by Jake McDonald, CORE 360 Magazine
Georgia State’s final opportunity to end their 15 game losing streak, dating back to 2012, was spoiled by South Alabama’s Jay Jones 2 touchdown performance Saturday afternoon at the Georgia Dome. South Alabama jumped out early and scored often defeating the Panthers 38-17.
Jones rushed for 102 yards on the day with sixty-two of them coming in the first quarter. His two rushing touchdowns gave the visiting Jaguars a 14-0 lead after the first.
“No doubt,” responded South Alabama head coach Joey Jones when asked if his team’s fast start contributed to their success. “We knew we had to come out and play well early because we didn’t want them to give them some big plays early and get the momentum going so it just worked out that way for us. We tried to plan on moving the ball early in the game and scoring as many points as we could.”
The Panthers managed to score their only points of the first half thanks to a 62 yard punt return by talented senior wide receiver Albert Wilson. Wilson return set up an eventual 33 yard field goal by Will Lutz.
South Alabama continued to pile on the points in the second quarter. Quarterback Ross Metheny called his own number diving over the top for a 1 yard touchdown.
The Panthers hopes took a turn for the worse in the third. Metheny enlarged the 21-point spread with a 37 yard bomb to Shavarez Smith down the middle of the field. Smith, a prep star from McDonough’s Henry County High School, set a school record with his 194 yard performance.
“He’s just a playmaker,” said Jones. “He is so strong getting the ball. He makes play after play after play every game.”
After two and a half quarters, the Panthers finally found the endzone. Quarterback Ronnie Bell’s pass to Robert Davis netted 80 yards and four downs at the Jaguars 1. The Panthers needed only two as Bell squeezed through a gap in the line for six.
Georgia State added another score in the fourth but the season’s inevitable conclusion had already been reached much to the surprise of Head Coach Trent Miles. “I'm a little blindsided by this today,” confessed Miles. “I don't know if it was the emotion of Senior Day. I just can't put my finger on it. I didn't feel the same intensity, the same sense of urgency, and when you turn the ball over early and give them points, and then they jump out, it's really tough.”
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