Delta State University football used a strong effort from the special teams unit to jump to an early first quarter lead that would hold up in a battle between two Gulf South Conference rivals. A blocked PAT and forcing fumbles on back-to-back kickoffs after Statesmen touchdowns set the score at 21-6 after the opening quarter.
Valdosta State and Delta State swapped punts on the opening drives to begin the game. The Blazers found the end zone with their second possession when quarterback Jake Medlock rushed for a six yard score. Anthony Pistelli had his point after try blocked when a high snap gave time for to rush around the right side of the offensive line and lay a hand on the kick.
Sullivan responded by going 5-for-6 on the ensuing Statesmen drive as he connected with on a 37 yard touchdown down the right sideline. connected on the extra point to give DSU the 7-6 lead.
DSU Kicker had his kickoff fielded by Vincent Dallas at the 3 yard line and returned to the VSU 12 before delivered a hit that knocked the ball loose from the returner. recovered for Delta State at the Blazers 14 yard line.
Sullivan took the ball in from five yards away on the third play of the drive after ran on the previous two plays for nine yards. Another Sciorrotta PAT extended the lead to 14-6.
Valdosta State would fumble on consecutive kickoffs as Nick Davis was stripped by after a 41 yard return, would recover for the Statesmen at the VSU 44. The Statesmen offense scored quickly as Sullivan found on the first play from scrimmage for a 44 yard score. After Sciorrotta added his third PAT the lead would be stretched to 21-6 with just under seven minutes left to play in the opening quarter.
Pistelli connected on a 26 yard field goal after one minute of play expired in the second quarter, making the score 21-9. Pistelli added a career-long 49 yard field goal after Sullivan threw his second interception of the opening half to draw the score to 21-12. After a quarterback change for the Blazers to Kaleb Nobles, Valdosta State found the end zone with 4:21 remaining in the second quarter on a pass to Donovan Bolden from 10 yards out. Pistelli’s PAT drew the Blazers within two, 21-19.
Valdosta State engineered a 12 play, 77 yard drive the found the end zone on the final play of the half as Nobles Austin Scott from one yard out. Pistelli added his second PAT to cap the halftime score, 28-26.
Delta State (2-0, 1-0 GSC) received the ball to start the second and marched 75 yards in nine plays capping with Bellaire’s 12 yard rush off the left side. The PAT from Sciorrotta moved the score to 35-26 after just over three minutes off the clock.
VSU responded with a strong drive before picked off Nobles pass at the DSU nine yard line with 9:21 remaining in the third quarter to turn away the Blazers after eight plays covered 57 yards and had the Blazers set up at the Statesmen 15 yard line.
After picking up a first down following the turnover, Sullivan connected with Osborne on an 85 yard score up the right sideline. Sciorrotta added another PAT to give DSU the 42-26 advantage with 8:10 left in the third quarter. The reception marked a career-long for Osborne, eclipsing the 84 yard haul at North Alabama last season.
Delta State would be backed up to their own 13 before Sullivan connected with for 40 yards up the home sideline. The drive stalled out outside of the red zone and settled for a Sciorrotta that fell short from 42 yards away. The score remained 42-26 as action moved to the final quarter. Sciorrotta would miss wide right on the next drive from 35 midway through the fourth quarter after the Statesmen drove 72 yards over 14 plays.
The Statesmen defense rose to the occasion forcing an incomplete pass on 4th and three from the DSU 31 yard line with 5:58 remaining.
Following a Statesmen punt, Nobles drove the Blazers (2-1, 0-1 GSC) offense 45 yards in just four plays with a 31 yard scoring pass to Chris Anderson. DSU denied the two point conversion and led by 10 with 3:45 left on the clock, 42-32.
Sullivan ended the day 41-for-64 passing for 502 yards and three scores. Osborne went over the 100 yard receiving plateau for the third straight game dating back to last season and second to start this year with nine receptions for 192 yards while finding the end zone twice. The back-to-back performances is the first since 2009 when Trevar Deed did the same on the road at North Alabama and West Alabama. Leavy hauled in five receptions for 100 yards while and each had seven receptions.
Bellaire rushed for 86 yards on 19 carries to lead the ground attack. The Statesmen rushed 37 times for 120 yards. The Delta State offense ran 101 plays for 622 yards and Knox led the defense with seven stops a piece, with Curtis adding two behind the line of scrimmage including a sack. The Statesmen defense forced four turnovers, two interceptions and two fumbles.
Delta State will host Central State on September 27 at 6 p.m. in the Annual Pig Pickin’ game from Parker Field-McKool Stadium.
SULLIVAN NAMED GULF SOUTH CONFERENCE OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
After leading Delta State University to the road victory at Valdosta State University, Tyler Sullivan has been named as Gulf South Conference Offensive Player of the Week. The Statesmen picked up the 49-32 victory in the GSC opener at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.
Sullivan picked up his third career honor by completing 41-of-64 passes (both career-highs) for 502 yards and three scores. Sullivan has now thrown for over 500 yards in both career starts against the Blazers. The Louisville, Mississippi native added 26 yards rushing with a touchdown on 10 carries.
The 528 yards of total offense ranks as the eighth highest output in GSC history while the 502 passing yards is seventh-highest in GSC history and he became just the 10th quarterback to complete 41 or more passes in a game.
Delta State (2-0) will play their home opener this Saturday at 6 p.m. versus Central State University (1-2) in the annual Pig Pickin’ Classic.