VSU Football Weekly Preview: The West Alabama Game

| November 4, 2016


VALDOSTA – The Valdosta State Blazers enter the ninth week of the season against a red-hot West Alabama program, and VSU’s hopes of extending the year beyond regular season play are riding on the contest. In fact, Head Coach Kerwin Bell has referred to it as the Blazers’ first playoff game of the year.

Success for Valdosta State on the road has been a challenge thus far this season, particularly when it comes to the running game. The Blazers have allowed an average of 253.3 rushing yards per game on the road this year. In contrast, opponents have only been able to muster an average of 125.5 rushing yards per contest. Look for the Blazers to try and channel that home run-defense success in Livingston, Ala. this weekend.

Valdosta State will also look to contain Austin Grammer, the league’s second best passer, and his season average of over 300 passing yards per contest. UWA’s gunslinger against the Blazer secondary will be an interesting matchup, pitting VSU’s league-leading total of 18 interceptions against Grammer’s accuracy, which has resulted in just four interceptions in 355 attempts on the year.

Despite FIT’s rushing effort last week, the Blazer defense delivered two scores and was nearly enough to lift VSU over the Panthers last week in Melbourne. The Black Swarm will aim to keep that momentum going this weekend, and the Blazer offense will aim to return to a form that has led VSU to an average of nearly 35 points per contest.

One of the longest running series in Valdosta State history, the Blazers owns a 31-4 advantage over the Tigers in 34 games. After VSU dominated the series for many years, during which Valdosta State won 27 of the first 28 meetings, West Alabama evened things as of late with a near even split over the last seven meetings. In the two team’s most recent matchup, Valdosta State ran away with a 55-28 victory on the Blazers’ home turf at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium. In Livingston, the Blazers hold a 13-3 advantage over the Tigers.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. EST, with a live video stream, courtesy of ESPN3. Links for all forms of coverage are available below and on the main event page at www.vstateblazers.com.

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