Valdosta, GA - Valdosta State tallied 624 yards of total offense, the fifth-highest total in school history, as the Blazers defeated Delta State 59-41 in Gulf South Conference football action at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The win improved VSU to 6-2 on the season and 3-1 in GSC play while Delta State fell to 3-4 and 1-2 in league action.
The two teams combined for 1,079 total yards of offense as Delta State tallied 455 in the contest. VSU compiled 212 rushing yards and 412 passing yards against the Statesmen defense, which entered the contest allowing just 305.5 yards a game, 20th best in the nation. Meanwhile, Delta State rushed for 115 yards and passed for 340 more.
The offensive fireworks started early as on the third play from scrimmage in the game, Cayden Cochran connected with Seantavious Jones for a 74-yard touchdown pass to put VSU in front. However, DSU quickly answered as on its first play of the game, Trevor Wooden found Patrick Bethley down the middle for a 75-yard touchdown that knotted the game at 7-7.
After a missed field goal by Delta State on its second possession, Daniel Andersen put VSU back in front with a 49-yard field goal, only to have Wooden find Bethley three plays later for a 59-yard scoring strike that gave the Statesmen a 14-10 lead with 3:07 to play in the first quarter.
On the ensuing Blazer drive Cochran found Regginald Lewis over the middle for a 58-yard scoring pass and then hooked up with Jones for another touchdown pass five minutes into the second quarter. The tandem recorded their third touchdown connection five minutes later to push the Valdosta State advantage to 31-14, only to have Brant Botill rush for a one-yard touchdown with just over a minute to play in the half to establish a 31-20 VSU halftime lead.
Cochran capped off a 42-yard scoring drive with a one-yard plunge on the first Valdosta State possession of the second half to give the Blazers an 18-point cushion, only to have Delta Stat score on its next three possessions to claim a 41-38 lead with 4:42 to go in the third quarter.
The Statesmen lead was short-lived as Cochran and Jones hooked up for the fourth time in the game with 2:37 to go in the third to put the Blazers back in front while Cedric O'Neal tallied a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown runs to close out the scoring.
Jones tied a Valdosta State record with his four touchdown receptions while catching nine passes for 210 yards, the third-highest receiving total in Blazer history. O'Neal added 160 rushing yards on 33 carries while Lewis caught seven passes for 95 yards and Gerald Ford had 93 yards on six receptions. Cochran completed 25-of-36 passes in the game, including a career-best five touchdowns, and also rushed for 30 yards.
Jeremy Grable led the Valdosta State defense with 10 tackles, including a sack, while Matt Pierce broke up two passes to move into second place on the VSU career pass deflections list with 29. The Blazer Black Swarm defense also recorded three interceptions in the game while sacking Wooden twice.
Wooden completed just 14-of-34 passes, but passed for all 340 yards by the Statesmen while adding four touchdown passes while also rushing for 40 yards. Bethley had two catches for 134 yards while Erick Clayton added 84 more yards on three catches.
Valdosta State returns to action Thursday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m. when it travels to Shorter for its final Gulf South Conference game of the year. The game will be carried live on television as part of the GSC TV Game of the Week package.