"There were so many moving parts that it made it kind of difficult for me calling it," defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said. "I wanted to be aggressive, but I didn't know if we could execute it. I was probably a little too conservative in the first half. I probably should have forced the issue more."
The Panthers, playing their fourth season of football and first in the FBS, made it interesting in the third quarter of their fourth game ever against a FBS opponent. It looked as though the Mountaineers would take a 24-0 lead, but White dropped what should have been a 32-yard touchdown pass and Sims was penalized 15 yards for a chop block.
Childress picked up 22 yards on third down to get the ball to the Georgia State 25-yard line, but on fourth-and-3, WVU opted against a 42-yard field goal attempt. Linebacker Jarrell Robinson came untouched through the line of scrimmage and sacked Childress for a loss of 10 yards.
On the next play, Panthers running back Travis Evans scored on a 65-yard run, the longest touchdown run in school history, to make it 17-7.
"Our history is not very long," Panthers Coach Trent Miles said.
WVU ended up punting, but Georgia State, which plays at No. 1 Alabama Oct. 5, decided to throw three times and two incomplete passes preceded a punt. Childress completed four straight passes and the ball made it to the Georgia State 11, but the Mountaineers settled for a 23-yard field goal.
The Panthers would punt again and Childress connected twice with Myers for first downs before a 32-yard touchdown run by Sims. He was the deep back in a three-back set that had the other two backs right of the quarterback. The run went left and fullback Cody Clay blocked a defender to the ground to spring Sims and give the Mountaineers a 27-7 lead.
Kwiatkoski then jarred running back Jonathan Jean-Bart, who dropped the ball at his 33. WVU's Karl Joseph recovered and Childress connected with Shorts for a second touchdown on a corner route three plays later.
"I thought in the second half we started playing with a little energy," Holgorsen said. "That had been our focus all week -- getting guys playing out there that are positive with their body language and have positive energy. I thought we improved on that, but we've still got a long way to go."
The Mountaineers led 17-0 at halftime thanks to some promising moments by Childress. A Mario Alford drop on third down abbreviated the first drive, but Alford's 24-yard run on first down was what facilitated Josh Lambert's 43-yard field goal.
Childress then completed 6 of 7 passes for 80 yards on the next drive and the Mountaineers needed 11 plays to cover 93 yards. It ended after 4 minutes, 12 seconds with a 21-yard pass to Shorts in a pocket in the end zone.
"He runs great routes and he runs hard through them," Childress said. "He knows how to find the open spot."
WVU had one scoring drive use more plays and no drive cover more yards or time in the first two games. The 10-0 lead was also the largest margin of the season.
It was the first career touchdown catch for Shorts, who had seven receptions for 63 yards against William & Mary, but was shut out against Oklahoma and lost his starting spot to Alford. The play also doubled WVU's touchdown catch tally from the first two games.
"It was good to see someone make a play -- a single play," Dawson said.
Childress made a mistake on his next drive, first failing to throw deep enough to lead Carswell on a 43-yard gain that could have been a touchdown, and then never looking off Alford on a third-down pass against a blitz. Georgia State cornerback Brent McClendon stepped in front of the short throw for an interception.
The Panthers had to punt and Lambert missed short from 53 yards out on WVU's next possession, but the Mountaineers struck quickly the next time they got the ball. Dreamius Smith ran through the right side for 15 yards and Childress connected with McCartney for 45 yards and an easy touchdown.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.