QB Little big for Panthers

ATLANTA -- Drew Little continues to leave little doubt that he's earned the starting quarterback job at Georgia State.

The redshirt freshman from McDonough had his fourth straight impressive start on Saturday in leading the Panthers to a 55-21 win over Savannah State at the Georgia Dome. Little was again efficient while directing the Georgia State offense and completed 16 of 25 passes for 166 yards and four touchdowns.

Over the last four games Little has completed 78 of 115 passes for 843 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was not sacked on Saturday and has thrown 105 passes without an interception. He left the game midway in the third quarter, giving way to reserves Star Jackson and Kelton Hill.

"Right now Drew is just well ahead with his capacity to master the system and do all the checks," Georgia State coach Bill Curry said. "He just does those things well and throws it to the right place virtually all the time."

The pattern of the game was established early. Savannah State gave the ball away on its second play, when Sheldon Barnes had the ball pried loose by Jake Muasau after a 2-yard run. Brent McClendon recovered for Georgia State at the 30. But the Tigers got the ball back three plays later after normally sure-handed Georgia State receiver Danny Williams fumbled after a Cedric Chambers hit, which Nate Clay recovered at the 11.

Savannah State couldn't stand the prosperity and turned the ball over again on its fourth play, with Louie Muasau intercepting Bostick's pass at the 26 and returning it to the 19. This time Georgia State cashed in, scoring five plays later on a 5-yard run by Lee Parris.

Savannah State quickly turned it over again. Bostick was sacked on the first play by Fred Barnes, who knocked the ball loose. It was recovered by Louie Muasau at the Tigers' 21 and converted into a touchdown three plays later when Drew Little completed a 9-yard pass to Sam Burkhalter for a 14-0 lead.

"That put us in a hole early," said Savannah State coach Julius Dixon. "Turnovers are part of the game, but when you make them and give them field position, it's like a two-edged sword."

The bright spot of the first half for Savannah State came early in the second period. The Tigers managed to bottle up Georgia State at the 2, with Vince Cochran and C.J. Smith making nice tackles on successive plays to force a punt. The Tigers took over at their own 47 and drove for a touchdown. The 10-play drive concluded with a 10-yard touchdown run by Sheldon Barnes and cut the lead to 14-7. It was the first points scored in the second quarter by Savannah State this season.

That touchdown only seemed to irritate and motivate Georgia State, which got points on its next four possessions of the first half to take a 34-7 lead. The Panthers got a pair of field goals from Duluth's Iain Vance, one from 46 yards, another from 27 yards, and scored on two Little passes, a 7-yarder to Danny Williams and a 29-yarder to Albert Wilson.

Little threw for another touchdown early in the third quarter, this time a 28-yarder to Wilson that increased the lead to 41-7. It also signalled the end of the day for Little, who gave way to highly touted Alabama transfer Star Jackson and reserve Kelton Hill.

Hill added some late spark and scored on an 8-yard run in the final minute. He finished with 95 yards on six carries to lead the team. Burkhalter rushed 11 times for 53 yards.

"I'm very pleased with our men today because this is a first for us," Curry said. "First time we have played two decent games in a row. . . . We had some big plays that made a huge difference."