Blazers Extend Streak With 56-27 Win Over Delta State

| October 24, 2016

vsu-football-2016

VALDOSTA – The Valdosta State football team used a stellar special teams effort and a dominant defensive second half to upend Delta State and pick up a 56-27 Gulf South Conference victory on Saturday afternoon during homecoming weekend at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium in Valdosta, Ga.

After a 10-yard passing touchdown from Roland Rivers to Dallas Baldneron Valdosta State’s first drive of the contest, and a follow-up touchdown run by Rivers just two drives later, the Blazer offensive attack went cold throughout the rest of the first half.

Valdosta State’s special teams unit was there to pick up the slack, however, beginning with an 84-yard touchdown return byDonatello Brown after a blocked field goal attempt by the Statesmen late in the first quarter. Facing a 14-7 deficit, DSU drove the ball all the way down to the VSU three yard line. The Black Swarm stood tall to deny the Statesmen in the red zone, and Cody Mills’ blocked attempt resulted in a 10-point swing in Valdosta State’s favor and a 21-7 lead for the Blazers.

Delta State used a couple of big yardage plays and a series of defensive stands to climb back into the contest for a 21-21 tie, but Gary Simon added his touch of excitement to the contest and swayed momentum back in VSU’s favor late in the second half with a 70-yard punt return for a Blazer touchdown. The return for Simon marked his first touchdown of the season and represented the first touchdown punt return for the Blazers since Willie Downs returned a kick 62 yards on October 5, 2013 against Florida Tech. The return yardage on the aforementioned accounted for nearly half of Simon’s 142 yards on punt returns in the contest, a total which also marked the fourth-most all-time for a Valdosta State player in a single game.

With only one possession separating the two teams at the start of the second half, each team was blanked throughout the entirety of the third quarter. The final frame was a different story, however, as the Blazer offense came alive for 28 points with the help of some big defensive stops and an interception that Raymond Palmer returned 89 yards early in quarter.

Adam Robles provided relief for Rivers at the quarterback position late in the contest and was extremely effective. The sophomore threw for two touchdown passes and 119 passing yards on seven completions in 12 attempts. In addition, Jordan Germany fueled the Blazers run game with 58 rushing yards, and Cedric Hollingshed capped off a pair of Blazer drives for two touchdowns in the game.

With the win, the Blazers improved to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in GSC play, while the Statesmen fell to 4-4 overall and 3-3 in GSC action.

Valdosta State returns to the road next weekend for a 7:00 p.m. GSC matchup against the Florida Tech Panthers in Melbourne, Fla.

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