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Panthers' loss to JSU still stings

ATLANTA — Georgia State coach Bill Curry spent much of his weekly press conference Tuesday focused on this Saturday’s upcoming game with Campbell.

However, there was still plenty to look back on from last Saturday’s near upset of No. 4 (Division I-AA or FCS) Jacksonville State at the Georgia Dome — what wound up a 34-27 overtime loss.

There were three plays that wound up as very close calls for the game officials in the late going.

The biggest one, of course, was whether or not tight end Arthur Williams came down with a tipped pass from quarterback Drew Little on the game’s final play.

Initially ruled a touchdown, which would have left the Panthers (1-2) an extra point away from sending the game to a second overtime, Williams was eventually ruled out of bounds when he made the catch, ending the game.

“When they signaled touchdown, we’re already talking about, ‘Do we want to go for two (and the win),’” Curry said. “Then all of the sudden, the officials are acting like the game is over, and I didn’t understand.

“(But) we will never make an excuse (for losing) based on a call. ... We’re not going to point to one play and say the officials cost us the game.”

Neither that play, nor the other two close calls — a clock issue which could have allowed Jacksonville State (3-0) to attempt a game-winning field goal at the end of regulation and whether or not Marques Ivory broke the plane of the end zone on his game-winning 2-yard TD run in overtime — were reviewed despite the game being on regional cable television.

And there is a reason for that.

“When we found out (the game was) going to be on TV, we called to see if we would have that capacity. ... But it costs so much to have those cameras,” Curry said. “The bottom line is in FCS, it’s unlikely (replay) is going to happen anytime soon, even when you have a TV game.”

Dial ‘M’ for Schlechter

Like many other programs, GSU has instituted a system to give players small helmet decals as rewards for key plays.

In fact, Curry and his staff are awarding several different decals this season, and the first of the rarest of these was recently awarded to Bo Schlechter.

Originally recruited as a quarterback, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound redshirt freshman has since agreed to become GSU’s starting punter, and recently also accepted a move to wide receiver.

As a result of that unselfishness in going where he’s needed, Schlechter became the first decal bearing the capital letter “M,” which stands for the Latin word Magnanimitas, which means “greatness of spirit.”

“I didn’t really know exactly what it meant,” Schlechter said. “But from what (Curry) said, I’m proud to have the sticker.”

Schlechter had a noticeable impact on the Panthers’ passing game in his first outing at receiver last Saturday, hauling in five passes for 64 yards.

That figure trails only Danny Williams and Peachtree Ridge grad Sidney Haynes for the team lead in both categories, though he said there are some other sacrifices to playing receiver as opposed to quarterback.

“Never like that,” Schlechter said when if he’d ever been hit as hard as he was Saturday. “I got smashed around pretty good.

“It was actually my first time playing receiver in a full game since I was 7 years old. I think I was a little surprised at how I could fit in (so well).”

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

The near upset of Jacksonville State earned the Panthers a little unexpected respect in the form of two points in this week’s Division I-AA (FCS) Coaches Poll and one in the Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25 compiled by the media.

“That was mind boggling when I saw that,” Curry said. “I thought maybe it was a joke. You play three football games in your life and you’ve won one of them. I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I’d really like to win some games and earn it.”