Valdosta, GA - No. 20 Valdosta State tallied 561 yards of total offense as the Blazers rolled to a 62-14 victory over visiting Fort Valley State in non-conference football action at Bazemorey-Hyder Stadium Saturday evening.
The win improved VSU to a 1-1 on the season while the Wildcats fell to 1-1.
The Blazers tallied 247 yards rushing in the game and quarterback Graham Craig passed for 314 yards to go along with five touchdowns tosses. Meanwhile, the Blazer defense intercepted five passes on the night, including two by Matt Pierce.
Fort Valley State opened the scoring in the first quarter as Chris Slaughter caught an 80-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline for a 7-0 FVSU lead less than nine minutes into the game. However, the lead was short-lived as three plays later, Valdosta State's Seantavious Jones caught a pass 12 yards from the line of scrimmage and made a defender miss. After the missed tackle, Jones raced to the end zone for a 77-yard touchdown that evened the game with 5:06 to play.
Craig added his second touchdown just two minutes later as he connected with Gerald Ford for the first of three touchdowns, a 36-yarder down the middle. The kick was blocked, but an interception by Isaiah Gresham on the next Wildcat drive gave VSU the ball back quickly in FVSU territory. Four plays later, Craig found Ford for a 12-yard touchdown that gave VSU a 20-7 lead with 14:48 to play in the second quarter.
Craig added a five-yard touchdown run on VSU's next drive before making on of his few mistakes of the night, a pass that was intercepted by Fort Valley State's Jabioas Glenn and returned 36 yards for a touchdown. Cedric O'Neal added a 57-yard run down the VSU sideline with 3:55 to go in the first half to give VSU a 34-14 halftime lead.
Ford and Craig hooked up for a 50-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter before the Blazer signal caller found Regginald Lewis for a 50-yard score to open the fourth. Quin Roberson added an electrifying 94-yard punt return, the longest return in VSU history and the ninth-longest play in school history, while Justin Roberts scored on a 23-yard run with 53 seconds remaining to close out the scoring.
Craig completed 10-of-22 passes in the game and was intercepted twice, but became the first Blazer quarterback to throw for five touchdowns in a game since Willie Copeland passed for six against Arkansas-Monticello on November 3, 2007. Ford caught three of the passes for 152 yards and three scores while O'Neal carried the ball 10 times for 131 yards and a score.
Jeremy Grable led the VSU defense with nine tackles, including an assist on a tackle for loss, and broke up one pass. Matt Pierce intercepted two passes while Lance Holder, Xavier Crain and Gresham had one each.
Fort Valley State tallied 381 yards of total offense, including 171 rushing and 210 passing. Antonio Henton completed 14-of-39 passes for 210 yards, but threw four of the interceptions, and also gained 35 yards on five carries. Leron Furr had nine tackles, including 4.0 for loss, to lead the FVSU defense.
Valdosta State returns to action Saturday, September 15 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern when it travels to Dallas, Texas and Cowboy's Stadium to face Angelo State in the Lone Star Football Festival presented by Firestone.