ATLANTA — Matt Breida rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns to lead Georgia Southern to a 69-31 win Saturday.
Georgia Southern shredded Georgia State’s defense for 613 rushing yards. The win marked the 300th in program history for Georgia Southern (6-2) and marked the first-ever match-up with Georgia State (1-7) in what is sure to become a great in state rivalry for a pair of new Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
“We did a tremendous job of running the football, just an incredible job,” Georgia Southern coach Willie Fritz said, according to gseagles.com. “Our offensive line was great and our receivers and backs were excellent. It’s tough to block on the perimeter and hold a block for three or four seconds, and we did a great job with that. We had great ball security too, pitching the ball around like we did with no turnovers.”
Georgia State put the first points on the board with a 44-yard field goal from Wil Lutz early in the first quarter, but Georgia Southern responded with a pair of touchdowns. Southern and State traded scores in the second quarter, and it looked as if the Panthers might hang with the visiting Eagles.
Georgia Southern led by 27-17 at halftime and pulled away with a three-touchdown third quarter.
“Defensively, it’s an unacceptable performance by us. We didn’t give ourselves a chance,” Georgia State coach Trent Miles said during a post-game press conference. “Our offense showed that they could move the ball and score points. There’s a few plays they wish they had back, obviously the ball they were trying to throw away and got a pick and then a dropped touchdown pass.
“We put 31 on the board, it could’ve been 48, but we didn’t. It’s unacceptable to give up 69 points,” Miles added. “Again, give Georgia Southern credit. They have an excellent rushing offense, the No. 1 rushing offense there is. It’s just unacceptable in this program.”
In a bright spot for Georgia State, Nick Arbuckle completed 24 of 38 passes for 408 yards and four touchdowns. Georgia Southern’s Kevin Ellison completed five of six passes for 47 yards and also added 115 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
The loss marred a record-setting day for Georgia State’s Donovan Harden, who tied a school record with 11 receptions and set a school record with four touchdown receptions.
“It’s hard to get excited about breaking the record, especially when I dropped the potential fifth touchdown pass,” Harden said. “That’s the only thing I’m thinking about right now.
Added Harden: “Give Georgia Southern credit for coming out here and playing. I don’t think we did.”