ATLANTA — A bit of late game excitement was the only positive takeaway for Georgia State against Chattanooga.
The Mocs (1-1) ran over the Panthers at will en route to a 42-14 victory at the Georgia Dome on Saturday afternoon, handing the Panthers (0-2) their second loss.
Last week, Georgia State had chances to win against Samford but the opening kickoff and two interceptions were returned for touchdowns. Mistakes that head coach Trent Miles focused on correcting this week in practice.
“We had a much different set of problems this week than against Samford,” Miles said. “That team (Chattnooga) we played was better than us by the way we played today.”
This week it was a hard-nosed rushing attack that hurt the Panthers with Keon Williams leading the way for the Mocs. Barely into the second quarter Williams established a new career high for rushing yards eclipsing 101 yards on 10 carries with 11 minutes left in the second quarter. He would finish the day with 147 yards on 20 carries.
Chattanooga would post 401 yards on 60 carries as a team.
The Mocs bruised their way to a 7-0 lead with 9:28 left in the first quarter led by Williams who flattened Panthers defenders en route to a 2-yard touchdown run. The play capped a 12 play, 70-yard opening drive for Chattanooga who played very physical out of the gate.
Chattanooga continued to dominate with its running game on its second drive which resulted in a 27-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jacob Huesman to tight end Faysal Shafaat on fourth and five from the Georgia State 27 yard line. The completion put the Mocs up 14-0 with 4:18 left in the first quarter after the seven play, 78-yard scoring drive.
The Mocs found the endzone again after a 27-yard punt return by Tommy Hudson to the Georgia State 35. Five plays later Jacob Huesman found tight end Faysal Shafaat for the pair’s second touchdown of the game, putting Chattanooga up 21-0 with 6:16 remaining in the second quarter.
The second half provided the same problems for the Panthers defense as Mocs quarterback Jacob Huesman ran for a 9-yard touchdown on Chattanooga’s first drive of the second half, capping a 10 play 79 yard series with 10:10 remaining in the third quarter.
Frustration really started to set in during the second half for the Panthers as three consecutive drives resulted in pressure on quarterback Ronnie Bell and quick three-and-outs prompting coach Trent Miles to insert Ben McLane into the game at quarterback.
Georgia State had a glimmer of hope late in the third quarter when the Mocs return man Tommy Hudson mishandled a punt but the ball was eventually recovered by Chattanooga. This drive would also end with a rushing touchdown by Derrick Craine from four yards out to make the score 42-0 with 14:56 remaining in the fourth quarter.
That’s when Georgia State found a bit of rhythm with its younger players.
Former Brookwood quarterback Ben McLane entered the game and provided some excitement completing a 39-yard pass to Robert Davis on his first play. He also provided the first score of the day for Georgia State when Albert Wilson caught a deflected McLane pass for a 5-yard score. This cut the Chattanooga lead to 42-7 with 12:55 remaining in the fourth quarter after the Matt Hubbard extra point.
McLane continued to impress on the next drive firing two passes for 77 yards including a 30-yard strike to Albert Wilson for the duo’s second touchdown connection of the day. Giving the Panther coaching staff something to think about heading into next weekend’s game at West Virginia.
“The quarterback competition is always open, Ronnie just got beat up today,” Miles said after the game, not committing to either his starter or McLane.
“We got knocked around today, that’s where we’re at,” Miles said. “We did not compete well today, guys did not do what they were asked to do and coached to do this week.”