In 2010, the Georgia State Panthers started their football program in similar fashion to the Roadrunners, bringing in a big name head coach in Bill Curry, playing in the Georgia Dome, and starting the season 1-1.
The Panthers opened their inaugural season against Shorter University, who participate in the NAIA, and were able to pull off an impressive 41-7 victory, much like UTSA did against Northeastern State two weeks ago.
Next up for Georgia State were the Eagles of Lambuth University, a university which has since ceased operations, who competed in the NAIA at the time.
Georgia State started the game off slowly, trailing 9-0 at halftime, but managed to take the lead in the third quarter by putting up 14 straight points. Lambuth came back in the fourth and sealed the deal with an interception returned for a touchdown with 2:09 remaining to pull off the 23-14 upset over Georgia State in the second game in school history.
If you haven’t yet realized the similarity between the opening games of both programs, just take a look at the scoring summaries from game two:
The Panthers didn’t have much time to think about that loss though, as their next game would be against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, who were ranked #4 in the FCS coming into the game, and would finish the season ranked #8 after losing in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
Jacksonville State started off the game with a field goal on the opening drive, but Georgia State took the lead on the following drive with a 41 yard touchdown run by Darren McCray. After three hard fought quarters, the Panthers found themselves trailing 20-13 heading into the fourth, but quickly tied the game on a 44 yard run by Travis Evans. The teams then traded touchdowns before the end of regulation, heading into overtime with the score tied at 27.
Georgia State then failed to convert on fourth down after giving up a touchdown to JSU in the first period of overtime, which handed the young team their second loss of the season, by a final score of 34-27.
While the Panthers ultimately couldn’t pull out the victory and started their season at 1-2, an overtime thriller against a #4 FCS team was pretty impressive for just the third game in school history.
Without the luxury of playing at home, the Roadrunners will look to come out with that same intensity and drive that Georgia State showed us last year as they take on Southern Utah this Saturday looking to improve to 2-1.