CLEVELAND, Miss. — No. 2 Delta State kicked off the 2011 season with an overtime thriller, defeating the Elizabeth City State Vikings 28-21 on Saturday.
Statesmen sophomore Ixavier Triplett tipped a Creven Powell pass that eventually fell into the hands of Jerry Barnes to seal the victory for the green and white.
The Statesmen took the lead in overtime with a Brandon Lucas touchdown run of five yards. The key play of the drive was a 15-yard pass from Micah Davis to Erick Clayton to convert a third-and-15 down. Three plays later, Lucas scored what proved to be the game-winner.
The defense held the Statesmen in the game in the second half, holding the Viking offense to 11 yards of total offense after halftime.
Mark Hoskins led the way for the defense with eight tackles and a sack. Triplett led the linebackers with seven tackles and Dominique Davenport led the secondary with six tackles.
However, the Statesmen need 14 points in the second half to force overtime.
With less than 30 seconds left, the Statesmen were able to tie the game at 21. Davis sneaked in from less than a yard out behind a big offensive line surge. The touchdown drive was continued after the Statesmen converted a 4th-and-1 on a Brant Botill run to set up 1st-and-goal with less than a minute remaining in the quarter.
Davis connected with Lucas for a 35-yard touchdown pass to bring the Statesmen to within seven early in the third quarter.
Lucas had a solid game for the Statesmen in the second half. The junior finished with 79 yards on 17 carries and the one rushing touchdown in overtime. He also was a big player on special teams, setting up a touchdown with a long return. He also broke what appeared to be a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that was called back by an inadvertent whistle.
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Chance Dennis brought in the lone touchdown for the Statesmen in the first half. The senior brought in a 4-yard touchdown pass from Davis that capped a three-play, 16-yard drive. The touchdown drive was set up by a 77-yard kickoff return from Lucas, following the Vikings second touchdown of the game.
Powell and Elizabeth City State answered two plays later. After a kickoff return and penalty took the ball to the 40, Powell found Keit Strickland for a 40-yard strike to go up 21-7 before the half.
Elizabeth City State turned Delta State turnovers into touchdowns in the first half, punishing the Statesmen for the mistakes.
Brant Botill fumbled deep in Viking territory in the first quarter. The Vikings recovered and immediately turned around a four-play drive that ended with a 55-yard touchdown pass from Powell to Anthony Faulcon.
In the second quarter, Davis fumbled deep in Statesmen territory and the Vikings added another quick strike. Powell and Faulcon connected on their second touchdown pass of the night, this time from 16 yards out.
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