SETTING THE SCENE
The No. 2 Blazers continue on the road this week as they travel to Clinton, Miss., for a 3 p.m. ET matchup with Mississippi College. The Blazers (6-0, 3-0 GSC) are coming off a 42-17 victory at then-No. 10 West Alabama on Saturday, in a game where VSU trailed for the first time all season midway through the first quarter. After UWA scored the first two touchdowns, VSU outscored the Tigers 42-3 the rest of the way. VSU amassed over 500 yards of total offense for the third-straight game and tossed for a season-high 341 passing yards. MC (3-3, 2-2 GSC) scored 13 points in the third quarter to break a 7-7 tie at Shorter on Saturday for a 20-7 victory to get the Choctaws back to .500 both overall and in league play. MC had over 200 yards on the ground, running for two scores and tossing one.
The Gulf South Conference signed a league-wide, four-year agreement with FloSports to broadcast all GSC football games beginning this fall. With this new GSC package, all VSU football livestream broadcasts will be available exclusively through FloSports. Fans can purchase a monthly membership for $19.99 or an annual subscription for $150 ($12.50/month). The yearly membership is a saving of nearly $90. Subscribe to FloSports at www.flosports.tv/gulfsouth. The membership will include:
Access to livestream broadcasts of ALL GSC football playing institutions
Access to FloSports' weekly GSC Football studio show
Access to FloSports produced features on GSC student-athletes
Access to GSC championship tournament game broadcasts
Access to other FloSports broadcasts
THIS WEEK IN THE GSC
Looking into the four games in the GSC this week, VSU, the reamining unbeaten team in the league, travels to Mississippi College, while West Florida hosts Shorter (5 p.m. ET), Delta State travels to West Alabama (5 p.m. ET) and North Greenville visits West Georgia (6 p.m.). This marks the second-straight day game for the Blazers as the team will have three day games this season. The remaining day game is Homecoming on Nov. 6 at 3 p.m. versus North Greenville. Blazers head coach Gary Goff is 2-1 now in day games at VSU.
CALLING TODAY'S GAME
TALK 92.1 FM will broadcast the Blazer games all season long with Spencer Van Horn and Wade Beale having the call of the games. Fans also can access the broadcast at www.talk921.com.
INSIDE THE SERIES WITH MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE
The Blazers lead the all-time series with Mississippi College 11-8-1 and have won the last ten meetings, including a 42-17 victory on Oct. 5, 2019, in Valdosta. The Blazers are 4-4-1 in Clinton, Miss., all-time and have gone 4-0-1 in the past five meetings there. In the last meeting in Clinton, VSU posted the most points all-time in a game in the series (63) and the teams combined for the most points (105) as VSU won 63-42 on Sept. 29, 2018.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BLAZERS
The Blazers trailed for the first time all season as UWA scored on its first two drives of the game on Saturday, racking up 141 yards of offense as VSU entered the game the last remaining team in Division II who had not trailed all season. The Blazers calmly settled down and scored touchdowns on the next two possessions to tie the game at 14 through the first quarter. VSU then took the lead for good early in the second quarter on the second touchdown grab from graduate student Lio'undre Gallimore for a 21-14 lead. UWA cut the deficit to 21-17 with a field goal, but junior quarterback Ivory Durham hit graduate student Brian Saunds for 59-yards and a score for a 28-17 lead with 1:38 left in the half. VSU scored a touchdown on the ground in the third and then junior Taurus Dotson scored on a INT return of 47-yards for the 42-17 margin. VSU recorded over 500 yards of offense for the third-straight game and fourth time this season with 504 yards, while it threw for a season-high 341 yards. Durham went 21 of 31 passing for 341 yards and three touchdowns, marking career-highs in completions, attempts, passing yards and tied his season-high in touchdowns thrown. Defensively, the Blazers made great adjustments after the first two drives by the Tigers. UWA finished the first half with 271 yards of offense. VSU held UWA to just 58 yards of offense in the second half. Saunds finished with nine catches for 168 yards and a score, while Gallimore had four catches for 79 yards and two scores. Both junior running backs Jamar Thompkins and Seth McGill had rushing touchdowns. Dotson's pick-six marked the fourth defensive touchdown of the season for VSU.
SAUNDS EARNS GSC CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Valdosta State graduate student wide receiver Brian Saunds earned GSC Co-Player of the Week honors this week after a season-high nine catches for 168 yards and a touchdown in the Blazers' come-from-behind victory at No. 10 West Alabama. Saunds earned GSC Player of the Week honors for the second time in his career and he is the sixth different Blazer to earn weekly honors this season.
33 WINNING SEASONS
With the victory on Saturday at West Alabama, the Blazers now have clinched their 33rd winning seasons in the 39-year history of football at VSU. The Blazers are 310-127-4 all-time and have had 21-straight winning seasons dating back to 2000.
The Blazers enter Saturday's contest winners of 27-straight regular season games dating back to a 52-0 victory at Shorter on Nov. 11, 2017. The last regular season loss for VSU came at the hands of West Alabama in Valdosta on Nov. 4, 2017. The Blazers also have won 20-straight regular season GSC games dating back to 2017. Since the Shorter win to close the 2017 season, VSU has won 31 of its last 32 games and has won 34 of 36 dating back to the final five games of 2017. From the Shorter game in 2017 through the heartbreaking 38-35 loss to West Florida in the NCAA Second Round in 2019, VSU set a GSC record for consecutive victories with 25.
TRHOUGH THE AIR AND ON THE GROUND
Against Delta State, VSU put up a season-high 401 yards on the ground in the 55-0 shutout of the Statesmen, while past Saturday VSU threw for a season-high 341 yards. The Blazers have recorded 500 or more yards four times this season and in each of its last three games. The Blazers are third nationally in total offense at 493.5 yards per game, while they are fifth nationally in rushing offense at 258.8 yards per game for second in the GSC, just behind Mississippi College at 274.5 yards per game.
FIRST IN THE NATION
The Blazers have been outstanding this season in the national statistics as they lead the nation in Red Zone Defense at a 0.400 clip. In the last two games, the opposition has gone a combined 2 for 6. Individually, senior defensive back Mondrell Jefferson leads the nation in fumble recoveries with four.
ONLY TRAILED 8:30
The Blazers were the last team in NCAA Division II to trail in a game this season as UWA scored two touchdowns in the first quarter Saturday. The Blazers trailed for 8:30 in the game as they quickly erased the deficit with two scores in a span of 2:33 seconds late in the first quarter to tie the game. From the moment it was 14-0 UWA with 8:14 left in the first quarter, VSU outscored the Tigers 42-3 the rest of the way for a 42-17 victory.
...AND THEN THERE WERE FIVE
Being the month of Halloween, it's only fitting there was a lot of red in the AFCA Division II Top 25 on Saturday as eight teams in the top 25 lost, including the top two teams in the country in then-No. 1 West Florida and then-No. 2 Northwest Missouri State. Moreover, eight previously undefeated teams lost and a total of seven teams in the top ten lost. VSU moved from fourth to second this week in the AFCA Top 25 and from third to second in the D2Football.com Top 25.
VSU is fourth nationally in turnovers lost (4) for tops in the GSC. Indiana (Pa.) leads the nation with just two lost turnovers, while the Blazers are 42nd nationally and second in the GSC in turnovers gained (13). VSU is sixth nationally and tops in the league in turnover margin at 1.5 per game. VSU has five interceptions for the season and eight fumble recoveries.
The Blazers recorded their fourth defensive touchdown this season with a 47-yard pick-six in the third quarter at West Alabama on Saturday by junior defensive back Taurus Dotson. The Blazers are fourth nationally in defensive touchdowns as Bowie State leads the nation with six. VSU has two fumble recoveries for touchdowns from Mondrell Jefferson and pick-six interceptions from graduate transfer Christian Matthew (Oct. 2 vs. Shorter) and Dotson on Saturday. Senior defensive lineman Arrington Dulin also has a safety this season in the season-opener against Savannah State (Sept. 4).
Junior running back Seth McGill has been a strong part of a two-headed running attack this season for the Blazers. He is second nationally and tops in the GSC in rushing yards per carry at a blistering 7.76 average, while he is tied with UWA's Demetrius Battle for tops in the GSC in rushing touchdowns with six which is good for 36th nationally. McGill leads the GSC in rushing yards (605) and rushing yards per game (100.8), which are good for 36th and 23rd, respectively, nationally. McGill hit the 2,000 career yard mark on Saturday as he now has played in 31 games with five starts, while recording 2,000 career rushing yards on 318 carries and 29 rushing touchdowns. He has 49 catches for 379 yards and one receiving score, while recording 2,768 all-purpose yards. McGill is eighth in school history in career rushing yards, while his 29 rushing touchdowns puts him fourth all-time in school history. McGill has 30 total touchdowns total for 180 points and needs just 18 points to break into the top ten all-time in school history. Against Delta State on Oct. 9, McGill ran for a career-high 190 yards and a score as the 190 yards marked the tenth-most rushing yards in a game by a Blazer in school history.
THOMPKINS MOVING UP
Just as McGill has had a solid start to the season, so has Jamar Thompkins as he has 63 carries for 449 yards and five rushing touchdowns, while averaging 7.1 yards per carry. He has 25 rushing touchdowns for his career to tie for fifth all-time in school history with former Blazer quarterback Rogan Wells. Thompkins' 2,728 career yards are good for seventh all-time in school history. He needs 287 yards to tie Austin Scott (2012-15) for sixth all-time with 3,015 yards. Thompkins has 324 career carries and has 30 catches for 268 yards and two touchdown receptions, while he has 12 kick returns for 307 yards. Thompkins has 3,303 all-purpose yards in 31 games played and 24 starts. This season, Thompkins is third in the GSC rushing touchdowns (5), while he is third in rushing yards (449) and fourth in rushing yards per game (74.8).
Graduate student Brian Saunds, who was named GSC Co-Offensive Player of the Week this week, has had an outstanding career for the red and black as he has played in 40 games with 31 starts for his career. Saunds has 136 receptions for 2,250 yards and 24 touchdown receptions. He has 54 punt returns for 556 yards and one kick return for 30 yards. Saunds also is 2 for 2 in passing for ten yards and a touchdown. His 2,250 receiving yards are good for seventh all-time in program history, while his 24 receiving touchdowns also are good for seventh at VSU tied with current teammate Lio'undre Gallimore. Saunds averages 10.3 yards per punt return for eighth all-time in school history.
BIG GRAB GALLIMORE
Graduate student Lio'undre Gallimore has had a heck of a career for the Blazers as he has played in 36 games with 31 starts, while recording 113 receptions for 2,193 yards and 24 receiving touchdowns. He has 10 kick returns for 345 yards and one touchdown, while recording 2,525 all-purpose yards for his career. Gallimore's 2,193 yards receiving are good for eighth in program history. He had his first career kick return for a touchdown against Delta State (Oct. 9, 2021). Gallimore is 13th nationally this season in receiving touchdowns to lead the league (8), while he is second in the GSC and 54th nationally in receiving yards (508) and is averaging 84.7 yards per game for third in the league and 38th nationally. Gallimore is second in the GSC in all-purpose yards at 123.0 per game, while he is second in the GSC in total points scored (54) and first in scoring at 9.0 per game for 18th nationally. Gallimore's nine total touchdowns this season is 19th nationally and tops in the league.
The Blazers are 26th nationally and tops in the league in third down conversion defense, holding teams to a 0.300 clip. VSU is third nationally in scoring defense at 7.8 points allowed per game. The Blazers are fourth nationally in defensive touchdowns with four for tops in the GSC. VSU is 18th nationally in fumbles recovered (8) for tops in the GSC and is holding teams to 103 first downs for second in the GSC and 23rd nationally. VSU is holding teams to just 119.3 passing yards for fourth nationally and tops in the league, while it is 15th nationally in total defense allowing just 270.0 yards per game to lead the conference. Senior Mondrell Jefferson leads the nation in fumble recoveries with four.
YOU GOT MOSSED
Senior linebacker Nick Moss leads the team with 68 total tackles and 36 solo stops. He has three tackles for loss for 19 yards, two pass breakups, three quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery on the year. Moss is 18th nationally and tops in the GSC in solo tackles at 6.0 per game, while he is sixth nationally and also leads the league in total tackles per game at a 11.3 clip. Moss has recorded double-digit tackles in four of the six games thus far this season.
Senior Christian Matthew had his first pick six as a Blazer intercepting Aeneas Dennis' pass late in the 49-13 victory over Shorter (Oct. 2). Matthew had a great read on the pass and picked it off, going 40 yards down the near sideline for the score with just 4:34 left in the contest. Moreover, VSU had just scored on a 51-yard touchdown pass from Durham to Gallimore at the 4:46 mark. Just 12 seconds later, on the first play for Shorter from scrimmage, Matthew had the pick and score.
WHERE THE BLAZERS STAND OFFENSIVELY
Not only do the Blazers have a stout defense, but also a strong offense as they are third nationally in total offense at 493.5 yards per game, while they are third nationally in scoring offense at 45.2 points per game. VSU sits second nationally in sacks allowed at 0.17 per game with just one sack allowed by the offense this season. The Blazers are fifth nationally and second in the GSC to Mississippi College in rushing offense at 258.8 yards per game. MC is fourth nationally at 274.5 yards on the ground per game. The Blazers are second nationally in kickoff returns at 33.5 yards per return, while they are second nationally in fumbles lost (1).
Senior Lio'undre Gallimore is one of two GSC student-athletes with kick returns for touchdowns this season as Joshua Edwards of North Greenville is the other. For the season, Gallimore has four kickoff returns for 230 yards and the one score. As a team, VSU is second in the nation at kickoff returns at 33.50 yards per return.
GOFF HITS 50 CAREER VICTORIES
VSU third-year head coach Gary Goff hit 50 career coaching victories with the 53-7 win over Savannah State on Sept. 4. Goff now is 55-50 in his 11th season of coaching. Prior to VSU, he coached nine years at Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio. Goff is 16-1 during his time at VSU.
GARY GOFF RADIO SHOW
The Gary Goff Radio show is back this season at the Salty Snapper Restaurant in Valdosta every Monday at 7 p.m. Come out and listen to VSU head football coach Gary Goff speak about the previous game and looking ahead to the next game on the schedule. VSU Assistant Athletic Director for Development, Matt Malone, broadcasts the show and if you can't make it out, you can listen on WVGA 105.9 FM in Valdosta or stream it at valdostatoday.com. Prizes will be awarded after the show and fans in attendance have the opportunity to ask questions of Goff during the show.
COACH GARY GOFF SHOW
The Coach Goff Show will be available each Sunday at vstateblazers.com on the football page throughout the season as it will include interviews from Goff, select players and highlights from the previous game. Spencer Van Horn and Dave Garner host the show throughout the season and Jamie Abbott of Crashandannie Productions directs and produces the show.
ABOUT MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE
The Choctaws return home after a 20-7 victory at Shorter last week where MC racked up over 200 yards on the ground with two rushing scores and one through the air. The Choctaws trailed 7-0 after one quarter, but scored in the second quarter for a 7-7 score at intermission. In the third, two rushing scores by MC put the team up 20-7 for the final margin. Along with the 206 yards on the ground, MC had 149 through the air with a 61-yard strike from DeAnte Smith-Moore to Marcus Williams for the first MC touchdown of the day. For the season, leads the GSC and is in the top 20 nationally in each of the fewest penalty categories, while holding teams to just 95 first downs for the season for 11th nationally and first in the GSC. VSU is second in the league in first down defense, allowing 103 first downs. Both MC and VSU also have allowed a combined five interceptions for the season and are the top two in the conference as MC is seventh (2) and VSU is 16th (3). With running a triple option offense, MC is second nationally in passing yards per completion at 23.68 yards per completion. The Choctaws are fourth nationally in rushing offense at 274.5 yards per game, while they are third nationally in tackles for loss allowed at 2.83 per game. MC is second in the GSC in total defense, allowing 287.2 yards per game for 21st nationally, while VSU leads the league in total defense allowing 270.0 yards per game for 15th nationally. Individually, Williams leads the GSC in kickoff return yards at 25.9. Head Coach John Bland is in his eighth year at MC and is 18-49 there, while he is coaching in his 17th season overall and is 93-75. Bland is 0-7 against VSU and 0-6 at MC against the Blazers as he was the head coach at Southern Arkansas in 2000, facing the Blazers that season.
The Blazers lead all of NCAA Division II with 347 consecutive games without being shutout dating back to a 12-0 loss to Central Florida on Sept. 14, 1991. VSU only has been shutout five times in program history. Behind the Blazers is Grand Valley State who hasn't been shutout in 338 games.
A HISTORY OF SUCCESS
The Blazers have had an outstanding 39 years of football since the program began in 1982. The Blazers have the second-highest winning percentage all-time in NCAA Division II with a 310-127-4 record (.703) behind Grand Valley State (410-143-3) with a .738 clip. VSU went 88-27 from 2010-2019 for a .765 average which is good for eighth in NCAA Division II for the decade.
A VICTORY OVER MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE WOULD...
Give VSU a 7-0 record for the season and mark the third-straight season the Blazers begin a season 7-0
Give VSU a 12-8-1 record all-time and a 5-4-1 record in Clinton, Miss.
Be the 311th victory all-time in program history (310-127-4)
Be the 11th-straight victory overall versus Mississippi College
Give VSU its 21st-straight victory in the regular season against GSC competition and the 28th-straight regular season victory overall since 2017
Give VSU a 6-0 record on this date all-time and the second win over Mississippi College on this date as VSU won 42-21 on Oct. 23, 1993, in Valdosta
Be the fourth road win on this date for VSU (3-0)
Give head coach Gary Goff his 17th victory at VSU (16-1) and 56th victory in his collegiate coaching career (55-50).
Be the 204th GSC victory (203-87-3) and the 122nd victory in October all-time (121-45)
Be the second victory during the day on the road under Goff (1-0) and the third day victory overall (2-1)