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Georgia State Gets Its Signature Win

By Jim Johnson
SouthernPigskin.com
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In what was the biggest win in program history, the Panthers went to Knoxville and knocked off the Vols 38-30, this afternoon.

“You’ve got to beat one of the big boys at their place. The entire perception of the program changes after that.”
~Bill Curry

Tennessee started playing football in 1891. That was two years before the first car was made in the United States.

Georgia State started its program in 2010. That same year, Audi sent a self-driving, unmanned car to the top of Pike’s Peak at near racing speeds.

These days, you can buy a Tesla with autopilot for about $40,000. At that rate, Georgia State could buy about 23 of those with the $950K that Tennessee just paid them to deliver that ‘L’.

In what was the biggest win in program history, the Panthers went to Knoxville and knocked off the Vols 38-30, this afternoon.

“It was one of those signature wins that you have to get,” said Bill Curry, Georgia State’s first ever coach, who also spent time as the head man at Georgia Tech, Alabama, and Kentucky. “You’ve got to beat one of the big boys at their place. The entire perception of the program changes after that.”

In some ways, the title of ‘greatest win ever’ for a program still in its infancy doesn’t carry a ton of weight. In a much more real sense, taking down a blue blood that had about a 120 year head start absolutely does.

“Last year’s record doesn’t matter. The need to continue to play well, but they’ll be looked at entirely differently now,” Curry explained.

This outcome is only more impressive given the apparent state of Georgia State’s program after 2018. It’s one thing when Boise State beats a P5 former national champion. It’s another when a team that just lost double digit games does it.

Curry went on, “They’re a contender, now. Until you do it, people look down their nose at you as a little start up.

Forecasted to finish last in the Sun Belt East by the league’s coaches, and justifiably so after the aforementioned 2-10 campaign, it might be time to start rethinking the Panthers’ outlook.

However, for now, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the spoils that come with such a victory.

“It was a huge win. They almost got Wisconsin a couple of years ago, but let them off the hook in the fourth quarter,” Curry recalled. “This time, that didn't happen.”

A few things stand out from the contest, but perhaps none as much as the physicality at the line of scrimmage. Against an SEC team, a conference known for winning in the trenches, it was the Sun Belt squad that was superior.

“First, I give credit to the coaching staff. They out-conditioned Tennessee,” stated the program’s pioneer.

“Ellington was fantastic, too,” he continued. “He played a great game. He threw it where he should, when he should, executed the option well, and when he ran, they couldn’t tackle him.

“As impressive as anything, though, was his interview after the game. He never talked about his own greatness, only about how great his team was.”

Nate Fuqua’s defensive game plan was impeccable. In Dan Ellington, the offense has a leader. In Shawn Elliott, the team does.

And now, so too do they have a signature win.

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: jim@espncoastal.com Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP