ATLANTA — Just five games into its inaugural season, Georgia State’s football record book isn’t yet very thick.
But several new entries were written in Saturday’s 37-10 win over Morehead State.
In addition to gaining their first winning streak after last week’s 24-21 win at Campbell, the Panthers (3-2) also set a team record for the fewest yards allowed by giving the Eagles just 280 overall, most of which came late in the game after the outcome was no longer in doubt.
Several individuals also set new school and personal bests, including quarterback Drew Little, whose 287 yards and four touchdown passes both set new marks.
In addition, receiver Danny Williams also set new career and school bests by hauling in eight passes for 101 yards, the first receiver in GSU history to ever surpass the 100-yard mark in a game.
“We catch a lot of balls in practice — about 100 balls a day,” Williams said. “As a receiver, you’ve just got to catch the ball. That’s your job. I pride myself on catching any ball that comes near me.”
After his much-ballyhooed transfer from Alabama last spring, former Alabama quarterback Star Jackson had not seen even one snap during GSU’s first four games of its inaugural season.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound redshirt sophomore finally got some game action Saturday, with mixed initial results.
He had a positive impact on his first play, running for five yards on a quarterback keeper.
However, his first pass attempt two plays later was intercepted by Thaddeus Winston and returned 41 yards to the GSU 23-yard line.
The Panther defense held Morehead State to a field goal on the ensuing possession, and Jackson got another chance in the second half, though he continued to struggle.
He finally got his first completion in a GSU uniform on a 2-yard bootleg pass to Nate Anthony in the fourth quarter, but threw another interception later on the drive and finished the day 1 of 4 for the two yards and the two interceptions, plus four yards on three rushes.
“Star hadn’t played football in a long time,” coach Bill Curry said. “So we won’t hold him accountable for errors at this time. He’s just a marvelous talent, and he’s got to work his way into the action.”
Jackson, however, wasn’t ready to blame rust for his struggles.
“Right now, I’m playing tight because I’m trying to prove something,” Jackson said. “Coach (Curry) keeps telling me to just relax and go out and play, and I feel like that’s just what I should do.”
Saturday may have been GSU’s first football homecoming, but it was also a homecoming for 14 Morehead State players, including six from Gwinnett County.
Two of those Eagles had played in the Dome before — receiver and North Gwinnett grad Jaison Yoshimura, who had played with the Bulldogs in the Class AAAAA state semifinals as a senior in 2007, and defensive end and Berkmar grad Jerome Raymond, who had played in a rec league game in the eighth grade.
“When we looked at the schedule and saw we were playing Georgia State at the Dome, everyone from Georgia was excited,” Yoshimura said. “We got all the jitters out, I thought, (Friday), but we really didn’t play our game.”
Raymond had the best day of the local contingent, finishing with five combined tackles and assists, including a sack for a loss of five yards, but said the Morehead defense had a hard time catching up once it struggled early.
“Once you start getting down by seven or 14 points, it’s hard to do what we do best, which is blitz,” Raymond said. “The whole thing was, we needed to step up in the first quarter.”
Yoshimura, who came into the game as the Eagles’ second-leading receiver, had more mixed results.
He caught three passes for 35 yards, including a 23-yard pass from Zach Lewis for the Eagles’ only touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
However, he also had the ball go off his hands on a line drive on his first punt return that GSU recovered and turned into a touchdown late in the first half.
Duluth grad Andre Williams was the only other Gwinnett grad to take the field for Morehead State in Saturday’s game, while Shiloh grads Lawrence Massey and D.L. Stephens were also in uniform for the Eagles.
Saturday was an up and down day for GSU placekicker Iain Vance.
The Duluth grad had his string of 20 straight made kicks — five field goals and 15 extra points — broken when a 43-yard attempt went wide left early in the second quarter, and he later missed an extra point.
However, Vance did redeem himself by booting a 49-yard field goal, a career-long for both college and high school, also in the second quarter.
“Last week at Campbell, I strained my groin a little bit,” said Vance, who is now 6 of 7 on field goals and 19 of 20 on extra points this season. “So, it was hit and miss as far as the power was concerned. But it was good to get out there and test it.
“As far as the misses go, it was a tough day. You’ve got to bounce back and forget about it.”
The GSU men’s basketball team was introduced to the crowd at the Georgia Dome during a timeout early in Saturday’s game.
The Panthers begin preseason practice within the next two weeks.
This year’s GSU team will feature one Gwinnett grad, South Gwinnett’s Javonte Maynor, among its incoming freshman class, plus Devonta White, who started his high school career at Central Gwinnett before transferring to Centennial.
In addition, Norcross grad Jordan DeMercy will practice with the Panthers this season while sitting out the NCAA-mandated one-year after transferring from Florida State last spring. He will be eligible for his senior season in 2011-12.