The Georgia State Panthers won the 2020 LendingTree Bowl in dominating fashion, 39-21, against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. GSU entered the game as a 3.5 point favorite, but racked up 484 total yards of offense in the victory. Western Kentucky finished the game just 4-of-11 on third down and had only 284 yards of offense.
Georgia State quarterback Cornelius Brown IV led the way with 232 passing yards and three touchdowns as the Panthers rolled to the 18 point victory. Panthers running back Destin Coates ran the ball 23 times for 117 yards and one touchdown. The Panthers totaled 227 total rushing yards in the win. The victory puts Georgia State at 6-4 on the season while Western Kentucky finishes with a 5-7 record.
Georgia State Panthers Win 2020 LendingTree Bowl
The Panthers victory not only pushes them to six wins on the season, but it sets up a big momentum wave heading into 2021. Earning a victory over a struggling Hilltoppers team sets the tone heading into next season. But, Georgia State dominated on offense to get the victory. Despite being a 3.5 point favorite, the offense had other ideas in mind for the bettors that took Western Kentucky +3.5.
Panthers head coach Shawn Elliott now has a 22-25 record in four years at the helm in Atlanta. The bowl win moves the Panthers to an even 2-2 record in bowl games in the program’s short history of having a football team.
Western Kentucky Struggles
The Hilltoppers had a tough time on defense containing Georgia State’s offense from moving the ball. WKU allowed nearly 500 yards of offense and gave up almost 40 points in a game that set them as a near four point underdog. The defense’s inability to stop the Panthers put the offense in a tough spot.
Tyrrell Pigrome finished the game 17-of-33 passing for 180 yards and two interceptions. The Hilltoppers’ rushing game only accounted for 104 total rushing yards in the 18 point loss. Even when they would find the endzone, Western Kentucky stood no chance of making a comeback.
Georgia State Panthers Offense Dominates Hilltoppers
Both teams scored in the first quarter to take a 7-7 tie into the second. Western Kentucky opened the scoring on a two yard touchdown run by Pigrome. The Panthers answered with a score of their own as Coates scored from 11 yards out. It was in the second quarter that Georgia State would get rolling and score 20 points to take a 27-7 lead at halftime. All three touchdowns in the quarter came via the passing attack as Brown IV had every one of his three passing touchdowns in the second quarter alone.
In the third quarter, the Hilltoppers trimmed the deficit to 27-14 on a two yard run by Gaej Walker. Near the halfway point in the quarter, Georgia State went up 30-14 on a 45 yard field goal by kicker Noel Ruiz. The fourth quarter was dominated by Georgia State as the Panthers conneted on another field goal to go up 33-14. Then, backup quarterback Mikele Colasurdo tossed a 25 yard touchdown pass to Cadarrius Thompson to extend the lead to 39-14. Western Kentucky scored a garbage time touchdown on a two yard run by C.J. Jones to make it a 39-21 game.
As Georgia State closed out the season with a win in the 2020 LendingTree Bowl, the Panthers can look ahead to the 2021 football season. On the other side, Western Kentucky has to reflect on the loss and fix the issues on both sides of the ball during the off-season.
Main photo courtesy Atlanta Journal Constitution