Score: #3 Valdosta State 66, #22 Bowie State 16
Records: Valdosta State 11-0, Bowie State 10-3
Location: Valdosta, Ga. (Bazemore-Hyder Stadium)
The Lead: After a sluggish first quarter, the No. 3-ranked Valdosta State football team turned up the heat and outscored No. 22 Bowie State 66-6 from the early moments of the second quarter on, en route to a 66-16 victory Saturday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Division II Football playoffs.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- VSU marched down the field on its opening drive, but stalled with a sack by the Bulldogs and a missed field goal from senior Andrew Gray from 33-yards out wide left.
- On a second and 10, Amir Hall found Gilbert Lunsford for 58-yards and hit Montez Clay for 18 to the VSU four. On 3rd and goal from the eight, Hall found Maurice Williams for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 8:39 left in the first quarter.
- The score marked the first time the opposition scored on its opening drive since the Delta State game on Oct. 6. Also, it was the just the second time all season the opposition scored first.
- The Blazers moved down field once again, but had a fourth and four on the Bowie State 22 as Derrick Tate came up with a nine-yard sack forcing the turnover on downs with 3:46 left in the opening quarter.
- Bowie State moved down the field, once again, but redshirt freshman Jameon Gaskin came up with a 10-yard sack on 3rd and goal from the six, forcing a field goal attempt for a 10-0 Bulldog lead with 13:36 left in the first half.
- Freshman Seth McGill returned the kick 63 yards and redshirt freshman Jamar Thompkins scored from 15-yards out for a 10-7 score just seconds later.
- The McGill return marked the longest of the season by the Blazers.
- Hall started the Bulldogs at their own five and, on 2nd and 10, threw an interception returned for a touchdown by senior Stephen Denmark for the fifth pick-six of the season for the Blazers and a 14-10 lead with 12:51 left in the half. It was Denmark's second pick of the season and the 10th of the season by Hall.
- The VSU "D" got its first three-and-out of the game on the ensuing BSU drive.
- Following a VSU punt, Bowie State started at its own seven after a great punt from senior Gavin Wilson.
- After a BSU punt, VSU picked up a third and two on a Thompkins scamper and a nice pass to junior Darrell Myers set the Blazers up at the BSU 18 with 5:55 left in the half. On a 3rd and goal from the BSU three, sophomore quarterback Rogan Wells called his own number for a score and a 21-10 lead with 4:04 left in the half.
- On 3rd and six from the BSU 18, Hall found Lansana Sesay for 72-yards and a score for a 21-16 VSU lead with 2:42 left in the half as the two-point conversion failed.
- The Blazers forced BSU into a punt on its opening possession of the half and then VSU marched down field with a great 40-yard punt return from freshman Ivory Durham and a nice catch from sophomore Brian Saunds on third down to move the team inside the ten. From there, Wells found senior Joe Fortson for a four-yard strike and a 28-16 lead with 9:09 left in the third.
- The opposition hasn't scored on its first possession of the second half all season, while VSU snapped a four-game streak of not scoring on the opening possession of the second half.
- After a BSU punt, VSU moved down field and settled for a 27-yard field goal from Gray and a 31-16 lead with 4:55 left in the third.
- Saunds set up the ensuing VSU drive with a 46-yard punt return and Wells found junior Lio'undre Gallimore in the end zone for a 33-yard strike for a 38-16 lead with 3:30 left in the third.
- Two huge sacks on thhn n bgtfgvgfve next drive, including fourth down, stopped the Bulldogs at the VSU 48.
- McGill ran in from 12-yards out on a 4th and two for a 45-16 lead with 13:05 left in the game as VSU now has scored 44 or more points in all 11 games this season for the only team in all three NCAA Divisions to do so.
- Durham found freshman Michael Henderson for a 38-yard touchdown and a 52-16 score with 8:57 left and then he hit freshman David White on a 4th and eight for a 59-16 score with 4:31 remaining. It was Henderson's 19th birthday today.
- BSU fumbled the punt on its drive and VSU started at the BSU five. Draining the clock, Durham scored on a fourth and goal with 42 seconds left for a 66-16 score and a season-high points.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- In the first half, VSU tallied 215 yards on 38 plays, with 26 rushes for 133 yards, while Wells was 6 of 12 for 82 yards.
- Thompkins had eight carries for 71 yards and a touchdown, while Wells had 12 carries for 51 yards and touchdown.
- Hall paced the Bulldogs going 11 of 21 for 211 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
- BSU had eight rushes for 11 yards.
- For the game, the Blazers tallied 76 play for 549 yards, while BSU had 58 plays for 310 yards as the Blazer "D" held BSU to just 88 yards in the second half.
- VSU rushed 50 times for 288 yards and the team went 18 of 26 passing for 261 yards and four touchdowns.
- Thompkins paced the team with 71 rushing yards on eight carries for an 8.9 average and a touchdown, while Wells had 15 carries for 64 yards and a rushing score.
- Wells went 12 of 20 for 164 yards and two passing touchdowns, while Durham was a perfect 6 of 6 for 97 yards and two scores. Gallimore had three catches for 87 yards and a score.
- Hall was 20 of 36 for 287 yards, one interception and two touchdowns, while Clay led the way with six catches for 92 yards.
- Defensively, Gaskin had four tackles, 1.5 sacks for 15 yards as junior David Brown paced the team with six tackles. VSU had three sacks for 28 yards and five tackles for loss for 36 yards.
- Bowie State's Derrick Tate had a game-high 12 tackles with two sacks and four tackles for loss.
- VSU moved to 23-12 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
- The Blazers will host the winner of No. 3-seed Lenoir-Rhyne and No. 7-seed Wingate, Sat., Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium in the regional final.
- Tickets for the game will go on sale in the VSU Athletic Ticket Office at 9 a.m. Monday morning, or by calling 229-333-SEAT or online at vstateblazers.com.