CONWAY, S.C. – Behind a career-high 128 yards rushing from senior quarterback Dan Ellington and a school-record 350 yards on the ground, Georgia State earned a key Sun Belt Conference road victory at Coastal Carolina 31-21 Saturday night at Brooks Stadium.
After setting a school-record with 340 rushing yards last week, Georgia State (4-2, 2-1 Sun Belt) broke the record with 350 yards on the ground Saturday. It marked the first time in program history where three different rushers each went for more than 100 yards on the ground as Tra Barnett and Seth Paige joined Ellington with 100-yard games.
Ellington rushed 19 times for 128 yards, including a long of 57 yards, while also going 16-of-24 for 122 yards and a touchdown through the air. Barnett rushed 20 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns, while Paige added 104 yards on 13 carries including a touchdown.
The Georgia State defense held a potent Coastal Carolina rushing attack to just 105 yards and came up with several key plays, including two stops for no gain on third and fourth down at the GSU 8-yard line with three minutes to seal the win.
“What a performance by our defense. They really rose to the occasion and stopped them on fourth down,” head coach Shawn Elliott said. ”I’m very proud of our football team and our coaching staff for winning this game. It’s going to be a happy ride back to Atlanta.”
Ellington also praised the defense, as well as his offensive line, which has paved the way for 690 yards rushing over the last two games.
“Credit to the defense for playing their butts off,” he said. “And I’ve got to give it to those guys up front. Back to back weeks with 350 yards rushing – I can’t thank them enough.”
With his 128-yard effort tonight, Ellington topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark for his career; he now has 1,066 yards on the ground.
The first 18 minutes of the game saw just three field goals as Coastal Carolina took a 6-3 lead with 12 minutes left in the second quarter. For GSU, Brandon Wright nailed a 38-yard field goal that was set up by Terry Thomas’ fumble recovery at the CCU 44-yard line
Less than two minutes later, Georgia State took its first lead as the Panthers needed just four plays to move 75 yards, thanks to Seth Paige’s 46-yard touchdown run down the left sideline. That put GSU ahead 10-6 with 10:46 to play in the first half.
The GSU defense forced a three-and-out, and the Panthers took over at their 30 and embarked on another touchdown drive. All but 15 of the 70 yards came on the ground. Tra Barnett had a key third-down conversion for a first down at the 20, and on 3rd-and-goal at the 3-yard line, Ellington threw a quick pass in the flat to Cornelius McCoy, who fought his way into the end zone for the score, giving the Panthers a 17-6 lead with 1:51 left in the first half.
Coastal Carolina took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove for a touchdown, but the Panhers responded with back to back scoring drives of 75 and 74 yards, both capped by Barnett runs, to take a 31-13 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter.
The Chanticleers cut the deficit to 10 points after converting a short field, the result of a poor punt, into a touchdown with 10 minutes to play. But Georgia State’s special teams then came up with a big play as Keon Carter recovered a fumbled punt a the CCU 19, and then the defense made their late stand.
With two rushing touchdowns, covering 26 and two yards, Barnett raised his career total to 12 to move into a tie for second place in GSU history, just one behind the school record.
Georgia State returns home to host Army next Saturday at 7 p.m. at Georgia State Stadium. For tickets, call 404-413-4020 or visit GeorgiaStateSports.com/tix.