Blazers Burn Up Arkansas-Monticello

Valdosta State (8-1, 6-1) spent little time in opening the scoring as the Blazers scored just 57 seconds into the contest. The opening kickoff went out-out of bounds and VSU forced the Boll Weevils (4-6, 3-4) to re-kick, giving the Blazers the ball on the VSU 41. The first play saw the Blazers pick up 15 yards on a pass interference call before a pass to Ronnye Nelson gained seven more yards. Facing a second-and three, Copeland hooked up with Jeffrey Felton on a screen and the senior broke a tackle before racing 37 yards for the score.

Arkansas-Monticello responded right back as it marched 68 yards on eight plays. UAM was aided by 27 yards in penalty yardage by the Blazers, including one penalty that negated an Everett Kitchens interception in the end zone. Lindsey Spinks picked up the touchdown as he took the hand off on an end-around and out-raced the Blazer defense to the left corner of the goal line to tie the score at 7-7.

The Blazers also scored through the air on their second possession to regain a seven-point advantage. The kickoff on the drive hit off of one of VSU's up-men and was recovered by Valdosta State on the UAM 45. Six plays later, Copeland connected with Cedric Jones for a 17-yard scoring strike and a 14-7 VSU lead.

The Boll Weevils again evened the score on their second possession as they marched 64 yards in 4:21 of game clock. Penalties again played a part as the Blazers appeared to get a stop on a third and three, but a pass interference moved the ball to the VSU one, allowing Johnny Polite to plunge in for the score.

A five-play, 58-yard drive that resulted in a Scott Palmer touchdown catch followed on Valdosta State's next drive as the first quarter ended with the Blazers leading 21-14.

Michael Terry upped the VSU lead to 28-14 as he capped off a nine-play, 81-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run with 10:18 to go in the second quarter.

Valdosta State closed out the first half scoring with a 25-yard Copeland-to-Felton scoring strike. Josh Rayam set up the score as he caught a screen pass and broke a tackle to race 41 yards. After an incomplete pass, Copeland hit a diving Felton in the right-corner of the end zone for a 35-14 Blazer halftime lead.

Felton added his third touchdown catch of the night on the Blazers' first play of the second half. VSU forced an Arkansas-Monticello punt on the Boll Weevils' first drive and Sherard Reynolds returned the ball 47 yards to the UAM 15. Copeland proceeded to hit Felton on a slant route for the touchdown and a 42-14 VSU lead.

Copeland threw his sixth touchdown of the night a drive later as he connected with Zach Parker for a 24-yard touchdown before Arkansas-Monticello added their third touchdown of the night on a 44-yard rush by Scott Buisson to establish a 49-21 Valdosta State advantage.

Rashawn Robinson's five-yard touchdown run with 14:43 to go in the game pushed the lead to 56-21 while Polite plunged in from one yard out with 5:12 to go in the game for UAM's final score of the game. Dan Burdette closed out the scoring with a nine-yard run with 1:57 remaining.

Valdosta State passed for a season-high 355 yards in the game, led by 294 by Copeland. The senior quarterback connected on 19-of-27 passes in the game and fell just one touchdown pass shy of the school record of seven. He also moved into fifth place on the VSU career touchdown passing list as he tallied the 46th of his career.

Felton caught four passes for 84 yards and three touchdowns while Jones had four catches for 58 yards and a score. Michael Terry led the rushing attack with 90 yards. Overall, the Blazers tallied 541 yards of total offense, its highest total of the season.

Reynolds registered eight tackles to lead the Blazers while William Montford had seven. VSU, which intercepted four passes in the game, held Arkansas-Monticello, the Gulf South Conference's leading offense in terms of total yards, to just 350 total yards of offense, 126 yards under their season average of 476.8 per game.

Valdosta State returns to action Thursday, November 8 when it plays its regular season finale against West Georgia in Bazemore-Hyder Stadium. The VSU seniors will be honored prior to the game, which is slated for an 8:05 p.m. kickoff, while the Blazers will also honor local members of the military as it holds Moody Air Force Base Military Appreciation Night.

Courtesy of VSU Athletics

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