in the win over Tennessee, has previously played against Furman. Payne spent his first two seasons at Western Carolina. As a freshman in 2016, he had two catches for 13 yards vs. the Paladins.
> Furman offensive coordinator George Quarles was previously the head coach at Maryville (Tenn.) High School, where one of his standout players was current GSU graduate assistant Jay Guillermo.
ON THE RUN: One of the keys to Georgia State’s victory over Tennessee was a rushing attack that produced 213 yards, including 95 yards by Tra Barnett and 61 yards by quarterback Dan Ellington. Barnett (19 yards), Ellington (22 yards) and Seth Paige (4 yards) scored rushing touchdowns.
The rushing effort against Tennessee builds upon last season’s performance, when the Panthers set school records with 2,057 yards rushing and 21 rushing touchdowns. Georgia State’s 2018 average of 171.4 yards per game was more than 60 yards better than the previous season.
Over the last six games, Georgia State has averaged 209.5 yards rushing per game.
LIKE A ROCK: Senior left tackle Hunter Atkinson ranks among the national leaders with 37 consecutive games started. Only 10 current FBS players, and only one from the Sun Belt Conference (Troy FB Zacc Weldon), have more consecutive starts.
Lining up next to Atkinson at left guard is Shamarious Gilmore, who has started 25 straight games, giving the Panthers 62 career starts on the left side of the line.