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Wyoming wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt (19) dives for a touchdown after catching a scrambling pass from quarterback Levi Williams (15) Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019 at the University of Arizona. The Wyoming Cowboys lead the Georgia State Panthers 24-10 at halftime in the Arizona Bowl. Nadav Soroker/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

TUCSON, Ariz. — Making his first-career start, UW true freshman quarterback Levi Williams scored four total touchdowns, including three through the air in the first half, as a Cowboy offense that had been stagnant in recent weeks exploded against Georgia State in the Arizona Bowl. The Cowboys defeated the Panthers 38-17 in front of an announced 36,892 fans at the University of Arizona's Arizona Stadium. UW's eight wins in 2019 are tied for the most the program has had in a season since 2011, and the Cowboys' 38 points were the most scored since putting up 53 against UNLV in late September.

Williams’ three touchdown passes were the most by a Wyoming quarterback in a game this season. UW (8-5) signal callers had thrown just 8 touchdowns in 2019, with seven of those coming from redshirt freshman Sean Chambers, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in late October. Williams' 234 passing yards were also the most passing yards in a game by any combination of UW quarterbacks. 

Redshirt sophomore running back Xazavian Valladay was named the game's offensive MVP after racking up a career-high 291 total yards and two touchdowns. Senior safety Alijah Halliburton was named defensive MVP after collecting 11 tackles and an interception.

Georgia State (7-6) scored on its first drive of the game in a mere two minutes following the opening kickoff, seemingly moving the ball at will against a normally stout Cowboys defense. Panthers quarterback Dan Ellington, playing on a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), gashed UW’s run defense for 45 yards on the drive, capping it off with a touchdown run.

Following the opening drive, however, it was all Wyoming, as the Cowboys capitalized on first half Georgia State mistakes. Williams threw touchdowns following a fourth-down stop by the defense and a roughing the punter penalty. Williams’ third touchdown pass of the first half followed the personal foul and was his most electric. Under pressure, Williams rolled to his right and threw up a prayer down the sideline to junior wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt. Eberhardt made a leaping catch, broke several tackles and cut across the field for the 51-yard score with just 32 seconds left in the second quarter.

Wyoming's top-20 scoring defense shut down Georgia State's normally prolific offense to just 17 points and 355 total yards. The Panthers entered Tuesday's game averaging more than 36 points per game and were held to 1 of 4 on fourth down attempts.

Michael Katz is a writer for WyoSports. He can be reached by email at mkatz@wyosports.net. Follow him on Twitter at @MichaelLKatz.

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