VALDOSTA, Ga. -- The Valdosta State offense outgained the Albany State offense 436 to 265 as the Blazers defeated the Golden Rams 41-3 Saturday evening in Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.
The Blazers picked up 208 yards rushing while tallying 228 through the air as they opened their 2007 season with a victory, the ninth time in the last 10 years that they had done so.
VSU opened the scoring on its first drive as it drove 54 yards in 10 plays to gain a Zac Williams 23-yard field goal. After a sack to open the drive, Willie Copeland picked up 25 yards on the ground and proceeded to find Jeffrey Felton for a 16-yard pick-up and Josh Rayam for 14 more yards. Facing a first-and-goal from the Albany State six-yard line, Copeland saw three passes fall incomplete, forcing the Williams field goal for a 3-0 Valdosta State lead.
ASU used some trickery on its first possession to move into field goal position, only to have Blazer Larry Dean block a Tory Torstenson kick. On the first play of the drive, quarterback Kisan Flakes handed off to running back Brian Porter, who then pitched the ball back to Flakes. Flakes found Nick Kyles wide open for a 58-yard gain that moved the Golden Rams to the VSU 19 yard line. Three rushes tallied nine yards before a false start backed the ball up to the Blazer 15, setting up Dean's block.
The Valdosta State offense continued to roll on its next possession as they marched 80 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown. Copeland completed five-of-six passes on the drive while picking up 66 yards through the air, including the final three on a completion to Felton for the score.
Albany State responded with a 16-play, 63-yard drive for its only points of the night. Flakes carried the ball for 35 yards on the drive and threw for another 16 to move the Golden Rams to the VSU four-yard line. Facing a fourth and goal, Torstenson connected on a 21-yard field goal to slice the Blazer lead to 10-3.
Valdosta State was forced to punt on its next drive before the game was halted for an hour and 50 minutes due to lightning. After the delay, VSU forced an Albany State punt and moved to the Golden Ram nine yard line before Williams added his second field goal of the evening.
A pair of interceptions set up VSU's next two touchdowns. Maurice Leggett's interception gave the Blazers the ball on the VSU 33 before the Blazers marched 67 yards in just eight plays and 2:53 of game clock to go up 20-3 while Everett Kitchens' pick on the ASU 47 allowed Copeland to find Scott Palmer for a 17-yard touchdown with 1:36 remaining in the half.
The Valdosta State special teams unit got in on the scoring in the third quarter when Travis Taylor blocked a Randy Allen punt. Shawn Harris scooped up the block and raced 25-yard for the touchdown to up the VSU lead to 34-3.
Thomas Arnold closed out the scoring when he took a handoff from Tucker Pruitt and raced 18-yards for a score with 10:33 to go in the game.
Copeland completed 18-of-29 passes in the game for 220 yards while Michael Terry carried the ball nine times for 74 yards. Ten different Blazers caught a pass in the game, led by Cedric Jones with five for 49 yards while Felton finished with four catches for 56 yards.
Besides the two interceptions, the VSU defense finished with six sacks in the game and 10 total tackles for loss. Sherard Reynolds led the Blazers with nine tackles while Michael Cullen had seven.
Flakes picked up 18 yards on the ground and completed six-of-14 passes for 106 yards. LiRonnie Davis carried the ball 13 times for 54 yards and Kyles finished with two receptions for 68 yards. Brian Richardson led the ASU defense with 15 tackles while Ryan Davis had 12 and Roderick Cummings 10.
Valdosta State returns to action Saturday, September 8 when it travels to Fort Valley, Ga. to face Fort Valley State at 5:00 p.m. in Wildcat Stadium.