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