CONWAY, Ark. -- The "commando raid" is supposed to be a work of efficiency.
Fly in. Play ball. Fly out. All in a day's work. It's a common practice for the Valdosta State football team when it travels to the far reaches of the Gulf South Conference.
Saturday, the No. 2 Blazers were very efficient. Running 26 less plays than No. 11 Central Arkansas, VSU outgained the Bears, 503 yards to 348, in claiming a 35-11 Gulf South Conference victory before an announced crowd of 5,305 at Estes Stadium.
The result capped a wacky day in the Gulf South Conference which ended with the Blazers (5-0 Gulf South, 7-0 overall) the lone team atop the conference. Harding lost its first game, 29-8, at Henderson State, leaving Harding and Southern Arkansas, a 30-10 winner at Delta State, a game back of VSU at 4-1. UCA, Henderson State and Ouachita Baptist, a 23-21 winner at Arkansas-Monticello, are at 3-2.
VSU won its 23rd-straight regular-season game, a new conference record. North Alabama won 22 from 1993-1996. The Blazers' 19 straight conference wins is two short of UNA's mark.
"Today the guys were a little more focused than normal," said VSU head coach Chris Hatcher. "Our guys should have learned that if they go out and do the best they can they can whip anybody."
Aaron Jenkins ran for 204 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown, while Buster Faulkner overcame two early interceptions to finish 16-of-23 for 289 yards and three scores, plus a running touchdown. Reggie Mosley caught six passes for 177 yards and a score.
And the Black Swarm defense answered the challenge of one of the nation's top offenses, limited UCA to its lowest-scoring output since head coach Clint Conque brought his high-powered offense to Conway in 2000.
"Today we were more physical than Central Arkansas. Our defense played unbelievable," Hatcher said. "Offensively we were able to pound them and wear them down.
"We beat a good football team today and we beat them badly."
VSU turned a 14-3 halftime lead into a 28-3 advantage by mixing the run with the pass.
On the second drive of the third quarter, VSU used five running plays to go from the VSU 30 to the UCA 37. Then Faulkner scrambled right and found Jenkins, who sprinted into the end zone for the touchdown. Will Rhody's kick made it 21-3 with 9:23 left.
In the fourth quarter, after a Mosley punt return was called back due to penalty, ran five-straight plays before a VSU holding penalty.
But from the UCA 46, Faulkner's downfield pass was juggled and caught by Mosley at the UCA 7. On the next play, Faulkner's fade pass was caught by Mosley end the end zone. Rhody's kick made it 28-3 with 11:01 left.
The teams traded scores to end the game.
UCA (3-2, 5-2) took nine plays inside the VSU 10 to score. While UCA had one touchdown called back because of an ineligible man downfield, VSU lost a Ced Dickerson interception on a pass interference call and got two extra first downs because of penalty.
On the ninth play, reserve quarterback Henry Young ran in from the 2.
VSU took a short punt and ran Jenkins five times. He scored from the 10 with 44 seconds left.
The Blazers took the 14-3 halftime lead despite both teams missing chances.
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