The Blazers (10-1) trailed 16-13 at the half before scoring 35-straight points in the second half. The first VSU score of the half came on the frame's opening kickoff, which Valdosta State's Cedric Jones returned 41 yards to the Catawba 45. The Blazers used eight plays to cover the rest of the field, behind the strength of their running game. Michael Terry picked up the first 35 yards on five straight carries before a pass interference call gave VSU a first and goal on the CC nine. Terry and Rashawn Robinson proceeded to pick up two yards each on a pair of carries before Willie Copeland hit Josh Rayam on a five yard slant pass.
After a Cory Darnell 41-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Travis Harrison and returned to the Catawba 32 by Kenneth Hale, VSU upped its advantage to 27-16 as Terry scored from four yards out. The score was set up by an 18-yard Copeland-to-Jones pass and a 10-yard run by Ronnye Nelson.
The Indians (11-2) marched to the VSU 39 on their next drive, but Roger King intercepted a Brad Roach pass on the 10 to end the threat. The Blazers proceeded to march 81 yards on seven plays, scoring as Jones took a pass from Copeland and broke a tackle before racing 27 yards for a 34-16 Blazer advantage.
On the ensuing Catawba drive, Chance Darley intercepted a Roach pass on first down, setting up a 12-play, 60-yard Valdosta State scoring drive that culminated in a 1-yard Scott Palmer dive with 4:07 to go in the game, posting VSU to a 48-16 advantage.
Roach threw a pair of touchdown passes in the final four minutes while Valdosta State back-up quarterback Tucker Pruitt scored on a 12-yard touchdown run.
Valdosta State opened the scoring in the first quarter as Sherard Reynolds scooped up a Grayson Downs fumble less than a minute into the game and raced 34 yards for a touchdown.
Catawba quickly answered as it marched 65 yards in 11 plays to score on a George Bell two-yard touchdown run. Harrison burst through the middle of the line and blocked the extra point attempt.
After a VSU punt, Roach put the Indians on top as he completed a 24-yard pass to Brandon Bunn for a 13-7 CC lead.
VSU gained 23-yard and 31-yard field goals from Zac Williams in the second quarter while Darnell hit a 38-yard attempt for the Indians to give Catawba its three-point halftime advantage.
Terry carried the ball 23 times for 139 yards, including 108 in the second half, to lead the Blazers. Overall, the Blazers tallied 285 yards rushing while Copeland completed 16-of-29 passes for 171 yards. Jones led the VSU receiving corps with five catches for 76 yards.
Everett Kitchens returned from an injury that had sidelined him for three full weeks to tally a game and career-high 17 tackles, including 11 solo tackles. Michael Cullen finished with 10 tackles for the Blazer defense, which limited the Indians to just 74 second half yards prior to Catawba's final two scoring drives.
Roach completed 19-of-32 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns while Bell tallied 74 yards on 16 carries. Catawba registered 413 yards in total offense, but was hampered by four turnovers in the game.
Charles McAfee led the Catawba defense with 14 tackles while three Indians finished with eight stops each.
Valdosta State, the Southeast Region's No. 1 seed, returns to action next Saturday, December 1 when it hosts No. 2 North Alabama in the regional finals. The game is slated for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff in Bazemore-Hyder Stadium. Tickets for the event go on sale Monday, November 26 at 9:00 a.m. VSU season ticket holders have until Thursday, November 29 at Noon to claim their season seats for the game. Ticket prices for the game will be $15 for reserved seats, $10 for general admission and $4 for students and youths.