MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Georgia State coach Trent Miles wants his football team to get the little things right if the Panthers are going to get out of an early-season lull.
Drive-killing penalties on offense and out-of-position players on defense contributed to an overall poor performance, and Georgia State fell to West Virginia 41-7 on Saturday.
Georgia State (0-3) was limited to 220 total yards on offense and 10 first downs. The Panthers had seven penalties for 43 yards, including several false starts that took away what little momentum they could mount on offense.
"You can't go out and have as many penalties as we did," Miles said. "Little things like holding are going to happen here and there, but it really puts your pace behind and gets you in bad yardage situations.
"We had way too many third-and-longs and second-and-longs. We weren't able to sustain any drives."
Miles also pointed to at least one West Virginia touchdown that was scored because "we didn't have our safety in the middle when he was supposed to be."
Georgia State allowed West Virginia redshirt freshman quarterback Ford Childress to throw for 359 yards and three touchdowns in his college debut.
Childress was the third stringer only a week ago. But after a solid week of practice and with coach Dana Holgorsen in need of a spark for his offense after being limited to seven points in a loss at Oklahoma, he named Childress the starter over Paul Millard and Clint Trickett.
And Childress delivered in a way that Holgorsen said was more about mental preparation than statistics.
"Pretty good for the first game he's ever played in college football," Holgorsen said. "He's poised. It doesn't matter how I talk to him. He doesn't let emotion get in the middle of that. And I saw that last week on the sideline when it was tight or it was a high-pressure situation."
Childress played the entire game. He completed 25 of 41 passes and appears to have a lock on the starting job for at least another week when West Virginia plays Maryland in Baltimore next Saturday.
Childress said he was nervous before the game started but it quickly went away.
"I was comfortable for the most part," he said. "I've got good enough guys around me where I can just basically hand or toss them the ball and they can make a play for me."
Charles Sims rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown for the Mountaineers (2-1). But West Virginia was far from dominant on both sides of the ball against a team in its first year in the Football Bowl Subdivision and fourth year of existence.
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