The UWG Football team has solidified their position as a national powerhouse with their 34-24 victory over the Delta State Statesmen. The Wolves move to 3-0 on the year and looked strong on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
West Georgia got off to a slow start in the first quarter, falling to a quick 12-0 lead. Delta State’s Zane Samuel was responsible for a 16-yard scoop and score after a blocked punt, and Kicker Cody Mill’s extra point was blocked. The Statesmen tacked on two more field goals before UWG went on a run of their own.
Wolves quarterback Will Gardner tossed a 17-yard touchdown pass off of his back foot hitting tight end Walter Hibbler to cut the Statesmen lead in half. Like Mills, UWG kicker Hunter Heck’s extra point was also blocked. Heck, however, was able to hit an extra point only two minutes later when the Wolves blocked a punt of their own and safety Laronji Vason returned the ball 17 yards for the score and gave UWG a slim 13-12 lead with 3:20 left in the second quarter.
The Statesmen regained the lead, albeit briefly, in the third quarter on a one-yard touchdown run by Chris Robinson. Delta State attempted a subsequent extra point which failed. Robinson’s touchdown was the first touchdown from scrimmage allowed by the Wolves defense so far this season.
The Wolves proceeded to air the ball out on offense, with Gardner tossing three consecutive touchdown passes to Devontae Jackson, and two to wide receiver Deniko Carter, who had the catch of the game. Gardner tossed a fade in the corner of the end zone to Carter, who was covered like a blanket by Romelo Wilson and appeared to be beaten on the play. Carter then used his 6’ 5’’ inch body to leap over the 5’ 11’’ cornerback and plucked the ball from right over Wilson’s head. Carter was somehow able to keep his feet in bounds and hold onto the ball. As the crowd roared in approval, a helmetless Carter stood up, smiling from ear to ear, and saluted the crowd before rejoining his teammates on the sidelines.
The Statesmen added another touchdown in garbage time with two and a half minutes remaining, but it was too little too late as the aerial attach of the wolves put the game out of reach.
The Wolves are poised to do something special this year. With Will Hall’s defense continuing to be dominant and his passing game coming together, his squad has a chance to win the National Championship. The three headed monster at running back, consisting of Josh Thomas, LeMarcus Franks, and Devontae Jackson combined for 174 yards tonight and is the unit that will continue to drive this team towards Kansas City, the site of the 2016 National Championship Game.