Blazers Rush by Winston-Salem State 22-17

| September 14, 2014

rp_primary_Kenny_Murphy_prepares_for_the_snapPOWDER SPRINGS, GA – Valdosta State rushed for 229 yards and used an unrelenting pass rush that forced 29 incomplete passes as the 23rd-ranked Blazers defeated No. 12 Winston-Salem State 22-17 Saturday afternoon at Cantrell Stadium.

VSU, which improved to 2-0 with the victory, never trailed in the game as it got on the board on the first play of the second quarter when Jake Medlock scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak. The play topped off an eight-play, 61-yard drive and was capped when Kenny Murphy took the direct snap and ran in for a two-point conversion to put the Blazers in front 8-0.

Winston-Salem State, which fell to 1-1, pulled to within a point four minutes later when Terry Ross intercepted a Kaleb Nobles pass and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown, but the Blazers followed with a 10-play, 70-yard drive that resulted in a Cedric O’Neal three-yard touchdown to push their lead to 15-7 at the half.

The Rams opened the second half with a 21-yard field goal from Alajandro Suarez to pull within five points, but O’Neal again found the end zone on the ensuing Valdosta State drive, this time on a five-yard run that capped off a 12-play, 81-yard drive, for the final VSU points of the game.

WSSU got back to within five points when Marcel Caver caught a 15-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter and appeared to take the lead three drives later when Rudy Johnson scored on a two-yard run, but a holding call on the play negated the touchdown and the Rams failed to gain any points on the drive as Kenny Murphy stripped Johnson of the ball on another running attempt and Tevin Davis fell on the ball to give VSU the ball.

The Blazers failed to gain a first down on the ensuing possession and were forced to punt from their own 21-yard line with just over a minute to play in the game. However, Jake Medlock unleashed a 75 yard punt, the longest punt in Valdosta State history, that was fielded at the WSSU 4 yard line by Sidney Lawson, who tried to spin out of a tackle before being dropped at the Ram two for a loss of two yards on the drive.

Winston-Salem state was able to move to midfield over the final minute, but saw a Phillip Sims pass knocked down by VSU’s Sharmaine Washington at the goal line as time expired.

While the VSU pass rush recorded just two sacks on the evening, it harrassed Sims and Johnson all game as VSU was credited with nine quarterback hurries in the game, including four by Bryson Brindle, who also recorded one of the two sacks. On the game, Sims and Johnson combined to complete just 15-of-44 passes.

Valdosta State finished with 391 yards of total offense as Medlock completed 16-of-27 passes for 162 yards while also carrying the ball 14 times for 76 yards. Austin Scott recorded his seventh career 100-yard rushing game as he finished with 127 yards on 22 carries. Chris Anderson caught six passes for 76 yards to lead the receiving corps.

Murphy and Washington each had 11 tackles to lead the Valdosta State defense.

The Rams had 399 yards of total offense as they passed for 262 and ran for 137.

Valdosta State returns home to Bazemore-Hyder Stadium and plays its second straight game against a ranked opponent as No. 17 Delta State visits to open Gulf South Conference play next Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

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