Georgia State offensive coordinator John Bond said if Ben McLane is cleared by team doctors to play, he will start next Saturday’s game against Richmond at the Georgia Dome.
“At some point, we’ve got to let a guy play through some growing pains,” Bond said. “In order to get a guy, you’ve got to let a guy play.”
Making his third start, McLane completed six of his 14 attempts for 126 yard a touchdown. That included an 84-yard scoring strike to Albert Wilson on the Panthers’ first possession. It was the longest scoring play in school history.
However, he also fumbled twice. Though the fumbles were of a different nature than the six he had last week against Tennessee, he has fumbled the ball eight times in the last six quarters in which he has played.
His second fumble against the Roadrunners may have summed up Georgia State’s night.
After being sacked for a nine-yard loss in the second quarter, McLane appeared to favor his left arm. Ronnie Bell, who transferred from Ohio during the offseason, came on for his first action of his career, but he couldn’t get the offensive moving on his two plays before McLane came back on the next possession.
However, McLane didn’t tell the coaching staff that his left arm was numb and that he couldn’t close his hand.
Not knowing that, the coaches called a trick play on the next possession. McLane threw a quick lateral to running back Parris Lee, who ran for a few yards before turning and lateraling the ball back across the field to McLane, who couldn’t make the catch because of his injured hand. He managed to pick up the ball, but was tackled for a 10-yard loss. Instead of a touchdown to Emmanuel Ogbuehi, who was running open down the field, which would have cut the score to 24-14, the play lost 27 yards. McLane threw an interception on the next possession.
For the season, McLane has completed 31 of his 70 attempts for 356 yards with one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown, two interceptions and nine fumbles. However, he’s been the victim of numerous drops by receivers throughout the season. Lynquez Blair, who got more snaps against the Roadrunners because of an injury to Jordan Giles, had his hand on three passes that he couldn’t catch Saturday, for example.
“In order to get a guy, you’ve got let a guy play,” Bond said.
Bell did provide a spark, throwing a 25-yard touchdown pass to Wilson in the third quarter. Bell, a redshirt freshman, completed five of his 11 attempts for 95 yards with the touchdown and two interceptions.
“I felt good,” Bell said. “It was a little bit faster.”
The Panthers have now used five quarterbacks in the past 14 games. Three of those quarterbacks were seeing action for the first time in their collegiate careers.
Completing the bad luck that seems to follow the team, two weeks ago backup quarterback Kelton Hill was moved to the secondary, before moving to wide receiver during the preparation for the UTSA game.
“It would be great to have consistency at that spot but something intrudes every time we think we have the guy,” Curry said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu