football Edit

Georgia State Tops ECU 49-29

ECU falls to 0-2 after losing at Georgia State 49-29 Saturday afternoon in Centre Park Stadium in Atlanta.
ECU falls to 0-2 after losing at Georgia State 49-29 Saturday afternoon in Centre Park Stadium in Atlanta.

Georgia State scored 35 first half points and despite a solid early start with a Warren Saba pick-six that gave the Pirates an early 7-0 lead, the Panthers cruised to a 49-29 win over ECU Saturday afternoon in Centre Parc Stadium in Atlanta.

Cornelious Brown threw for 238 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to Sam Pinckney who racked up 134 receiving yards to lead the Panther passing attack. Destin Coates rushed for 113 yards and Cornelius McCoy added seven catches for 59 yards.

Saba talked about the 28-yard touchdown interception, his first career pick, on Georgia State’s first offensive play of the game.

“It goes back to last night. Coach told us to picture us playing the game and I saw myself making a couple of plays and it happened to be the first play of the game. I was pretty excited,” said Saba who outlined what happened after that defensively, “Mistakes - we shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times and that put us behind the 8-ball. When we eliminate mistakes, we’re one of the best defenses out here.”

Holton Ahlers, who threw for 242 yards, dealt with a heavy defensive rush for much of the game and was productive at times, but three interceptions and a potent Georgia State offense found ECU in an uphill battle for most of the day. All three of the Pirates’ touchdowns and points came on special teams or on defense. Tyler Snead and Blake Proehl both hauled in eleven receptions each for 194 combined yards for the Pirates in a losing cause.

“It’s disappointing. It starts with me and I’ve got to be better. I came here to win games, that’s what we come to do,” said Ahlers, “I’ve got to be athletic enough to make plays even when that happens and try to make good decisions when I do.”

When asked if the game took a physical toll on him, Ahlers said he was fine and looking forward to next week’s game at USF.

“I’m good. I’m just ready to get back next week,” Ahlers told

After the game, Mike Houston was clearly disappointed in his team’s offensive point production and ability to follow an early defensive touchdown with points offensively.

“You felt like you got in such a big hole there in the first half that it makes it really, really tough,” Houston told after the game, “Certainly we made a couple of special teams plays there in the second half and got back in the ballgame - played well defensively, but we’ve got to be better. We’ve got to be better coaches, we’ve got to better players and execute better. We’ve got to push ourselves to continue to improve.”

“After the pick six, which is as good of a start as we could ask for, we did not handle everything very well,” Houston said, “Usually if you can grab the momentum, it gives you a tremendous advantage in the ballgame. We wanted to start fast and we did. Great play by Warren (Saba). I’m really proud of that kid. He’s matured and improved so much since I got here and he really played his tail off today. “I’m really disappointed that we couldn’t get anything built on top of that and get anything going and really put ourselves in a big hole there early.”

“Certainly we all have higher expectations for how we perform on the field. I’m disappointed that we didn’t get that output. It would have made a huge difference in the ballgame. I was certainly excited to get two special teams scores and to get a defensive score. We’ve just got to improve on that side of the football and we’ve got to improve everywhere.”

“Obviously I’m disappointed in the loss. They were exactly the team that I thought they were. Hats off to them, they’ve done a great job of building that program. They looked like a very experienced group and very good up front on both sides of the football.”

“We did not handle that atmosphere and them very well in the first half and got ourselves in a pretty big hole,” said Houston, “I appreciate the way the kids fought back. We at least got ourselves back in the game somewhat and gave ourselves a chance to have a shot there at the end. A couple of mistakes there in the second half in the fourth quarter took our chances away there. Obviously we’ve got to do a better job of preparing the group for the start of the football game.”

Linebacker Jireh Wilson led the ECU defense with 13 tackles including ten solo stops and a pair of tackles for a loss to go along with eight each from fellow linebacker Xavier Smith and defensive lineman Elijah Morris.


ECU(0-2) and (1-1)Georgia State generated two quick touchdowns in just the first five plays of the game. Warren Saba’s interception on the first play of the game from scrimmage and 28-yard touchdown was ECU’s best offensive play of the half gave and gave the Pirates an early 7-0 lead.

But it was all downhill from there for the Pirates when Terrence Dixon’s 43-yard run on an option pitch put Georgia State in business in the red zone before Destin Coats 13-yard touchdown run tied the game at 7-7.

Georgia State scored their second touchdown of the day on the second play of their subsequent drive on a 38-yard Cornelius Brown pass to Sam Pinckney for a 14-7 lead. The Panthers soon took a commanding 21-7 lead on a 22-yard Brown to Jamari Thrash touchdown connection midway into the first quarter.

The Panthers added to their first half total with their fourth touchdown early in the second quarter on a 4-yard Tucker Gregg touchdown run to extend the Georgia State lead to 28-7.

Jake Verity’s 28-yard field goal got East Carolina on the board with 7:44 left in the half.

Trajan Stephens-McQueen’s interception of Holton Ahlers ultimately led to another Georgia State score on Sam Pinckney’s second touchdown catch of the day good for 13 yards. That capped a 5-play 44-yard drive and put the Panthers up 35-10 with 5:26 left in the half.

Verity’s 40-yard field goal found ECU down 35-13 in a first half where Georgia State generated 303 yards of total offense to just 128 for the Pirates that included just 25 yards on the ground.

ECU got three more points from Jake Verity with five seconds remaining in an otherwise scoreless third quarter to trim the lead to 19 points at 35-16.

Antavious Lane’s three-yard interception of Holton Ahlers for a Georgia State touchdown expanded the Panther lead to 42-16.

The Pirates scored when ECU gambled on fourth down on a fake field goal. Tyler Snead caught Georgia State sleeping and scampered in for a 31-yard score. Then a blocked punt and 29-yard touchdown by Blake Proehl trimmed the lead to 42-29 when Jake Verity missed a rare point after attempt.

Georgia State missed a Noel Ruiz 44-yard field goal attempt with 4:33 to go in the game, but ECU was unable to capitalize with three minutes to play and Georgia State got a five-yard Destin Coates touchdown for a 49-29 lead that put the game out of reach.