Courtesy of Valdosta State Athletics
VALDOSTA, Ga. â€“ Daniel Andersen connected on a 42-yard field goal as time expired to lead Valdosta State to a 25-22 victory over visiting Wingate at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium Satuday evening.
Andersenâ€™s kick was set up after Wingate (1-1) drove 85 yards for a touchdown and added a two-point conversion with 48 seconds remaining in the ballgame. Matt Pierce fielded the kickoff and returned it 19 yards to the VSU 48 yard line to give the Blazers (1-0) good field position.
After an incomplete pass to open the deciding drive, Brett Whitmire connected with Ronnye Nelson for a 22-yard pick up that moved the ball to the Bulldog 30. With no time outs remaining, Valdosta State was forced to spike the ball and Whitmire hit Jackson Dean for a five yard pick up. Another spike stopped the clock with 4.3 seconds remaining and allowed the Blazer field goal unit to get on the field for Andersenâ€™s winning kick.
Cody Haffly connected on six-of-nine passes, including the final four of the drive, to move Wingate the 85 yards for the tying score. After an incomplete pass to open the drive, he connected with Delric Ellington for a pair of catches for 15 yards before tossing two more incompletes. The junior then found Ellington for another 16 yard gain and hit Chris Bowden on a pair of passes that covered 11 and 31 yards, respectively, before finding Perry Floyd in the left corner of the end zone for the touchdown.
Ellington added a reception on the two-point try to even the game at 22-22.
Valdosta State took to the ground to open the scoring as the Blazers scored on a pair of rushing plays while jumping out to a 16-0 lead. Nelson capped off a four-play, 71-yard drive with a 53-yard run for the first touchdown on VSUâ€™s first drive of the contest while Michael Brown took a handoff and ran off the right end for a 36-yard score just 1:22 into the second quarter.
After VSU downed a punt inside the Wingate one-yard line, Marcus Nedd tackled Nelson Woods in the end zone to give the Blazers two more points only to have the Bulldogs score two touchdowns in the final 72 seconds to cut their deficit to 16-14 at the half. Bowden caught a 10-yard scoring strike for the score. Valdosta State attempted to kill the clock over the remaining seconds, but Wingate regained the ball with 0.7 seconds remaining and Haffly through a jump ball that Bowden came down with for the second touchdown of the night for WU.
Andersen gave VSU a 19-14 lead with 2:47 remaining in the third quarter as he hit a 32-yard field goal and pushed the Blazer advantage to 22-14 with a 20-yard field goal with 9:15 remaining in the contest.
Valdosta State tallied 430 yards of total offense, including 128 rushing yards and 302 through the air. Whitmire threw for 201 yards as he completed 14-of-23. Fourteen different Blazers caught a pass in the game while Nelson, who tallied three receptions for 49 yards, also picked up 83 yards rushing on 10 carries.
Larry Dean tallied 11 tackles, including one and a half for loss, and broke up a pass to lead the VSU defense on the evening. Pierce, who also returned an interception 11 yards, finished with seven tackles, as did Ryan Smith. Stevie Harden also intercepted a pass and returned it 32 yards.
Wingate tallied 303 yards of total offense, including 268 through the air, but was held to just 35 rushing yards. Haffly completed 26-of-42 passes while Ellington caught 10 passes for 108 yards while Bowden finished with a pair of touchdown catches. Robert Fletcher tallied 11 tackles for the Bulldogs while Terrence Stephens finished with 10.
Valdosta State returns to action next Saturday, September 11 when it travels to Newberry, S.C. to face the Wolves of Newberry College at 6:30 p.m.