ATLANTA – Georgia State Quarterback Nick Arbuckle set a pair of career passing records Saturday but it was not enough for the Panthers to overcome Texas State as it pushed past Georgia State 54-31 in the final game of the regular season at the Georgia Dome.
The Bobcats improved to 7-5 on the season and 5-3 in league action, while the Panthers completed their second season at the FBS level with a 1-11 record and 0-8 mark in Sun Belt play. Texas State scored on its first nine drives of the game as it racked up 607 yards of total offense to 516 for the Panthers.
Putting a damper on the senior day festivities, Texas State quarterback Tyler Jones completed 26 of 32 passes for 267 yards and rushed for another 65 yards and two running scores to help the Bobcats’ case for a bowl berth. Jones was responsible for four total TDs on the afternoon. Texas State ground out 340 yards rushing on 43 carries.
Robert Lowe added 146 yards on the ground and Terrence Franks added 98 yards including a 60-yard burst for a score down the sideline in the fourth quarter. CJ Best added 29 yards on the ground but was more effective after the catch, hauling in 11 passes for 120 yards and one score.
Jones started the scoring with a 13-yard TD in the second quarter, the first touchdown of the game after three combined field goals. Georgia State got on the board first with Wil Lutz’s 21-yard field goal with 9:50 to play in the first period and was followed by Will Johnson, who booted a 21-yarder and a 28-yarder for a 6-3 lead early in the second period.
Jones then completed 9- and 14-yard scoring tosses in the final 4:13 of the half to extend the Bobcats’ lead to 24 points at the break. He was 18 of 20 passing in the opening half as Texas State finished the first half with 313 total offense yards to just 142 for Georgia State.
Arbuckle broke the GSU career passing mark in the second half as he helped GSU move up and down the field. The junior college transfer completed 32 of 46 for 356 yards and four scores on the day. His scoring passes tied the single-game GSU record for the third time this season and he added to his record season as he now has 3,283 career passing yards, surpassing teammate Ronnie Bell’s previous mark. His 356 yards passing were the seventh-most in GSU single-game history.
Robert Davis was one of his top targets as he hauled in six passes for a career best 117 yards from Arbuckle. They hooked up on the Panthers’ first drive of the third quarter for a 75-yard catch-and-run score, marking the longest pass play of the season and the fifth longest in school history.
It was the start of three touchdown drives in Georgia State’s next four possessions, including a 6-yard TD catch from LynQuez Blair and a 39-yard catch-and-run score by Glenn Smith. Blair also finished with a team-high seven catches for 48 yards in his final career game.
Todd Boyd capped the Panthers’ scoring for the season with a 6-yard touchdown catch from Arbuckle in the fourth quarter that brought GSU within 47-31 with just over three minutes to play. The ensuing onside kick looked to go GSU’s way, but after a review, it was given to Texas State. The Bobcats added a final interception return for a touchdown for the final score.