The Valdosta Daily Times
The Valdosta State football team took over as the top-ranked team in Super Region 2 Monday. Now, the Blazers will sit back for a week and hope they can hold on to the No. 1 ranking through their bye week and into the playoffs.
The final region rankings will be released Sunday evening.
The Blazers' rise to the top of the region was made possible after previous No. 1 Miles and No. 2 West Alabama lost this past weekend.
Following its loss to Tuskegee, Miles dropped to No. 2 in the region, followed by Mars Hill, Carson-Newman, Fort Valley State and Lenoir-Rhyne.
West Alabama, ranked second in last week’s rankings, dropped to No. 7 in the region following its overtime loss to Abilene Christian; UNC-Pembroke is ranked eighth, followed by Albany State and North Alabama.
The top six seeds in the region are awarded playoff berths when the final rankings are released Sunday. The top two teams in the region are awarded bye weeks and won't play until Nov. 24, while the remaining four teams in the region begin play Nov. 17 in the opening round.
If the playoffs were to begin this week, Valdosta State and Miles would be awarded bye weeks, while Mars Hill would host Lenoir-Rhyne and Carson-Newman would host Fort Valley State.
The region rankings will surely change prior to Sunday's final release, as No. 3 Mars Hill visits No. 4 Carson-Newman Saturday; No. 2 Miles faces No. 5 Fort Valley State in the SIAC Championship. Valdosta State is idle and is not guaranteed the region’s top ranking for the
Blazers sweep GSC awards
For the fourth straight week, Valdosta State had players represented in the Players of the Week awards within the Gulf South Conference.
This week, though, the Blazers, now ranked 18th in the latest American Football Coaches' Association Top 25, swept the weekly honors following a 38-31 win over Texas A&M-Kingsville last Thursday night.
Quarterback Cayden Cochran was named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive time; Defensive lineman Tyler Josey was named the Defensive Player of teh Week and kicker Daniel Andersen was named the Special Teams Player of the Week.
Cochran completed 24 of 37 passes for 331 yards in VSU’s win, throwing four touchdowns, including three of at least 44 yards. With his four TDs, Cochran now 19 passing scores this season, the most by a Blazer quarterback since 2008.
Josey earned the Defensive Player of the Week honor for the first time in his career after he caused havoc in the Javelina backfield all night; he tallied six total tackles, four sacks, two quarterback hurries and forced three fumbles in the Blazers’ win on senior night.
Playing in his final home regular season game of his career, Josey’s third forced fumble came in Blazer territory with 3:35 remaining and was recovered by teammate Chris Pope, setting up the winning drive for the Blazers.
Andersen garnered Special Teams Player of the Week honors for the third time in four weeks and for the fifth time in his career. Andersen scored seven points in the game as he connected on all four extra point attempts and converted a 22-yard field goal.
He also averaged 35.8 yards per punt and had two land inside the Kingsville 20-yard line.