ATLANTA – Things didn’t start well for Georgia State in its season over, but they finished just peachy.
Diondre Champaigne hauled in an 8-yard touchdown pass from Dan Ellington with 41 seconds remaining to lift the Panthers to a 24-20 comeback win over Kennesaw State, 24-20, at Georgia State Stadium under the Thursday night lights.
Fresh off a 12-2 season that included a trip to the FCS quarterfinals, the Owls jumped out to a 14-0 lead on a 5-yard TD run by Shaquil Terry and a 23-yard TD pass from Chandler Burks to Justin Sumpter.
GSU (1-0) tied the game up by halftime with a pair of scores in the final 50 seconds of the first half. After Ellington threw a 3-yard TD pass to Penny Hart, the Panthers got the ball back on a turnover. Forty-seven seconds later, Ellington was at it again, this time connecting with Christian Owens on a 6-yard TD strike.
The Owls pushed the lead back to six with a pair of Justin Thompson field goals in the third quarter. The Panthers trimmed that advantage back to three on a 35-yard Brandon Wright field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Ellington was 20-of-28 for 187 yards and 3 TD’s. The junior from Olive Branch, Miss., also rushed for a game-high 103 yards. Sumpter caught 7 passes for 95 yards for GSU. The Panthers were 7-5 and won a bowl game in 2017.
Kennesaw State plays another Thursday game at Tennessee Tech on Sept. 6, while GSU is at NC State on Saturday, Sept. 8.
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