by Jake McDonald, CORE 360 Magazine
Georgia State went toe-to-toe with the University of Louisiana- Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, the Sun Belt’s top team before falling 35-21 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Elijah McGuire scored two touchdowns, rushed for 107 yards, and caught 3 passes for 125 yards to help lead the Ragin’ Cajuns offense. The true freshman from Houma, Louisiana took a shovel pass from quarterback Terrance Broadway and raced 80 yards up the ULL sideline to give the visitors an early 7-0 lead.
The Panthers answered the score on their first drive of the second quarter thanks to Tevin Jones falling on a fumble by McGuire at the ULL 16 yard line. Ronnie Bell entered the game for starting quarterback Ben McLane handing off twice to Travis Evans. Evans was a tackle away from the endzone on his first carry but wouldn’t be denied on his second.
There was no time to celebrate as Broadway drove the conference leaders down the field on the ensuing drive. Broadway executing the read option picked up 15 yards on third and four to keep the chains moving. It was a play that had been missing from the offense. “We hadn’t been able to do it this year because I had an ankle injury that nagged along for weeks and weeks and weeks but finally I’m healthy and we’re able to get it back into our offense,” said Broadway.
Feeding off the big run, McGuire peeled off back-to-back 16 yard runs moving the chains down to the 1. Alonzo Harris carried it in from there for his only score of the game.
Cornerback Trevance Patt ended Georgia State’s attempted answer intercepting a tremendously underthrown pass from Bell intended for Robert Davis at the 1 yard line.
Back on attack mode Head Coach Mark Hudspeth used the rushing game to set-up ULL’s third touchdown of the half. After Harris picked up a first down on third and two, Broadway used the play action to freeze the secondary. Senior wide receiver Darryl Surgent used it running by cornerback Myles Morris for a 50 yard touchdown reception.
The Panthers could have quit right there but they didn’t. Bell shook off the pick and came out firing. Pressured out of the pocket, Bell rolled left finding tight end Keith Rucker for a 42 yard touchdown pass.
“As far as our team goes, I thought our kids battled their tails off,” said Georgia State Head Coach Trent Miles.
The Panthers battled themselves into a tie ballgame midway through the third quarter. On their first possession of the new half, Bell led the Panthers on a 10-play drive. On third and 3, Bell hit playmaker Albert Wilson who turned on the jets outracing the defense for a 22 yard touchdown.
Tied at 21-21, ULL kept their foot on the gas. The Ragin’ Cajuns had run just about every set up play in the book. On second and 6 they ran the last one, a screen play. Broadway sucked in the defensive line and delivered a perfect pass to McGuire. McGuire was escorted 36 yards down the ULL sideline by 275 pound junior Terry Johnson and 240 lb tight end Jacob Maxwell all the way into the endzone.
In a bizarre twist, Coach Miles called for and executed a fake punt for a first down in the middle of the field but opted for a conventional handoff on fourth and three at the 16 instead of a field goal to cut the lead.
The Ragin’ Cajuns never looked back. Taking over on downs at their 14, Broadway and company pushed down the field for another score.
Georgia State Quarterback Ronnie Bell set school records today for career passing yards (2,596 yds) and total offense (2,763 yds), as well as the GSU season record for total offense (2,188 yds).
Georgia State wide receiver Albert Wilson set a new school record for receptions in a season with 58 and tied his season record for touchdown receptions with 7. He also set a new school season record for all-purpose yards 1,832.
University of Louisiana Lafayette running back Elijah McGuire became the first player in school history to go over a 100 yards rushing and receiving in a game.
Print copies of CORE 360 Magazine can be obtained by visiting the CORE 360 Magcloud website