ATLANTA — Wil Lutz booted a 26-yard field goal with four seconds left to lift Georgia State to a 38-37 victory over Abilene Christian on Wednesday night.
Lutz’s field goal in first Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) game of the college football season capped a 13-play, 72-yard drive that took 2:37 and gave the Panthers a positive start to a season that follows a disappointing 0-12 2013 campaign.
“Being able to pull out a win in that fashion is just awesome for the guys,” Lutz said. “Getting me down there was all them.”
Quarterback Nick Arbuckle, a junior college transfer making his first start for Georgia State, completed 31 of 47 passes for 413 yards, tossing four touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. Krysten Hammon led the Panthers’ ground game, rushing for 78 yards on 13 carries.
“He was able to make a couple great scrambles for us. He kept his composure,” Head Coach Trent Miles said of Arbuckle. “…I thought he kept his composure, that’s why we brought him in here. He showed great leadership on the sideline. He had two throws he wishes he had back. The players know who’s our leaders and Nick’s really stepped into that role.”
The Panthers compiled 566 total yards, including 153 rushing yards. However, their porous defense allowed the visiting Wildcats to amass 498 yards of their own.
“Individually, we’re not perfect, but as a team we’re 1-0 and we are perfect right now,” Arbuckle said.
Abilene Christian’s Parker McKenzie put up a gem of his own and completed 30 of 40 passes for 403 yards, throwing four touchdowns and an interception. Herschel Sims led the Wildcats’ ground game, rushing for 39 yards on 14 carries.
Georgia State, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, took a 21-16 lead into halftime. Abilene Christian, a member of the Football Championship Subdivision’s (FCS) Southland Conference, responded with 14 points in the third quarter to jump to a 30-21 lead.
“It’s a great day for the Panthers. We’re going to enjoy this,” Miles said. I’m probably going to enjoy it for another hour, and then it’s on to New Mexico State. We’ll get through tomorrow and they’ll be proud when they go to class and then we’ll start working on Friday.”
Note: Quotes courtesy Georgia State Sports Communications