Break up Georgia State.
The Panthers defeated Ball State 31-19 on Saturday for its second win this season. That’s as many wins as the team had in its three previous years.
Quarterback Nick Arbuckle led Georgia State with 412 passing yards and three touchdowns. Robert Davis moved into second place behind Albert Wilson on the school’s list for career receiving yards with nine catches for 125 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown.
The defense, which has struggled in its past three games, gave up just 19 points, the fewest since Trent Miles became coach before the 2013 season. Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter grew up in Muncie, Ind. and Miles is a native of Terre Haute, making the win that much sweeter for that pair.
The defense was effective because Miles said they focused on not giving up big plays, a problem that has plagued the group for the past five years. Ball State’s longest play was 19 yards, according to Georgia State’s sports information department.
Georgia State scored 24 points in the first half before the offense started to stall in the third and fourth quarters. It got on track when Arbuckle hit Donovan Harden for a 68-yard pass to the 1-yard line. Arbuckle scored two plays later to give the Panthers a 31-19 lead with 2:13 left.
Safety Bryan Williams, who has battled back from several injuries, intercepted Ball State’s Riley Neal to seal the win.
While the passing game was clicking, the running game’s struggles continued and may go on without Kyler Neal, who left the game with a knee injury. Neal, DeMarcus Kirk, Khai Anderson and Jonathan Lytle combined to rush for 33 yards on 32 carries.
Joseph Peterson led Georgia State with 14 tackles. Trey Payne, in for Kaleb Ringer, had 12 tackles. Mackendy Cheridor added a sack and forced a fumble.
Georgia State (2-4) is off next week and will face Arkansas State on Oct. 31.