Quarterback issues plaguing Panthers

Jason Getz/AJC

It was another rough day at the office for the Georgia State Panthers as they fell to New Hampshire 44-21 last Saturday at the Georgia Dome. Despite losing their sixth consecutive game, the Panthers had their best offensive performance of the season. Quarterback Ben McLane came off the bench and threw for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Albert Wilson had 105 yards and two touchdown receptions.

The game was tied at seven in the first quarter after starting quarterback Ronnie Bell threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Wilson. But it was downhill for the Panthers after that as New Hampshire scored the next 31 points to take control of the game. The Wildcats ran 83 plays on offense and netted 624 yards while limiting the Panthers to 299 yards of total offense on 59 plays. The Panthers also committed three turnovers, all interceptions. Bell threw two picks early in the game and McLane threw one later after he came in for Bell.

“We had a chance to drive up and down the field tonight and stopped ourselves repeatedly,” Panthers head coach Bill Curry told reporters after the game. “When we did start to drive, it was too little too late and once again the tendency when the defense did make a stop … we go on the field and almost immediately find a way to turn the ball back over.”

The Panthers will look to break the losing streak when they travel to Rhode Island on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Rams are in the same boat as the Panthers as both teams enter the game winless on the year. The Rams average slightly more than 200 yards per game on offense and surrender 447 yards per game on defense.


One of the problems for Georgia State is the same problem that plagued the team in 2011: inconsistent quarterback play. McLane has seen the majority of snaps, but Bell has held the starting job the last few games. Because McLane has played in one more game, he has more yards and more touchdowns, but both players are completing just 49 percent of their passes and have thrown a combined 14 interceptions.

“We have confidence in both quarterbacks,” Curry said after the New Hampshire game. “They’ve both done some good things.”

As of Wednesday, Curry had not made a decision on whether McLane or Bell will make the start on Saturday against Rhode Island.

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