Georgia State quarterback Dan Ellington tossed a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another score as the visiting Panthers shocked the Tennessee Volunteers 38-30 in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday.
Ellington connected on scoring strikes to Cornelius McCoy and Aubry Payne for the Sun Belt Conference’s Panthers (1-0), who were 2-10 last season and listed as a 26-point underdog for Saturday’s game.
Seth Paige and Tra Barnett contributed rushing touchdowns, and Brandon Wright kicked a 48-yard field.
Ellington scrambled for a 22-yard touchdown to extend the Panthers’ lead to 35-23 with less than five minutes to play to seal the win.
Georgia State, which opened play in 2010, defeated a Power Five school for the first time in 11 tries.
The Volunteers (0-1) received touchdowns from Ty Chandler, Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings, and kicker Brent Cimaglia booted three field goals.
Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano was 26 of 40 for 311 yards and two scores.
Georgia State had the first scoring opportunity when linebacker Ed Curney recovered a fumble on a swing pass on Tennessee’s second play from scrimmage, and Paige scored on a 4-yard plunge through the right side three minutes into the game for a 7-0 lead.
Tennessee answered when Guarantano fired a back-shoulder TD pass to Callaway with 4:13 left in the first quarter to tie it 7-7.
The Volunteers took their first lead when Chandler dashed 31 yards off the left side for a 14-7 advantage in the closing seconds of the quarter.
The Panthers evened it 14-14 when Ellington threw a perfect play-action pass to McCoy for a 17-yard score at 3:11 in a 6 1/2—minute drive.
A 19-yard field goal by Cimaglia gave Tennessee a 17-14 lead on the last play of the first half.
Ellington put the Panthers back in front, 21-17, with a 6-yard scoring pass to Payne to open the second half, capping a 9-play, 75-yard drive.
Cimaglia cut it to 21-20 at 3:32 of the third quarter with a 48-yarder after a short drive set up by a 30-yard punt return by Callaway, and then drilled a 31-yarder with 12:05 left in the game for a 23-21 Tennessee lead.
Barnett burst out for a 19-yard score with 8:56 left for a 28-23 lead on the Panthers’ second 75-yard drive of the half.
—Field Level Media