By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) - Seth Rowland and Treon Harris had touchdown runs and Tennessee State came up with a huge defensive stand, ruining Georgia State's debut at the stadium formerly known as Turner Field with a 17-10 victory Thursday night.
The Panthers opened a season of high hopes under first-year coach Shawn Elliott, playing in a stadium of their own for the first time after renting out the Georgia Dome the last seven seasons.
Tennessee State snuffed out the celebration at rechristened Georgia State Stadium. Rowland scored on a 4-yard run in the second quarter and broke off a 59-yard gain right up the middle to set up Harris' 12-yard scoring play late in the third. The big run came two plays after the Tigers, clinging to a 10-3 lead, stopped burly Kyler Neal about an inch shy of the stick on a fourth-down run at the Tennessee State 4.
The referee initially signaled a first down for the Panthers, before deciding to call for a measurement. After hovering over the ball, looking for any sign of daylight between the ball and the marker, the call was changed.
First down, Tennessee State.
The Panthers gave themselves a chance, finally reaching the end zone on a 36-yard touchdown pass from second-string quarterback Aaron Winchester to Taz Bateman with 11½ minutes to go. But a fumble near midfield deprived Georgia State of a shot at the tying score, and a late interception clinched it for the Tigers.
The result was much like so many of those Atlanta Braves playoff games at Turner Field, which became known as the place where visiting teams clinched their postseason victories. This time, it was the Tennessee State band leading the celebration for several thousand Tiger fans in the small section of seats built in what was once right field. It's part of the hasty conversion from baseball to football that took place after Georgia State took over the stadium from the Braves, who moved to a new stadium in the suburbs.
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