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Georgia State Vs. St. Francis (IL) Final: Panthers Tripped by NAIA Foe in OT, 30-27

Georgia State football is experiencing the growing pains of a new program and it continued on the floor of the Georgia Dome Saturday afternoon as an opponent from a lower division claimed victory.  The Panthers fell to NAIA school St. Francis (IL) in overtime marking their second consecutive week of defeat in extra time.

It is safe to say that Georgia State football coach Bill Curry was feeling the way his fanbase was: utterly disappointed:

It is very, very disappointing.  [St. Francis] of course did a marvelous job. They are a good team and they deserved to win but this shouldn't have happened.

The Panthers took a 27-17 lead on Freshman Matt Ehasz's 34 yard field goal.  The subsequent kickoff by the young man out of Camden County HS went out of bound giving the Saints the ball on the 40 yard line. Saint Francis quarterback EJ White engineered a quick 10 play drive and found wide receiver Luke Gunderson for an apparent two yard score.  Replays on the in house monitor and several media members are unsure if Gunderson came down with ball in bounds.  Unfortunately for Panther fans, the Football Championship Subdivision and their officials are unable to use replay until the FCS Playoffs.

The Saints then executed a perfect onside kick recovering the ball on their own 42 yard line with 1:22 left to go in the game.  White completed three out of next five passes to set up the potential game winner as the officials ruled wide receiver Elliot Allen out of bounds with one second remaining.  Another call, another heart break for the home team as White's knee was down in bound but he was given the stoppage of clock to set up a game tying field goal which the Saints nailed sending the game in overtime.

Georgia State received the ball first but were unable to move forward on two passing plays and rushed for a loss of five yards to place the ball at the Saint Francis 30 yard line.  Ehasz's 47 yard field goal was a bit short and hit the right crossbar.  Saint Francis marched to the Panthers 13 yard line after four plays setting up the game winning kick.

Georgia State heads to the road for the final time this season next Saturday as they'll face Division 2 opponent West Alabama at 7pm ET.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.