ALBANY -- Adrian Arango's 35-yard field goal with 1:29 left capped a wild fourth quarter, giving Albany State a 24-22 non-conference football victory over No. 5 Valdosta State Saturday night.
It was the first win for Albany State over Valdosta State in 10 tries, and VSU's first regular-season road loss in Chris Hatcher's four-plus years at Valdosta State.
Both teams scored touchdowns in the last period, Albany State's on a long drive prolonged by a roughing-the-punter penalty.
Antonio Atkins dove in to finish a 12-yard touchdown run. A two-point pass made it 21-14 with 7:56 left.
But VSU answered with its bag of tricks. Clay Callaway completed a 22-yard double-reverse by diving into the end zone. Instead of the game-tying kick, Vincent Brown -- lined up as the holder -- ran in for the two-point conversion. VSU led 22-21 with 5:27 left.
Albany State (2-0) returned the kickoff near midfield, then converted a fourth-and-19 pass to the 19. Four players later, Arango -- who had missed two field goals and had an extra point blocked, got the game winner.
VSU's last drive ended when Zach Parker came up inches short of the down marker on a fourth-down play near midfield.
Valdosta State used two quick-strike plays to take the 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
After the teams traded punts to open the game, VSU scored on three plays. A 13-yard Fabian Walker to Tyler Aurandt pass was enhanced by a 15-yard personal foul penalty against the Rams.
On the next play, Walker threw a swing pass right to Tyran Robinson. He caught the pass behind the line of scrimmage, then ran through the Albany State defense for a 44-yard touchdown. Will Rhody's kick made it 7-0 five minutes into the game.
Albany State turned the first of two blocked punts into its lone first-half score -- eventually. Starting at the VSU 36, and backed up by an illegal block, the Rams got one first down on Uyl Joyner's 16-yard pass to Romeo Montez down to the VSU 14. Antonio Atkins' 4-yard sweep on fourth-and-2 put the ball at the 2. Joyner dived into the end zone two plays later from the 1.
Adrian Arango's kick tied the game at 7-7 with 3:15 left.
Later, Albany State's Edward Harper dropped a fourth-down pass near the VSU 20.
VSU answered on a third-and-1. With Walker checking off at the line, he gave the ball to Robinson. The senior weaved through the Rams' defense, outrunning the last defense to complete the 60-yard run with 9.4 seconds left in the period. Rhody's kick made it 14-7.
Albany State had the best scoring chance in the second quarter after the second blocked put was downed at the VSU 14. Another personal-foul penalty pushed the ball back to the 29.
The Rams got to the 1, but were stopped once and had a procedure penalty on the second play. Stopped at the 5 on the third-down play, ASU had to settle for a field-goal attempt. But Arango's kick from 21 yards failed.
Albany State took the second-half kickoff and drove down the field. A pass interference call and a roughing the passer, which negated a Terrence Bell interception, put the ball at the VSU 24.
Four plays later, Antonio Atkins swept right and went in from 9-yards out. But Arango's extra-point kick was blocked, leaving the game 14-13 VSU with 9:21 left.
Two plays into the fourth quarter, Arango missed a 41-yard field goal when the ball hit the left upright.
VSU opens Gulf South Conference play next Saturday at Ouachita Baptist.
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