Panthers fall to Chattanooga

Phil Skinner/AJC

In the second game of the season, the Georgia State Panthers looked to bounce back from a heartbreaking 31-21 loss against Samford. That did not happened as they were trounced by Chattanooga 42-14 on Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

Chattanooga dominated from start to finish as they tallied 401 yards on the ground. 147 of those yards came from running back Keon Williams who had no issues finding running lanes against the Panthers defense.

“It’s a different running game than we are used to,” said Panthers defensive end Theo Agnew. “A lot of teams resort to running up the middle, but this team was a lot of things involving the edge which is different. We tried to make adjustments, but they had an alternative way of running the plays.”

Williams got the first score of the game with 2-yard run with 9:28 left in the first quarter. That was followed by two touchdown passes from Jacob Huesman to Faysal Shafaat to make the score 21-0 midway through the second quarter.

The third quarter was all Huesman as he scored on a 9-yard run and a 26-yard run to give Chattanooga the 35-0 lead. He finished the day with 86 rushing yards on 12 carries with two scores. He also threw for 84 yards and a pair of scores.

The Panthers finally got on the board early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Ben McLane threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Albert Wilson. Two minutes later, McLane found Wilson again for a 30-yard score. McLane, who took the place of starting quarterback Ronnie Bell in the fourth quarter went 7-of-12 for 164 yards and two touchdowns, Bell was 9-of-22 for 70 yards.

So is there a quarterback competition at Panthersville? Head coach Trent Miles says it’s always open.

“Ronnie got beat up,” Miles said after the game. “I mean I’ve got to look at the film, but I don’t think he threw any interceptions or anything. I don’t remember any extremely poor passes. You know he was running for his life. They manhandled us up front. They got pressure on our quarterback.”

The good thing the Panthers did on Saturday is they did not commit any turnovers. But they could not sustain drives as they only totaled 13 first downs compared to Chattanooga’s 25. The Panthers only had the ball for 21 minutes and produced 52 total offensive plays.

Miles was disappointed with the team’s effort on Saturday and he knows that in order for his team to be successful, they have to do the little things right.

“Our young men did not compete very well,” Miles said.  “It started today when we didn’t have our players show up on time.  We had two players not show up on time for our special teams meeting that are kickers so we had to use our punter as our kicker. Our kids had a good week of practice, but obviously somehow it didn’t translate.  And to be quite honest with you, you saw where we are talent-wise today.  That to me was the biggest thing.”

The Panthers will have their first road game next Saturday against West Virginia. Kickoff will be at noon.

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