2020 LENDINGTREE BOWL POST-GAME NOTES
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Georgia State Panthers
Saturday, December 26, 2020 * Ladd-Pebbles Stadium * Mobile, Alabama
Final Score: Georgia State 39, Western Kentucky 21
Weather: Sunny skies, 52 degrees; Wind: SE, 4 mph
Game Captains: Steven Witchoskey (WKU); Hadrick Willis (GSU)
Coin Toss: WKU won the toss and defers to second half
WKU Uniform: White tops; black pants; chrome helmets (Visitor)
GSU Uniform: Blue tops; white pants; white helmet (Home)
GEORGIA STATE SWEEPS MVP AWARDS:
Georgia State Georgia State swept the four Most Valuable Player awards at the 2020 LendingTree Bowl. Freshman quarterback Cornelious Brown IV was the 2020 LendingTree Bowl MVP. Junior running back Devin Coates was named the LendingTree Bowl Offensive MVP. Sophomore OLB Jontrey Hunter was named the LendingTree Bowl Defensive MVP. Senior PK Noel Ruiz was the LendingTree Bowl Special Team MVP.
Brown completed 15-of-29 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns in the win over WKU. He also added 45 rushing yards on 10 carries. After a first quarter interception, Brown led the Panthers to four straight scoring drives and a 27-7 halftime lead.
Coates had 23 carries for 117 yards and one touchdown. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry. He had seven rushing attempts for 48 yards on the Panthers‘ first scoring drive. He capped the drive with an 11-yard TD run.
Hunter led the team with six tackles and recorded two turnovers.
Ruiz scored nine points and made both FG attempts (45 and 29 yards). He has made a school-record eight straight field goals following Saturday’s bowl win.
PIGROME THROWS FIRST INTERCEPTION:
Western Kentucky senior quarterback Tyrell Pigrome entered the LendingTree Bowl as the only FBS quarterback without an interception this season. He threw two interceptions on back-to-back passes in second quarter to end the nation’s longest active streak at 278 consecutive passes without an interception. GSU freshman safety Antavious Lane recorded the first interception at the GSU 23-yard line. On the very next offensive play, Pigrome was picked off again by GSU sophomore Jontrey Hunter in the end zone.
GSU SCORES 27 UNANSWERED POINTS:
After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, Georgia State reeled off 27 unanswered points to take a 27-7 halftime lead. The Panthers offense began the game with a three-and-out and threw an interception on its next drive at the WKU 7-yard line. GSU then scored on its next four possessions to take a 27-7 lead. Devin Coates (11-yard run), Sam Pickney (26-yard reception), Jamari Thrash (5-yard reception) and McCoy (8-yard reception) accounted for the scoring.
BACK-TO-BACK WINNING SEASONS:
Georgia State has completed back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in the program’s 11-year history. GSU improved to 5-4 following Saturday’s 39-21 win over Western Kentucky in the 2020 LendingTree Bowl. Georgia State finished the 2019 season with a 7-6 record.
Georgia State won its second bowl game in program history and both wins have come against Western Kentucky. GSU defeated WKU 27-17 in the 2017 Cure Bowl and 39-21 in the 2020 LendingTree Bowl.
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS:
Western Kentucky and Georgia State combined for four turnovers in the 2020 LendingTree Bowl and the four miscues resulted in 23 points. The GSU defense recorded three turnovers and the offense converted those turnovers into 16 points. GSU recorded back-to-back interceptions in the second quarter and cashed both in for touchdowns. The Panthers recovered a third quarter fumble and converted that miscue into a field goal. WKU forced one turnover and the offense cashed it in for a touchdown following an 80-yard drive.
Western Kentucky freshman defensive tackle David Ndukwe was ejected in the second quarter following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from the bench.
SUN BELT SUCCESS:
GSU’s 39-21 win over Western Kentucky gives the Sun Belt Conference a six-game winning streak in LendingTree Bowl play. The Sun Belt Conference owns an 8-4 (.667) record in the LendingTree Bowl and has not lost since Toledo defeated Arkansas State in the 2015 game.