SETTING THE SCENE

The No. 2 Blazers close out the 2021 home regular season slate on Saturday at 3 p.m., versus North Greenville for Homecoming and Senior Day. VSU enters the game as the lone unbeaten team in both league play and overall in the Gulf South Conference at 8-0 and 5-0, while NGU enters with a 4-5 record overall and a 1-4 mark in GSC Play. The Blazers are coming off a thrilling 36-34 victory over then-No. 2 West Georgia on Saturday in Valdosta. The Blazers built a 27-13 lead, only to see UWG roar back to pull within 36-34 with three minutes remaining. VSU junior quarterback Ivory Durham converted a 3rd and 8 with less than two minutes to play on a great scamper to ice the victory.

FAMILIAR FOE FOR HOMECOMING

Saturday marks Homecoming at VSU and is the second time playing NGU for Homecoming since 2018. VSU downed the Crusaders on 44-21 on Oct. 20, 2018. VSU is 33-5 all-time on Homecoming and has won the last two Homecoming games and 19 of 20. VSU won 55-28 on Oct. 19, 2019, versus Florida Tech. VSU won the previous meeting in the series against NGU in Tigerville, S.C., in 2019, with a thrilling 20-15 victory as the Blazers scored the winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the game. NGU is now the 11th different school VSU has played more than once on Homecoming and the 17th school overall. Flip to the Homecoming History page on page 35.

IT'S SENIOR DAY

Saturday marks the final regular season home game for 17 outstanding seniors who have helped VSU reach the pinnacle of NCAA Division II Football with a national championship in 2018, a GSC-record 25-game winning streak from 2017-2019 and back-to-back Gulf South Conference titles.  With the COVID Year, this senior class has gone a blistering 37-5 overall and 26-3 in GSC play.  The 2021 VSU Blazer Football Senior Class includes; Jacob Baker, Chris Barrett, Corey Brown, Antwan Dixon, Arrington Dulin, Steve Durosier, Lio'undre Gallimore, Mondrell Jefferson, Christian Matthews, Nick Moss, Gideon Owuso, Cory Roberts, Brian Saunds, Ralph Singleton, Kwan Stallworth, Elijah Watson and Ja'Davien Williams, along with Director of On Campus Recruiting, Ruth Mensah.  Best of luck to each of these seniors in their future endeavors.

LAST TIME OUT FOR THE CRUSADERS

NGU dropped a 31-14 decision to West Alabama last Saturday in Tigerville, S.C.  The Crusaders trailed 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, but UWA posted three touchdowns in the second quarter for a 24-0 lead at intermission as NGU never recovered. The Crusaders scored touchdowns in both the third and fourth quarters. Running back Dre' Williams had 70 yards on 21 attempts for NGU, while Christian Bruce had 55 yards on three catches and Caleb Bynum finished with 11 tackles and a sack.  UWA outgained NGU 406-186 in total offense, while leading 214-148 in passing yards and 192-38 in rushing yards. The two teams combined for 15 punts in the game and both teams had one turnover.

SCOUTING THE CRUSADERS

The Crusaders enter as one of the fewest penalized teams in the country as they are fifth nationally in fewest penalties with just 34 miscues on the year. The Crusaders average just 3.78 penalties per game (3rd nationally) and 36.44 penalty yards per game for third nationally.  Punter Myles Prosser is fourth nationally in punting at 43.6 yards per punt, while the team is seventh nationally in punting at 38.27 yards per punt.  Kicker Colin Karhu is fourth nationally in field goal percentage at a 90.0 clip on 9 of 10 and is 27th nationally in field goals per game at a 1.00 clip for third in the GSC.  NGU is averaging 336.8 yards of offense per game, while allowing 424.0 yards per game. Running back Dre' Williams is 24th nationally and fourth in the GSC in rush yards per carry at 6.12, while he is third in the GSC in rushing yards with 692.  Also in special teams, Joshua Edwards is 27th nationally and second in the GSC in combined kick returns with 474 yards.  NGU is averaging 22.8 points per game and allowing 29.9 per game, while the team is passing for 197.6 yards per game and rushing at a 139.2 average per game.

FLOSPORTS

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, Erskine travels to Shorter for a late-season non-conference matchup, while No. 4 West Florida travels to No. 23 West Alabama for key GSC clash. North Greenville heads to Titletown and Mississippi College is at Delta State. The UWF/UWA matchup has implications in both the conference championship race and in postseason seeding. If both VSU and UWF are victorious this week, VSU could do no worse than a tie for its third-straight Gulf South Conference title if the Blazers were to be upset at West Florida next week. VSU has won eight GSC titles in football in program history, including back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019.

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. This season with the addition of FloSports, Dave Garner will provide play-by-play coverage on the video broadcast of the home games for FloSports, while Taylor Biddle will be the color analyst.

SECOND NCAA REGION RANKINGS RELEASED 

Monday saw the NCAA release its second regional rankings as VSU leads Super Region Two, for the second-straight week, while Bowie State (Md.) is second, followed by Albany State for third.  Following the VSU win over West Georgia, UWG and West Florida flipped this week as the Argos are fourth and the Wolves dropped to fifth. Mars Hill moved to sixth after Wingate was upset last weekend and fell out of the rankings. Newberry moved from eighth to seventh and West Alabama moved from ninth to eighth. Savannah State moved into the rankings at ninth as did Lenoir-Rhyne at tenth. There will be one (1) more public rankings next Monday and then the NCAA Division II Football Championship field is scheduled to be unveiled Sunday, Nov. 14, in the evening on NCAA.com. The playoffs begin Nov. 20 and conclude with the NCAA Division II National Championship scheduled for Dec. 18 in McKinney, Texas, at McKinney ISD Stadium. VSU won the national championship there in 2018 with a thrilling 49-47 victory over Ferris State for VSU's fourth national title. The Gulf South Conference has had a team in the national championship each of the past four championships and is 2-2 during that span with wins by VSU ('18) and West Florida ('19). Former member North Alabama lost in 2016 to Northwest Missouri State and West Florida lost to Texas A&M-Commerce in 2017.

LAST TIME OUT WITH NORTH GREENVILLE

The Blazers lead the all-time series with North Greenville, 2-0, including a thrilling, 20-15, come-from-behind victory in Tigerville, S.C., in 2019.  In a pretty heavy rain, VSU struggled all game, but made the plays when it needed to as the team converted a 4th and 2 from the NGU 40 for a 40-yard run for the 20-15 margin with 49 seconds left.  VSU struggled all game, but outscored the Crusaders 20-6 in the second half after trailing at intermission for the first time all season, 9-0.  Current VSU junior Seth McGill has 15 carries for 80 yards and a score, while now graduate student Brian Saunds had eight catches for 106 yards and a score.  Now-junior linebacker Jackson Bull had five solo tackles and two tackles for loss for seven yards.  Now-senior Cory Roberts had two huge interceptions in the game, including on the final NGU drive after VSU took the lead, 20-15.  With the victory, VSU kept its undefeated season going and won its 23rd-straight game to that point.  NGU returner Matthew Martin had three catches for 94 yards in the game, while on defense returnee Kwame Livingston had nine total tackles, five solo stops, 2.5 tackles for loss (13 yds.) and 1.5 sacks for 12 yards. He also had a forced fumble and a fumble return.  In 2018, VSU dominated for Homecoming in the first year NGU was in the GSC as an affiliate member of the league.  The Blazers posted a 44-21 victory as VSU held NGU to ten yards rushing and 406 total yards.  VSU recorded 472 yards of offense.  Current Blazer Ivory Durham had seven rushes for 72 yards and a touchdown, while he was 2 of 7 passing for 66 yards, one interception and one touchdown. Saunds had four catches for 95 yards and a score. Defensively now-senior Mondrell Jefferson had six tackles with a 52-yard interception return.

RECAPPING THE PEACH BASKET SERIES / RED CLAY RIVALRY

In another thrilling edition of the Peach Basket Series, VSU held off a furious second half rally by the Wolves and held on for a 36-34 victory last Saturday evening. VSU raced out to a 27-13 lead through the first half and then a 33-13 lead on a 63-yard run from junior Jamar Thompkins early in the third quarter.  From there, the Wolves used a five-minute drive, a punt return for a touchdown and a 17-play, 94-yard drive consuming 8:08 minutes in the fourth quarter to pull within 36-34.  UWG outscored VSU 21-9 in the second half, but the Blazers did a great job to get a first down in the final three minutes to ice the game.  The Blazers held a 488-339 advantage in total offense as both teams were the top two in the league in total offense per game.  VSU was at 491.4 yards per game, while UWG was at just over 478 yards per game.  The Blazer "D" held UWG to just 228 yards passing as the team entered averaging 345 yards through the air per game.  VSU took a 3-0 lead in the new Red Clay Rivalry with wins in both cross country programs at the conference tournament and then the football victory.  The teams battle in women's soccer this week and UWG won the first meeting in volleyball earlier this year and can win the point with a sweep in Carrollton later this month.

ROBERTS AND DURHAM TABBED GSC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK 

Valdosta State had its 11th and 12th selections for GSC Player of the Week this week, as junior quarterback Ivory Durham earned the honor for the second time and senior defensive back Cory Roberts earned the honor for the first time this season.  Roberts, the seventh different Blazer to earn the weekly honor, recorded nine tackles, and eight solo stops, along with his first interception of the season in the No. 2-ranked Blazers' thrilling 36-34 victory against No. 3-ranked West Georgia on Saturday. Durham, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., had another great game for the Blazers as he threw for two touchdowns and ran for two in the Blazers' thrilling 36-34 victory over No. 3 West Georgia Saturday evening.  Durham connected on 80 percent of his passes, going 19 of 23 for 212 yards and two scores. He also rushed for 72 yards on 10 carries and two rushing touchdowns.  Durham finished the game with 284 total offense. Late in the game with VSU leading 36-34, Durham scampered nine yards on a third and eight with just under two minutes left to pick up the first down to clinch the victory as UWG had no timeouts left at that point.

33 WINNING SEASONS

With the victory on Saturday at West Alabama on Oct. 16, the Blazers clinched their 33rd winning season in the 39-year history of football at VSU. The Blazers are 312-127-4 all-time and have had 21-straight winning seasons dating back to 2000.

THROUGH THE AIR AND ON THE GROUND

The Blazers have alternated which attack has been more dominant each game throughout the season. Against West Alabama, the Blazers put up 341 yards through the air for a season-high, while against Mississippi College, they put up 379 on the ground for the fourth time of rushing for over 300 yards this season. Last week versus West Georgia, the Blazers put up 488 yards of offense, marking the sixth game of 400 yards or more this season. VSU had a season-high 401 yards rushing in the 55-0 victory over Delta State (Oct. 9).  Individually, McGill has four games of rushing over 100 yards this season, while Thompkins has three over 100 and Durham has one.  Graduate student Lio'undre Gallimore has two games with over 100 receiving yards this season, while fellow graduate student Brian Saunds has two games of over 100 yard receiving this season, including 105 against West Georgia last weekend.

FIRST IN THE NATION

The Blazers lead the nation in kickoff returns at 30.6 yards per return, while they are tops in the nation in fewest sacks allowed at 0.12 per game and just one on the season. VSU also leads the nation in turnovers lost at just five on the year. Individually, senior 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 Oct. 16. 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.

CREATING OPPORTUNITIES

VSU is fifth nationally in turnover margin at 1.38 to lead the GSC. The Blazers have just five turnovers on the year for tops in the nation, while they have forced 16 for second-most in the GSC. VSU holds a 62-14 lead on the opposition in points off turnovers.

DEFENSE SCORES

The Blazers recorded their fourth defensive touchdown this season with a 47-yard pick-six in the third quarter at West Alabama on Oct. 16, by junior defensive back Taurus Dotson. The Blazers are fifth nationally in defensive touchdowns as Bowie State and Colorado State Pueblo lead the nation with six. VSU has two fumble recoveries for touchdowns from senior Mondrell Jefferson and pick-six interceptions from graduate transfer Christian Matthew (Oct. 2 vs. Shorter) and Dotson at UWA. Senior defensive lineman Arrington Dulin also has a safety this season in the season-opener against Savannah State (Sept. 4).

MCGILL 2,000

Junior running back Seth McGill has been a strong part of a two-headed running attack this season for the Blazers. He is fourth nationally and second in the GSC in rushing yards per carry at a blistering 7.87 average, while he and teammate Ivory Durham are tops in the GSC in rushing touchdowns with eight, which is good for 32nd nationally. McGill leads the GSC in rushing yards (773) and rushing yards per game (96.6), which are good for 35th and 25th, respectively, nationally. McGill hit the 2,000 career yard mark on Oct. 16 as he now has played in 33 games with six starts, while recording 2,168 career rushing yards on 348 carries and 31 rushing touchdowns. He has 53 catches for 398 yards and one receiving score, while recording 2,832 all-purpose yards. McGill is eighth in school history in career rushing yards, while his 31 rushing touchdowns puts him fourth 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 season, also has Jamar Thompkins as he has 86 carries for 677 yards and seven rushing touchdowns, while averaging 7.9 yards per carry. He is fourth nationally in yards per carry this season and second in the GSC. He has 28 rushing touchdowns for his career are fourth all-time in school history. Thompkins' 2,956 career yards are good for seventh all-time in school history. He needs 59 yards to tie Austin Scott (2012-15) for sixth all-time with 3,015 yards. Thompkins has 347 career carries and has 30 catches for 268 yards and two touchdown receptions, while he has 12 kick returns for 307 yards. Thompkins has 3,531 all-purpose yards in 33 games played and 25 starts. This season, Thompkins is fourth in the GSC rushing touchdowns (7), while he is fourth in rushing yards (677) and third in rushing yards per game (84.6).

SPEEDY SAUNDS

Graduate student Brian Saunds, who was named GSC Co-Offensive Player of the Week against West Alabama, has had an outstanding career for the red and black as he has played in 42 games with 33 starts for his career.  Saunds has 147 receptions for 2,425 yards and 24 touchdown receptions.  He has 55 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 2,425 receiving yards are good for sixth, while his 24 receiving touchdowns also are good for seventh at VSU.

BIG GRAB GALLIMORE

Graduate student Lio'undre Gallimore has had a heck of a career for the Blazers as he has played in 38 games with 33 starts, while recording 121 receptions for 2,248 yards and 25 receiving touchdowns. He has 12 kick returns for 359 yards and one touchdown, while recording 2,594 all-purpose yards for his career. Gallimore's 2,248 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 19th nationally this season in receiving touchdowns to lead the league (9). Gallimore is fourth in the GSC in total points scored (60) and fourth in scoring at 7.5 points per game for 47 nationally. Gallimore's ten total touchdowns this season is good for 33rd nationally and tops in the league.

STOUT DEFENSIVELY

The Blazers are fifth nationally in defensive touchdowns (4), while the team is fourth nationally in passing yards allowed (118.0) for tops in the GSC.  VSU is fourth in the nation in red zone defense, holding teams to a 0.524 clip, while the team is fifth in scoring defense at 11.8 points allowed per game and fourth in passing efficiency defense at 87.46.  VSU is 22nd nationally in total defense to lead the GSC at 287.8 yards allowed per game.  Individually, Mondrell Jefferson leads the nation in fumble recoveries with four, while graduate student Christian Matthew is fifth nationally in passes defended at 1.9 per game and 14 for the season.  Senior Cory Roberts is second in the GSC in solo tackles per game at 5.1 for 39th nationally, while teammate Nick Moss is third in the league at 4.9.  Senior Nick Moss is 13th nationally in total tackles at 10.1 per game to lead the GSC.

WHERE THE BLAZERS STAND OFFENSIVELY

Not only do the Blazers have a stout defense, but also a strong offense as are fourth nationally in total offense at 491.9 yards per game. VSU is 14th nationally and tops in the GSC in red zone offense (0.903), while it is fifth nationally and second in the league in rushing offense at 276.0 yards per game. VSU is fifth nationally and tops in the GSC in scoring offense at 43.5 points per game, while the Blazers are 11th nationally in third down percentage at a 0.11 clip for third in the GSC. VSU is 28th nationally in passing yards per completion at 14.16 for third in the league, while they it has allowed just one sack on the season to lead the nation in sacks allowed (0.12).

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 57-50 in his 11th season of coaching.  Prior to VSU, he coached nine years at Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio. Goff is 18-1 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.

NO SHUTOUTS

The Blazers lead all of NCAA Division II with 348 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 312-127-4 record (.703) behind Grand Valley State (412-143-3) 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 NORTH GREENVILLE WOULD...

Give VSU an 9-0 record for the season and mark the third-straight season the Blazers begin a season 9-0

Give VSU a 3-0 record all-time against NGU

Give VSU 34-5 record on Homecoming all-time and mark the third-straight victory on Homecoming

Be the 313th victory all-time in program history (312-127-4) and 171st home victory for the program (170-53-1)

Give VSU its 23rd-straight victory in the regular season against GSC competition and the 30th-straight regular season victory overall since 2017

Give VSU a 4-2 record on this date and a 2-1 mark on this date in home games as VSU has played on this date the last two times in 2004 and 2010 against West Georgia

Give head coach Gary Goff his 19th victory at VSU (18-1) and 58th victory in his collegiate coaching career (57-50).

Be the 206th GSC victory (05-87-3) and the 66th victory in November (65-41-3)

React to this story:

2
0
0
0
0

Trending Video

Recommended for you