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Georgia State falls to unbeaten, #23 ranked James Madison Dukes in an A-Town beatdown

By: Mac Cummings, @SSN_GSU

Only two weeks ago were the Panther Family saying "Mamma Mia" due to Georgia State sitting at a 6-1 record and atop of the Sun Belt East standings. Now it feels it may be “Slipping Through (Our) Fingers” as the Panthers have fallen to 6-3 after back to back losses to you know who and now to the #23 ranked James Madison University Dukes. In what felt like a "prove it" game for the Panthers, the only thing that was proven is that JMU is a unit. The Panthers wanted more than bowl eligibility, which they already have, but their ultimate goal of winning a Sun Belt Championship may be out of reach now with this most recent loss. At this point in the season, a victory over Appalachian State, something GSU has never done, and another bowl victory will and should still be considered a successful year for the Panthers. If they are unable to do that

however, the Panther Family may be saying “SOS” going into the New Year.

When the game starts with you having a 22 yard rush against the best rush defense in the country negated due to a holding call, you know it’s going to be a long day. And a long day it was for the guys from Center Parc Drive. The first quarter did although end up being a tightly contested quarter with the Dukes striking first and the Panthers answering right back on a 30 yard dash by quarterback Darren Grainer on a 4th down. Three plays later senior cornerback Bryquice Brown picked off Jordan McCloud for the games only turnover and the Panthers felt as if they were moving. What felt like was next was the Panthers taking the lead due to the incredible field position Brown’s interception gave them and with the momentum the guys in black and blue had.

Instead, the special team woes continued for GSU and they missed a 33 yard field goal attempt by Liam Rickman that hit the upright. Camden Wise, the kicked for JMU, said “hold my beer” though as on the Dukes next possession he did the exact same thing but instead from 41 yards out, his first miss on the season. That would be the last miscue the Dukes made as they outscored the Panthers 35-7 from this point.

The Panthers were only down 7 at the half and had every reason to think they could win this game. After the first two possessions of the second half in which the Dukes went 11 plays for 75 yards and a touchdown and the Panthers went 3 plays for -6 yards, that reasoning began to fade. The next drive the Dukes continued their methodical approach with another 8 play drive for 69 yards and another touchdown, now going up 28-7. The Panthers hopes were losing life fast but then got an electric shock to the heart on a second long rush from Grainger, this time for 58 yards and cutting the Dukes lead back down to 14. When JMU got the ball back they said, “thank you, I’ll have another” as they stretched out another 10 play drive for 65 yards and another 7 points on

the board. The defibrillator was out of juice for the Panthers as they didn’t score again in the game. The Dukes would put up one more touchdown through the air and make the final score of this one represent exactly what it was, a shellacking.

The player of the game could go to only one person in this as senior QB out of Tampa, FL for the JMU Dukes, Jordan McCloud, had 6 total touchdowns (four through the air and two on the ground) and 411 total yards of offense. The story of the game however was one of two parts, the time of possession for the Dukes and their third down conversions. The Dukes had possession of the ball an astounding 42:26 of the game compared to the Panthers 17:34. This is a style of play that has slowed up some of the highest powered offenses the game has ever seen, the Panthers didn’t stand a chance. The Dukes were able to have this style of play and outlast the Panthers because of how many third downs they were able to convert, something they haven’t done much

of all year. JMU came into today’s game sitting at 124th in the nation in 3rd down conversion rate. They converted 9 of 13 third downs today, compared to the Panthers 3 of 12. These dynamic Dukes had one real weakness and the Panthers could not expose it. With three games left, one being at LSU, the Panthers have some tough tests in front of them will something to still prove. Whether or not it will be proven is yet to be determined.

Key Stats:

-Jordan McCloud 6 TDs and 411 total yards,

-Ty Son Lawton 98 rushing yards and 57 receiving yards and a TD,

-Jeremey Kromah 1 sack,

-JMU 1 punt for 47 yards

-Darren Grainger 103 rushing yards with 2 TDs and 82 passing yards, no turnovers

-Marcus Carroll 33 rushing yards and 30 receiving yards

-Jordan Veneziale with 8 tackles, two for loss

-Izaiah Guy with 3 tackles and a sack

-Bryquice Brown with 5 tackles and a pick

-Kade Loggins with 6 punts for a 43 yard avg and a long of 59 (better than I expected)

-JMU 9 of 13 on 3rd down, 124th in the nation coming into today, Panthers 3 for 12

-JMU Outgained GSU 567 yards to 228 (307 to 82 passing) (260 to 146 rushing)

-Only 7 total penalties all game (5 for 35 yards for JMU and 2 for 20 yards for GSU)

-Only one turnover for both teams on the Brown interception

-JMU ran 84 plays to GSU's 49 plays

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