Sep 25, 2021; Auburn, Alabama, USA;  Georgia State Panthers quarterback Darren Grainger (3) rolls out to pass during the first quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

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No. 23 Auburn scores comeback win to avoid upset

T.J. Finley threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Shedrick Jackson with 45 seconds remaining and No. 23 Auburn rallied past Georgia State 34-24.

Finley was nearly tackled for a loss, but escaped, stepped up and found Jackson in the end zone for Auburn’s (3-1) only offensive touchdown of the day to cap a 13-play, 98-yard drive.

Georgia State (1-3), which led 24-12 at halftime, had one last chance, but Smoke Monday intercepted Darren Grainger and returned it 36 yards to ice it.

Finley, who replaced starter Bo Nix in the third quarter, completed five-of-nine passes for 64 yards on the final drive and ran for 16 more.

Finley’s 19-yard pass to John Samuel Shenker to the Georgia State 11 on the final drive was ruled complete on the field and survived a review.

Anders Carlson kicked four field goals for the Tigers.

Tucker Gregg carried 12 times for 150 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers. Grainger passed for 97 yards, two touchdowns and the interception. He ran for 61 yards.

Auburn trailed 24-12 in the third quarter before Caylen Newton blocked Michael Hayes’ punt and Barton Lester recovered in the end zone to pull within 24-19 at the 4:44 mark.

Georgia State went 75 yards in 15 plays to take a 10-6 second quarter lead. On second down from the Auburn 30, Grainger scrambled 14 yards. Three plays later he found Jamari Thrash alone in the end zone for a 12-yard score.

On the ensuing drive, Auburn’s Jarquez Hunter ran 27 yards to the Georgia State 15, but the Tigers again settled for a Carlson field goal, this time from 27 yards.

The Panthers again drove 75 yards to increase the lead to 17-9. Tight end Roger Carter caught a 24-yard pass to the Auburn 18 and three plays later caught Grainger’s second touchdown pass, a 7-yarder.

Carlson hit from 45 yards out to pull Auburn within 17-12 with 2:54 left in the first half.

Starting at the 40 after an Auburn penalty, Georgia State took less than a minute to score. On first down at midfield, Gregg burst through the line and went 50 yards to make it 24-12.

Auburn had given up 45.7 rushing yards per game over their first three, but the Panthers rushed for 219 yards in the first half alone.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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