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Georgia State opens second season with 41-7 victory

ATLANTA -- Nathaniel Minor, a freshman walk-on from Brookwood, got plenty of action as Georgia State opened its second football season Friday night at the Georgia Dome. So did Scott McQueen, a red-shirt sophomore from North Gwinnett.

Minor is the holder and McQueen the snapper. They got in seven times Friday night because that is how many times GSU attempted an extra point or field goal. The Panthers didn't miss.

Bo Schlechter, filling in after the suspension of the team's top two quarterbacks, threw three touchdown passes and Bill Curry's team opened its second season with a 41-7 victory over NCAA Division II Clark Atlanta before an announced crowd of 26,273.

The score was the same as a year ago, when GSU defeated NAIA opponent Shorter to begin a 6-5 debut season. The Panthers, who host Old Dominion next weekend, become a full member of the Colonial Athletic Conference in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Series next season.

Schlechter, a punter and wide receiver normally, connected with Jordan Giles on a 12-yard TD for a 24-0 halftime lead, then hit Albert Wilson for touchdowns of 30 and 48 yards in the second half. The sophomore was 13 of 18 passing for 196 yards.

Donald Russell rushed for touchdowns of 20 and 3 yards only 64 seconds apart early in the second quarter after interceptions by Demazio Skelton and Robert Ferguson. Freshman Christian Benvenuto kicked field goals of 44 and 45 yards for Georgia State.

Clark Atlanta's touchdown came on a 34-yard pass from Bryan Mann to Terrence Milton on the first play of the fourth quarter.

T.J. Smith, a senior from Berkmar who went to junior college in California, got the start at quarterback for Clark Atlanta and threw a costly interception to set up GSU's second TD. He was 4-for-7 passing for 35 yards and carried four times for 14 net yards.

Georgia State, ahead 3-0 after the first quarter on a 44-yard field goal by Benvenuto, broke things open by capitalizing on interceptions in Clark Atlanta territory for touchdowns by Russell barely a minute apart early in the second quarter.

Strong safety Skelton picked off backup quarterback Mann to set up the first TD, Russell scoring from the 20 on the second play. Then outside linebacker Ferguson intercepted Smith and return the ball to the 3-yard line, where Russell scored on the first play.

GSU pushed the lead to 24-0 at halftime with a 76-yard drive. Schlechter hit Giles in the end zone from 12 yards out with 1:24 left before intermission.

Schlechter's first TD pass to Wilson came on GSU's first possession of the second half, then he connected again with Wilson for the longest play of the game midway in the fourth quarter.

GSU had 146 yards rushing to go with Schlechter's 196 passing and didn't commit a turnover. Tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi, a junior from Mill Creek, caught three passes for 48 yards, with a long gainer of 28 yards.