Georgia State destroyed by UTSA

Perhaps Georgia State took “Sunglasses at night” too literally and wore them during Saturday’s game against Texas-San Antonio.

How else to explain four turnovers, a porous defense the resurrection of special teams miscues and an altogether uninspired performance in front of an uninspiring crowd of 11,496 that watched the Panthers fall 38-14. The game, the first Saturday night affair at the Georgia Dome in school history, had the makings to be a fun matchup between two programs making the transition to FBS. Georgia State used the song “Sunglasses at Night,” made famous by Corey Hart in 1984, as a theme for the week. Promotions included a giveaway of said items and a video of coach Bill Curry rocking a pair of the blue sun-barriers and lip-synching the song.

It may be a good thing you couldn’t read Curry’s lips during Saturday’s game. Afterward, he sounded a familiar refrain.

“As I’ve said repeatedly we have a gutty bunch, but we aren’t doing what you have to do, needless to say,” he said. “We fight, scratch, but that’s not enough. We will continue. The players are responding, the players are giving effort.”

The teams played a close game last year, with the Roadrunners prevailing 17-14 in overtime. But while that program seems to have taken a step forward in its second year, the Panthers (0-3) seem to be going backward in their third.

“We know the potential that’s there on the field,” athletic director Cheryl Levick said after talking with Curry for five minutes after his press conference. “Our frustration lies in he fact that the potential is there, the players have worked so hard, that we can’t see it convert to success on the field. We are looking at everything we are doing, both on and off the field, to provide the support and the necessities that we need to be successful.”

All aspects of the team failed to produce against the UTSA.

The offense, which had scored one touchdown in the previous two games, could do next to nothing after the longest pass play in school history – an 84-yard scoring bomb from Ben McLane to Albert Wilson – gave them a 7-3 lead. McLane was eventually benched with an injury but not before two more fumbles — his seventh and eighth in the past six quarters — for Ronnie Bell, the fifth quarterback the team has used in its past 14 games.

“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.”

The defense, playing without starting defensive tackle David Huey, who is out for the season with an injured hand, was hammered for more than 400 yards. They had a hard time making plays against quarterback Eric Soza, who passed for 206 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 51 yards. The Roadrunners converted seven of their 12 third downs.

“There was no lack of effort,” Curry said. “There was execution by the other team that was very good. There were cases were we had the guy covered and simply didn’t make the play. That’s another thing that’s happened repeatedly this year. These are guys who have made plays ever since they’ve got here. They’ve got to return to doing that.”

The special teams, which had shown improvement, had a long field goal partially blocked, allowed an 84-yard kickoff return and inadvertently downed a punt before it stopped rolling. In short, many of the same errors that plagued the team throughout last season, contributing to their 3-8 record.

“Those things have to be buttoned up,” Curry said.

Trailing 3-0, Georgia State took a brief lead with the strike to Wilson, who was yards ahead of his defender, on the Panthers’ opening possession.

The lead didn’t last long.

Evans Okotcha scored from 5 yards away a few plays after Kenny Harrison’s long return to give UTSA a 10-7 lead with 8:01 remaining. The drive was helped by an offisdes penalty on Joe Lockley that turned third and nine at the 15 into a manageable third and four at the 11. Soza picked it up by scrambling for seven yards.

The Roadrunners increased the lead to 17-7 on a 5-yard pass from Soza to Aaron Grubb, who outjumped a Panthers defender in the corner. The drive started when a member of the Panthers’ punt coverage team didn’t pay attention to the ball, letting it hit him on the 49-yard line.

The Panthers’ special teams miscues continued when Christian Benvenuto’s 43-yard field-goal attempt was partially blocked later in the second quarter.

The Roadrunners took advantage by driving 84 yards to take a 24-7 lead on a 1-yard run by Okotcha.

McLane was sacked for a nine-yard loss on the next possession and appeared to favor his left arm. 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 double-pass on the next possession. McLane threw a lateral to 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 27-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 Panthers went into halftime looking for answers.

The team got a spark from Bell, who threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Wilson in the third quarter. He also threw two interceptions. Offensive coordinator John Bond said if McLane is cleared to play he will start next Saturday’s game against Richmond at the Georgia Dome.

“We have to eliminate the mistakes that are plaguing us and believe in ourselves,” Curry said. “That’s easy to talk about, but tough to do. These are things I’ve said repeatedly and I know that, but there’s nothing else to say. We will continue to work until we make this a good football team. We have the makings of a good football team.”

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

75 comments Add your comment

Passion of the Panther

September 15th, 2012
8:53 pm

This is comedy gold …


September 15th, 2012
8:58 pm

I told you that Ben was garbage.. His daddy at Brookwood is garbage and that’s what you get for messing up all the guys at Brookwood’s careers playing football.. lol…..


September 15th, 2012
8:59 pm



September 15th, 2012
9:03 pm

so when is the SEC invite coming for this dynamic panther football program?

The Missing Link

September 15th, 2012
9:09 pm

Hey, I just wanted to congratulate Georgia State on its showing against the University of Texas. I know y’all don’t care anything about moral victories, but to come within 24 points of the Longhorns is very encourag …

Say what? It was wasn’t UT-Austin? Oh, it must have been Texas A&M, then. Well, hey, that’s an SEC school, and everybody knows the SEC is the toughest league in the nation, so to play an SEC team tough is rather impress …

Huh? Y’all lost to UT-SAN ANTONIO? By 24 points? At home?


Good lord, y’all suck.

Have a nice day.

P.S. This is some kind a joke, right? UTSA has a football team? And Georgia State lost to them? At home? By 24 points?


Y’all suck. I mean, y’all really, really, REALLY suck.

That is all.


September 15th, 2012
9:19 pm

Well said The Missing Link! Anyone heard from Panama or GStateBen lately?

Crickets in the Dome

September 15th, 2012
9:21 pm

@TD I doubt you will hear much from The Kings Of OffSeason


September 15th, 2012
9:26 pm

Explain to me why GSU decided to do football. Did it include good players? Did it include good coaches? Did it include having competitive game?

The answer appears to be NO


September 15th, 2012
9:26 pm

maybe Ga Tech will let the night school borrow the Jackets jv team so they have a chance to win a few before the move to the NFL

GSU Men's BB Fan

September 15th, 2012
9:47 pm

Why does it matter whether McLane told the coaching staff his hand was numb? The play shouldn’t have been called in the first place. Why do we seemingly have to turn every scoring opportunity into a circus act? Why can’t we just stick with what got us in the red zone in the first place?

What is our O.C. an idiot?


September 15th, 2012
9:57 pm

We Suck PERIOD!! Dan Reeves and many alums spent time energy and money to start this program for WHAT? Bill curry is and has always been a loser. Anthony Midget is a loser and John Bond is the freaking Mayor of losertown. Ben Pollard has done NOTHING and Cheryl Levik allowed Carl Benson to meander on the sideline when she shoud have been coddeling him. This program is in serious trouble. PS. All of the players suck are lazy and should transfer to the 2nd string squad at Shorter.

"GSU" Eagle

September 15th, 2012
10:06 pm

And I thought I was a troll. I need to take notes from you douchebags!


September 15th, 2012
10:17 pm

Ben, you need to chill man.


September 15th, 2012
10:20 pm

Awww come on GStateBen! Bill Curry, a man of great character and a losing record wouldn’t stand for such language!


September 15th, 2012
10:27 pm

HAHA you idiots got crushed but a 2nd year program? USTA WHO? St. Francis of WHAT? West Alabama WHERE? You are a JOKE! Enjoy the slumbelt IF they don’t uninvite you.


September 15th, 2012
10:36 pm

Takes a lot to come and put salt in the wounds. None of you would show-up if the Panthers were winning to congratulate.

The Missing Link

September 15th, 2012
10:37 pm

I just checked out Georgia State’s remaining schedule. You can take this to the bank: if they don’t beat a very bad Rhode Island team on the road on Oct. 13, the Panthers will finish 0-11.

BTW, is there any truth to the rumor that Savannah State wants to play y’all for homecoming?


September 15th, 2012
10:37 pm

Keep trolling… True fans will stand by our Panthers.

Sure, the team is not performing, but that doesn’t mean we give up. You bunch of sorry trolls.



September 15th, 2012
10:41 pm

Unfortunately, AgentOrange, the way things are going for Ga State we won’t find out if you’re right or not.


September 15th, 2012
10:42 pm

New lovable losers?

Poor fellas…

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution Recap [...]


September 15th, 2012
10:56 pm

Truly love people who imitate me. It’s the sincerest form of flattery.

Onward and upward.


September 15th, 2012
10:59 pm

Onward and upward? Have you not been to these games?

More like backwards and afraid.


September 15th, 2012
11:03 pm

Bill Curry is a nice guy, but he cannot coach a lick. GSU will hire a better coach and will start to play respectable football by the end of the 2013 season. The current assistants will find other kinds of work more suitable to their intellects.


September 15th, 2012
11:07 pm

Ben… Really? Why not go back and blog about your world beater recruits.

BTW, when a walk-on MBB playr who was ridding the pine says Bill Curry will always be “my coach” really needs to be quiet.

Troll Buster

September 15th, 2012
11:10 pm

I’d rather get crushed (as you put it) by a second year program than to be passed over by a second year program. This train wreck can be fixed. That Podunk town and extra wide roads cannot. So enjoy it while you can, clowns!


September 15th, 2012
11:12 pm

Passed over who? You. Are. A. Joke.

Zero respect in this State, CAA, or SBC.



September 15th, 2012
11:18 pm

Im sorry, we should not talk about passing anyone. Even Benson said it’s possible to add two more teams and we might be eating our own smack.

Panting panther

September 15th, 2012
11:28 pm

GaState should stop embarrassing all of the fine alumni and give it up. You guys are all talk and no action. If it wasn’t for the trolls, this comment column would be a graveyard just like the team and supporters. GaState is the new laughing stock of college football.


September 15th, 2012
11:29 pm

I was at the game and am sorry to say that tonight Ga State looked totally unprepared and was outplayed. Even tho by the score GSU was in the game it felt as if we were getting geeting blown out. The secondary was almost nonexistence and the special teams can’t tackle and can’t block folks when we get the ball. I also question some of the calls by the coaching staff. I left tonight very discouraged about the rest of the season. I am now wondering if maybe State is moving to fast. Not getting a good winning tradition estlished at the lower lower, developing players and preparing them when they take the next step up.


September 15th, 2012
11:32 pm


I’ve really wondered the same. I love my University, but this is terrible for our players.

I do think we are moving too fast.

I’ve talked to others that really don’t want to come back any this season.

couldn't have "ben moore" wrong

September 15th, 2012
11:37 pm

you just can’t make this stuff up


September 15th, 2012
11:46 pm

The Savannah State for Homecoming comment is one of the best I have heard in a long while. I don’t think the insults would be as bad or in such high volume if a lot of people on these blogs would not have opened their mouths so much talking trash to a school that has achieved more and more established. Should have came out excited and humble and then responded accordingly after the results. Any half intelligent sports mind knows a new program rarely ever does well, and that it takes a while to set your feet. From what I see it looks like Georgia State ha takend steps backwards, which I did not think was possible.

The Dude

September 15th, 2012
11:48 pm

What a good idea it was to start a football team at a traditionally commuter school with a spread out alumni base, and then play the games in a crime and panhandler – filled downtown area.

[...] Georgia State destroyed by UTSA [...]

Houston Nutt

September 16th, 2012
12:06 am

See you soon, true believers! Don’t give up.


September 16th, 2012
12:14 am

To all you idiots saying UTSA who, yea keep on saying that. Lets see, broke the attendance record for first football game, broke the average attendance for first year program at 35,000 fans in the Alamodome, fastest football program to jump to the big time, WAC invite, then a Conf USA invite, haha. Keep on saying that, cause we are 3-0 and are coached by a Championship coach who has been there and done that, excellent AD, great city chomping for football. Yea see yall next year in Conf USA, 11,000 fans Georgia St who? We have the best football players to recruit from in Texas, our worst players are still better than most in the USA.


September 16th, 2012
12:17 am

Oh yea we are playing big time schools this year and next, yea we will prob lose to La Tech and Okie State (at home) next year, but the Alamodome is gonna be jamming. You guys saw it for yourself last year when yall played at the Alamodome, football is a religion in South Texas.

the Professor

September 16th, 2012
12:22 am

OMG…what happened to the team that almost beat Jacksonville State?

This isn’t pretty. I really thought we could eak out a win today and then whoop up on Richmond and be 2-2.


September 16th, 2012
12:26 am

Kelton Hill For …….


September 16th, 2012
1:18 am

Wow, the SunBelt sucks, but even they should be embarrassed they gave GaState and invite. And 12,000 in the dome? How about 4000. Pathetic


September 16th, 2012
2:05 am

no, this is not the makings of a good program. look at old dominion’s program, that’s a good, young program. gsu football is gonna be stuck in the same rut as gsu basketball. a wealth of talent in the area but the inability to keep enough of it. at least the b-ball team seems like they are headed in the right direction. but man do we need a coaching staff. curry did a great job starting the program, but none of the current day players can relate to him. bring in someone who can get the players we need and a young, invigorated staff that can develop players.

Clarence Voyant

September 16th, 2012
2:30 am

Next year, just down the road a tad, Mercer University relaunches their football program from the crumbled mess they were before they folded it so many years ago. This will give Ga State a glimpse of hope if they can somehow schedule them soon. Pioneer League anyone?


September 16th, 2012
2:50 am

Ben Mclane is ZOO DIRT (sucks). Play Kelton and please get an interim O.C

Hey enjoy it be over soon

September 16th, 2012
5:25 am

They deserve it after all Bill(big mouth) Curry said the SEC was the worst confernce never will win championships…after all they just won 8 so far goin for 9th Natl championship soon…..what GSU goin for more murders on campus then any one…..hey curry 0-3…Have fun retirein cause soon GSU football program be very soon……But i bet felt good 11,475 people at least GT tryed to make it so they had empty seats Bobby dodd stadium…as usual wait till Notre dame plays here n clemson n Miami VT place be packed….for off brand well hey if GSU played at Tech be same crowds!

Ga State Realist

September 16th, 2012
6:48 am

Ga State is not qualified to be an FCS school, never mind moving up to FBS, which is a farce.

This team doesn’t belong in the CAA…and will lose every conference game this fall, some by shocking
scores. Perhaps it can petition Division II to move down.

The Dome crowd, announced at 11,000, was closer to 6000 with few students. By the fourth quarter there may have been 2000 people remaining


September 16th, 2012
7:06 am

To “Hey enjoy it be over soon”, proof read before you post.
Tough to be a Ga. State fan right now. Count me in as believing this program is moving up too quickly. I think a house cleaning will solve some of the problems facing the football program. You got to get a guy that can coach, recruit, and get some fan interest going. The AD and others need to re-think the direction this program is headed.

Pennsylvania CAA fan

September 16th, 2012
7:36 am

Want to see good ball? Nova, odu and delaware are playing well. In a few years if you prove yourselves we may invite you back to the “vaa”. Just kidding. Best of luck

I will see you guys at the uri game. I am traveling to support you guys I bought a shirt! I’ll be the Yankee troll looking fellow

Pennsylvania CAA Fan

September 16th, 2012
8:06 am

While you’re watching football, just know that I’m missing your warm embraces and handsome faces.


September 16th, 2012
8:47 am

I agree with an earlier responder who commented on you guys talking smack before doing anything. If you had waited until you’d accomplished something before all the trash talk began, I’d have some sympathy. However, the talk immediately began. Here’s an example from an 0-3 team: “That Podunk town and extra wide roads cannot.” You’re 0-3 headed for 0-11 and talking that smack about a team that’s won 6 national titles in a division you’re leaving… but wait, you’re going to go 0-11 or so in that division this year and then the real death march begins. Wow, that market you’re so proud of is really putting the fans in the seats and the points on the board!