ATLANTA – Arkansas State jumped ahead early and never looked back as the Red Wolves rolled to a 52-10 victory against Georgia State during the Panthers’ Homecoming game on Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
A-State amassed a 618-269 advantage in total offense. It was the second-most yards the Panthers had given up in a Sun Belt game.
Michael Gordon led the way, rushing 18 times for 188 yards – including 150 in the first half — while punching in a pair of touchdowns. He and quarterback Fredi Knighten carried the load literally, gaining more than 280 combined yards on the ground on 30 carries.
Knighten got the Red Wolves moving, easily taking them down the field on the Red Wolves’ first four drives, each resulting in a score. Knighten threw a touchdown pass on the opening drive and after a field goal, Gordon burst up the middle for a 50-yard TD run to open a 17-point lead. The last score of the stretch was a 2-yard touchdown pass from Knighten to Kenneth Rains for a 24-0 advantage on the final play of the first quarter.
Georgia State mounted its only scoring drive of the opening half late in the frame, ending at 4:05 to play in the second period on Wil Lutz’s 28-yard field goal. The drive began as the Panther defense came up big with Trey Payne recovering a fumble at the ASU 28. Quarterback Nick Arbuckle scrambled for 10 yards to move the Panthers early before the drive stalled on third down inside the 10-yard line to set up the kick, which capped a nine-play, 18-yard drive.
A-State added another score 35 seconds later on Johnston White’s 13-yard rush to make it 31-3 Arkansas State at halftime. Gordon set up that touchdown with a 53-yard rush, his second run of at least 50 yards on the day. Knighten also got in the mix with a 51-yard rush of his own to score the first touchdown of the second half for a 45-3 lead with 4:43 to play in the third quarter.
The Red Wolves’ defense pressured Georgia State all day, repeatedly forcing the Panther offense into difficult situations behind nine tackles for loss by the Red Wolves. Arbuckle came into the game ranked among the top 15 passers in the country with 318.2 passing yards per game over the first five contests. On Saturday, the junior college transfer completed just 18 of 36 attempts for 162 yards.
The offensive output was uncommon for the Panthers this year, who had scored at least 31 points each game at home this season. Saturday ended with just 10 points as backup quarterback Ben McLane led a fourth-quarter drive for the only GSU touchdown. He tossed a 31-yard completion to Joel Brooks at the A-State 2 to set up a Gerald Howse touchdown to cap a drive that took 6:06 off the clock.
Georgia State returns to action next weekend when it hits the road to play at South Alabama on Saturday, Oct. 18. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and the game will be seen on ESPN3 and heard on 1340 the Fan 3 and 88.5 FM.