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Georgia State claws to top Western Kentucky in the LendingTree Bowl

The Panthers were able to run the ball at will in dominating victory for the Sun Belt.

Georgia State Panthers wide receiver Cornelius McCoy reacts against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers during the second quarter at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgia State Panthers dominated the ground game in a 39-21 victory over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in the LendingTree Bowl on Saturday night in Mobile, Alabama.

The Panthers finished as four-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, and conceded the opening touchdown of the game via a 14-play, 80-yard Hilltoppers drive. But they proceeded to score 27 straight before halftime to end all doubt.

The Panthers (6-4) as a team had 55 carries for 227 yards, including 117 by running back Destin Coates on 23 rushes with a touchdown. A depleted Western Kentucky at no point was able to get stops until the fourth quarter, allowing 5.6 yards per play for the game.

GSU quarterback Cornelious Brown IV was 15-29 for 226 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception through the air. He added 10 carries for 40 yards.

WKU (5-7) struggled on both sides of the ball, with just 4.8 yards per play on offense with three turnovers, and finished 4-of-10 on third downs. Quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome finished 17-33 for 180 yards and two turnovers.

Georgia State also won the 2017 Cure Bowl over Western Kentucky 27-17.