MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- One up, one down for Ford Childress.
In his West Virginia debut, the redshirt freshman quarterback led the Mountaineers to a 41-7 victory over Georgia State on Saturday afternoon at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Two days after officially swiping the starting job from junior Paul Millard, Childress was 25-41 passing for 359 yards, three touchdowns and an interception to get West Virginia (2-1, 0-1 Big 12) back to its winning ways.
The Panthers (0-3), making their Division I debut this fall, were steamrolled by a Mountaineer offense that finally found its footing for 604 total yards.
It didn’t take long for Childress to make a mark in Morgantown. After three handoffs on the opening drive set up a 42-yard field goal by Josh Lambert, Childress marched the Mountaineers down the field on an 11-play, 93-yard drive, extending the lead to 10-0 on a 21-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Daikiel Shorts.
The touchdown was a career-first for both Childress and Shorts.
Childress took advantage of the porous Panther secondary again late in the first half when he found senior receiver Ivan McCartney streaking alone down the home sideline. The 45-yard pitch-and-catch gave West Virginia a 17-0 lead with 2:50 remaining before the half.
Georgia State found its only spark of the afternoon early in the third quarter. Running back Travis Evans cut through the line and sprinted up the sideline for a 65-yard touchdown run -- the longest rushing play in the Panthers’ three-year history.
After that, it was all West Virginia once again.
A 23-yard Lambert field goal, a 32-yard touchdown sprint by redshirt senior Charles Sims, and another Childress-to-Shorts/freshman-to-freshman connection put the score at 34-7.
Junior running back Dreamius Smith closed the scoring with a 10-yard touchdown run with 17 seconds remaining.