Courtesy of Valdosta State Athletics
VALDOSTA, Ga. â€“ Delta State stopped a quarterback sneak on a fourth and one play from its own 14 yard line to preserve a 27-23 victory over Valdosta State in Gulf South Conference action at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium Saturday afternoon.
VSU (2-1) regained possession of the ball with 4:23 to go in the game after a safety and a free kick was returned to the Blazer 32. Three rushes picked up nine yards before Brett Whitmire gained two more on a quarterback keeper on fourth down. A pair of incomplete passes followed before Whitmire found Jackson Dean for 12 yards to move the ball into Statesmen territory. Three plays later, Gerald Ford caught Whitmire pass for 21 yards to move the ball to the DSU 23, forcing a Delta State timeout.
Out of the timeout, David Bailey rushed for three yards and Ronnye Nelson failed to gain any ground on a carry before Kody Case caught a pass for six yards to move the ball to the DSU 14. VSU used its first timeout of the second half to set up the Whitmire run. However, the freshman was stopped just inches shy of the first down marker to force the turnover on downs.
After trailing 14-12 at the half, Delta State (2-1) scored a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter to gain possession of the lead. Valdosta State took the opening kickoff of the second half and moved the ball to midfield before a fumble gave the Statesmen the ball on their own 48. DSU needed just nine plays to march down the field, with Micah Davis connecting with Chance Dennis from seven yards out for the touchdown. VSUâ€™s John Brown blocked the extra point attempt to give the Statesmen an 18-14 lead.
Valdosta State responded two drives later as it marched 63 yards on six plays for its only touchdowns of the second half. After a punt, Nelson gained a yard on first down and two plays later Whitmire and Ford hooked up for a 25-yard gain. A personal foul penalty on the play tacked on 15 more yards for VSU and Nelson gained 14 more on a carry to move the ball to the DSU 10. Two plays later, Austen Roberts threw a shovel pass to Cameo Holloway, who slipped a tackle to pick up the necessary yardage for the score.
DSU quickly answered as it scored the go-ahead touchdown on its second play from scrimmage on the next drive. After a Carlton Ollie carry gained no yardage, Davis hit Dennis over the middle and the wide out broke a tackle before racing 72 yards for the touchdown. Kier Moore blocked the ensuing extra point to keep the score at 24-21.
Delta State added a 24-yard field goal with 9:15 to play in the game before giving the Blazers a safety on a punt from its own one yard line to set up the final VSU drive of the game.
Despite trailing by two at the intermission, the Statesmen controlled much of the first half as they out-gained Valdosta State 170 to 98 and owned a 19:21 to 10:39 over the course of the first 30 minutes of play.
DSU got on the board first in the game as, in the first quarter, it recovered a Blazer fumble on the VSU 29 yard line and moved to within the VSU 3. However, Trevar Deed was dropped for a two yard loss on the ensuing play to lead to a 22-yard field goal by Matt Dean for a 3-0 Delta State lead.
Valdosta State responded on its ensuing drive as it marched 70 yards on 13 plays for a touchdown. Eleven of the 13 plays were on the ground as VSU picked up 53 yards on the ground on the drive. Whitmire gained 21 of the yards on four carries and also completed both of his passes for 12 more yards while Bailey closed out the drive with a six yard run off right guard for the score and a 7-3 Blazer lead.
The Blazers pushed their lead to 14-3 in early in the second quarter as Stevie Harden picked off a Davis pass and raced 55 yards for a touchdown. Delta State would respond on its ensuing drive as it returned the kickoff to the 50 and got a VSU offsides penalty to gain five more yards. Ten plays later, Davis connected with Maurice Smith from 12 yards out to close DSU to within 14-9 as the extra point attempt by Matt Dean sailed wide right.
Matt Dean later added a 20-yard field goal for the Statesmen to close out the first half scoring.
Valdosta State tallied 303 yards of total offense in the game as it rushed for 158 while passing for 145. Whitmire was 14-of-24 for 135 yards and an interception while also gaining 33 yards on the ground. Bailey led the VSU rushing attack with 44 yards while Jackson Dean caught five passes for 42 yards. Larry Dean established a new career-high as he finished with 19 tackles, the sixth-highest single game total in school history. He also forced a fumble and had one quarterback hurry in the game.
Delta State rushed for 111 yards and passed for 275 more as it finished with 386 yards of total offense. Davis completed 27-of-32 passes and threw three touchdowns and one interception. Deed ran for 42 yards while L.J. Castile caught five passes for 55 yards. Jerry Barnes tallied 10 tackles to lead the DSU defense.
Valdosta State returns to action Saturday, September 25 when it travels to Magnolia, Ark. to face Southern Arkansas in GSC play.