Reviewing Georgia State’s 45-14 loss to Washington on Saturday:
The Panthers were halfway to their signature win, leading Washington 14-0 at halftime, when everything fell apart.
Or, more precisely, the Huskies were done messing around.
After being outgained in yards in the first half, 233-73, and held to four first downs, the Huskies rolled up 45 points and 263 yards in the second half, while limiting the Panthers to one first down and 40 yards.
The draw plays and options that Georgia State used to great effect in the first half were limited once running back left Kyler Neal (57 yards) left with an apparent left knee injury. He could be seen on crutches at the end of the game. Hope to get an update on his status today.
And the short passes that Georgia State used to move up and down the field in the first half were taken away by the Huskies with some press coverage and a ferocious pass rush in the second half. The Huskies had four sacks, using a twist scheme to spring open rushers that the line couldn’t stop.
The Panthers (1-3) are 0-15 against FBS teams. They have a bye next week to rest their wounds and cash the $900,000 check from Washington.
Mistakes. You would think that Georgia State would have had to play perfectly to have a 14-point lead against a FBS opponent.
But the Panthers were making mistakes on offense on most every possession in the first half. Quarterback Nick Arbuckle was intercepted three times, but one was called back because of a pass interference penalty. The team also took itself out of field-goal range with a penalty and sack in the first quarter.
But they got away with those mistakes because the defense was executing well against a Washington offense that, frankly, seemed disinterested.
All that changed in the second half when none of the three units could execute. As already noted, the offense couldn’t move the ball. After having no three and outs in the first half the offense had six in the second half. Its lone first down didn’t come until its last drive. The defense, so ferocious in the first half, couldn’t get off the field on third down in the second and the special teams couldn’t defend punt returns as the Huskies constantly enjoyed good field position with six drives in the second half starting in Georgia State territory (some because of two turnovers and some because the Panthers kept punting to Dante Pettis, who finished with 98 yards in returns.
The beginning of the avalanche. Georgia State still led 14-7 and had forced two punts in the second half when this call went against the Panthers.
The officials ruled that Avery Sweeting fumbled on this reception on the 25-yard line.
Obviously, Sweeting’s knee was down.
Maybe the Pac-12 uses some sort of drone technology that only provides overhead views that would have prevented the officials from seeing that Sweeting’s knee was down and the ball was still in his arms.
But the turnover gave the Huskies a short field. They scored to tie the game.
Washington’s confidence kept going up and the Panthers looked like they quickly deflated.
The Panthers were leading an FBS team. That’s a positive step.
The Panthers were still beaten by almost 30 points. That’s a negative step.
It will be two more years before the Panthers will be able to compete for four quarters against these types of teams. The team doesn’t have the scholarship depth (just 72 players out of a max of 85) or experience to know what to do in certain situations, such as leading on the road.