Blazer Defense Comes Up Big Late for 21-16 Victory at Albany State

VSU Blazers host the Shorter Hawks on Saturday at 7 P.M.
VSU Blazers host the Shorter Hawks on Saturday at 7 P.M.(Source: WALB)
Published: Sep. 10, 2023 at 12:15 AM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. – The Valdosta State defense came up with two huge sacks from redshirt freshman Tyler Morehead on the final drive of the game as the Valdosta State football team won 21-16 at Albany State Saturday evening in front of a crowd of over 4,000 people. 

VSU improved to 2-0 on the year and won its fourth-straight game in the series against the Golden Rams, improving to 21-2 all-time against ASU.  The Golden Rams fell to 0-2 on the year. Trailing 21-16, the Golden Rams took over at their own seven-yard line with 2:41 remaining, following an outstanding punt from freshman Noah Botsford, who had five punts for a 41.4 average for the game.

ASU quarterback Isaiah Knowles hit Rashad Jordan for 32 yards, but a holding penalty on ASU negated the gain. Knowles later hit Javion Jackson for 16 yards to the VSU 45 and then Knowles called his own number for an 18-yard scamper to the VSU 18. 

Morehead came up with his first sack with 29 seconds left and then, on third and 13 from the VSU 21 and six seconds to go, Morehead rushed Knowles again and sacked him for a 16-yard loss as time expired. On a night where the Blazer passing game was a tad off, the running game was solid to the tune of 285 yards on the ground on 42 attempts for a 6.8 average per carry, while the Blazers passed for just 79 yards. 

VSU outgained the Golden Rams 364 to 268, while the defense held ASU to 14 first downs, 71 yards on the ground and 197 through the air.  VSU had 21 first downs for the game. Blazer junior newcomer Eric Watts had 11 carries for 123 yards and a rushing touchdown, while sophomore Isaiah Flowers had 17 carries for 95 yards and two rushing scores. 

Junior quarterback, Sammy Edwards was 10 of 16 passing for 79 yards and one interception, while he had ten carries for 53 yards on the ground.  Defensively, the Blazers were led by sophomore Terrell Dudley with nine total tackles, while the team recorded four sacks for 26 yards and six tackles for loss for 36 yards.  It was the second-straight week VSU’s “D” held the opposition to under 300 yards of total offense. 

The Blazers methodically moved right down the field on the opening possession as Flowers scampered for 19 yards on the first play from scrimmage and Edwards used a 19-yard run on second and 10 from the ASU 44, followed by a personal foul on the Golden Rams.  VSU then moved inside the ten as Flowers took it in from two yards out for a 7-0 lead with 10:39 left in the first quarter. ASU competed a third and six, but a big tackle for loss on third and from the ASU 46 by junior Jay Hinkle stymied the Golden Rams’ opening drive.  VSU then moved with ease from its own 18 aided by a great run from Watts for 31 yards and a personal foul penalty. 

The Blazers had a chance to get off the field, but Knowles hit Jackson for exactly nine yards on a fourth and nine from the ASU 49 to keep the drive going.  He then found Jordan for 28 yards and a score, but the two-point conversion failed.  Bonneau threw one touchdown pass, going 9 of 15 for 95 yards, while Knowles was 7 of 14 for 102 yards and a score.  Jordan had six catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns.

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