MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Redshirt freshman Cornelius “Quad” Brown threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns to lead Georgia State to a 39-21 victory over Western Kentucky on Saturday in the LendingTree Bowl.
The Panthers (6-4) scored touchdowns on four consecutive first-half possessions and Brown’s touchdown passes came in the second quarter to three receivers.
Destin Coates added 117 yards and a touchdown rushing, part of a 227-yard day on the ground for Georgia State.
Western Kentucky (5-7) scored first, driving 80 yards in 14 plays for quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome’s 2-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 lead with 4:02 left in the first. Georgia State answered with a largely run-based drive, capped by Coates’ 11-yard run that made it 7-7 with eight seconds remaining in the first.
The Panthers scored again on their next possession to take a 14-7 lead, with Brown hitting Sam Pinckney with a 26-yard strike at the goal line with 9:50 left in the half. After Pigrome threw his first interception of the year three plays later, Georgia State again got into the end zone on Brown’s 5-yard pass to Jamari Thrash for a 21-7 lead at the 2:09 mark of the second.
Georgia State picked off another of Pigrome’s passes moments later, and again it led to points. The Panthers drove 80 yards to the end zone, with Brown hitting Cornelius McCoy on an 8-yard touchdown pass for a 27-7 lead with 8 seconds left in the half.
Western Kentucky scored a touchdown on the opening possession of the second half, with Gaej Walker running in from the 2. That made it 27-14 with 11:27 left in the third.
Georgia State added Noel Ruiz’s 45-yard field goal for a 30-14 lead midway through the third. Western Kentucky then had a chance to make it a one-score game, but the Panthers stopped the Hilltoppers on fourth-and-1 from the 2.
Ruiz booted a 29-yard field goal with 11:19 left to make it a three-score game again at 33-14. Back-up quarterback Mikele Colasurdo capped the Panthers’ scoring with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Cadarrius Thompson with 5:13 remaining (the extra point failed due to a bad snap).
Western Kentucky tacked on a touchdown with 2:18 left, when C.J. Jones ran in from two yards out. The Hilltoppers were outgained 478 yards to 284 in the game.
Brown completed 15 of 29 passes with an interception and ran for 40 yards on 10 attempts before giving way to Colasurdo midway through the fourth quarter
Pigrome, like Brown an Alabama native playing back in his home state, was 17 of 33 for 180 yards and two interceptions. He was also sacked three times.