Blazers Rebound against Mississippi College

| October 18, 2015

Valdosta State Football

VALDOSTA – The Blazers of Valdosta State football secured their first Gulf South Conference victory on Saturday, and did so with a rousing 34-7 win over Mississippi College on a beautiful afternoon.

The triumph snapped a two-game skid for Valdosta State and lifted the Blazers to a 4-2 overall record, 1-2 in GSC action. Meanwhile, the Mississippi College Choctaws fell to 2-4 overall and 0-3 in conference play.

Head Coach David Dean’s squad blew by the Choctaws with a balanced attack that led to 450 total offensive yards, 294 of which came from the combined passing performance of EJ Hilliard and Roland Rivers. In addition, five different players tallied double-digit yardage on the ground en route to a 156 rushing yards on the day.

Mississippi College took the opening possession and was forced to punt after three plays, which set the stage for one of Valdosta State’s biggest offensive plays of the day. Following a pass play and a rush that both included running back Cedric O’Neal, Hilliard took a snap from center David May at the VSU 26-yard line before launching a pass deep down the right side to hit Greg Dent in stride for a 74 touchdown pass. The reception marked the longest of the season for Dent, up to that point, and gave the Blazers an early 7-0 lead after Andrew Gray connected for the extra point.4702

After trading a pair of punts, Mississippi College began what appeared to be a threatening drive late in the first quarter. The Choctaws reeled off ten plays over the course of nearly six minutes, before Choctaw quarterback Kyle Smith coughed up the football at the VSU 24-yard line. After the fumble, a heads-up play by Cooper Lemonds resulted in his first of two fumble recoveries on the day.

The Blazers pulled within striking distance twice in the second quarter, thanks in part to Peter Tulloch’s second interception of the season, but a pair of missed field goals allowed MC to stay close. Rivers helped VSU regain momentum, however, when he came on late in the half to lead the Blazers 68 yards in one minute. With eight seconds to go, Rivers capped off the impressive drive with an 11-yard laser into the end zone for a touchdown completion to Donovan Bolden, one of two for Bolden on the day.

Working with a 14-0 advantage in the second half, Dent topped his previous 74-yard reception with a 75-yard catch that put the Blazers at the MC 1-yard line. The Choctaw defense held momentarily and forced a 4th-and-goal situation, but O’Neal helped the Blazers capitalize on the opportunity with a short carry that put VSU on top 21-0.

Rivers, a red-shirt freshman who racked up 197 passing yards on the day, added to his effort in the second half with a sparkling 19-yard carry into the end zone, along with another hook-up with Bolden for a 16 touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Led by sophomore Dante Robinson, who tallied a career-high eight tackles on the day, the black swarm allowed the Choctaws just one scoring drive that consisted of 74 yards on 12 plays in the fourth quarter.

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