The Panthers, making their second bowl appearance in three years, set a new Cure Bowl record with 419 yards of offense, led by a strong day from quarterback Conner Manning. The senior played one of his best games of the year, completing 20-of-28 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown on an awesome flea-flicker touchdown that broke the game open late in the third quarter.
While All-Sun Belt wide receiver Penny Heart was limited to one 27-yard catch, the Panthers defense showed up in a big way. Georgia State did a great job of getting pressure on Mike White, and while the Western Kentucky quarterback did finish the game with 351 yards, the Hilltoppers had just one touchdown drive in the entire second half.
This is a huge moment for Georgia State, and also for first-year head coach Shawn Elliott in his first-ever bowl game as the man in charge. Elliott has brought a high-energy approach to his first full-time head coaching gig (Elliott was interim coach at South Carolina after Steve Spurrier's midseason retirement) and the Panthers did a good job rebounding from a tough start to the season after losses to FCS Tennessee State and a 56-0 blowout at the hands of Penn State. The Panthers were in the mix for a share of the Sun Belt title in mid-November, but finished the season with a pair of losses.
This win sends the still-youthful Panthers program into the offseason with a ton of momentum, and Saturday night will be a night that Elliott and the entire team celebrates for years to come.