Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Late Surge Pushes New Mexico State Past Panthers

Tyler Rogers' 11-yard touchdown pass to Teldrick Morgan with 15 seconds to play capped a wild comeback as New Mexico State rallied for a 34-31 victory against Georgia State on Saturday.

In the Panthers’ second straight game that was decided in the final seconds, Georgia State fell to 1-1 on the year and 0-1 in Sun Belt play despite leading 24-10 early in the third quarter.

Rogers passed for 241 yards, including hitting Morgan with the winning strike as NMSU (2-0, 1-0 SBC) ended the game trailing just 456-435 in total offense after the late surge. Rogers also finished with three passing TDs including hitting Morgan for a 36-yarder in the third quarter and Joseph Matthews with a 5-yarder midway through the fourth.

The Aggies were under pressure in the final minutes as GSU took the lead with just 2:30 to play. Quarterback Nick Arbuckle scored on a 1-yard keeper to push Georgia State back in front 31-27.

New Mexico State methodically came back, moving down the field 83 yards in 12 plays to collect the winning score. The Aggies capitalized all day as they also took advantage of Panther turnovers. GSU lost two fumbles at key times and had an interception late in the first half, two of them that turned into NMSU points. The second fumble led to an Aggie 30-yard field goal to get within four points, and the interception late in the first half was returned 40 yards for a score to cut the Panthers' halftime lead to just seven.

Early on, it was all Georgia State as the Panthers raced to a 17-0 lead behind Arbuckle and running back Krysten Hammon. Arbuckle made big plays down the field early, hitting Donovan Harden for a 68-yard scoring pass to get GSU on the board and added a 51-yarder to Robert Davis for his first two completions. He finished hitting 21 of 37 pass attempts for 294 yards with a touchdown.

Hammon was a workhorse in his first full collegiate game, after showing glimpses early last week before being sidelined part of the second half with an injury. Hammon had 123 yards on 26 rushes and scored his first two career TDs.

The second scoring TD by the 5-7 Hammon came on a 54-yard scamper up the left sideline and helped him become the first freshman in school history to rush for more than 100 yards in a game. He also scored on an 8-yard run early in the second quarter and helped GSU to 162 rushing yards as a team.

Georgia State returns home on Saturday, Sept. 13, when the Panthers play host to Air Force. The game will kick off at 2 p.m. and will be seen on ESPN3. It will be Military Appreciation Day at the Dome, with all branches of the service being recognized.

Noting the Panthers...

Nick Arbuckle's 68-yard scoring pass to Donovan Harden was the eighth longest play from scrimmage, and the seventh longest pass play in school history. The strike was also the seventh longest TD play since the program began in 2010.

Krysten Hammon rushed for 123 yards and two scores. He was the first freshman in schoolh history to rush for 100 yards in a game, and his 54-yard run was the third-longest scoring run in school history and tied for the fourth-longest rush overall. It was the 11th 100-yard game in program history.

Joseph Peterson recorded 15 tackles, one off his school record of 16 set last year against Troy.
Safety Bryan Williams had eight tackles, an interception -- the first of his career -- and a fumble recovery. Georgia State forced three turnovers on the game.

Captains for today's game were Nick Arbuckle, Joseph Peterson and Shawayne Lawrence.

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