Delta State takes out No. 1 UNA
Lions 14-play drive was most plays on scoring drive this season
FLORENCE, Ala. -- Electricity was in the air at Braly Municipal Stadium, as the No. 2 Statesmen took on top-ranked North Alabama Thursday night. The matchup did not disappoint as the two teams needed overtime to decide a winner. It was in overtime that the Statesmen found the end zone, and came away with the 30-24 win.
The game was a defensive chess match in a scoreless first quarter, as both teams traded punts. The Statesmen defense held strong throughout the quarter even stopping the Lion offense on fourth down.
Defense was still the name of the game as the second quarter got under way. After moving the ball past the 50-yard line, the Statesmen were held short on fourth down in the quarter's first series.
North Alabama (6-1, 0-1 GSC) took advantage of its good field position, and subsequently took the lead . Quarterback Lee Chapple hit Mo Miliam for a 43-yard completion. That play set up a four yard touchdown run for Demetrious Goode. The run and the extra point that followed gave the Lions the 7-0 lead.
The Statesmen (7-1, 1-0 GSC) offense then came to life as they answered the Lion touchdown with one of their own. Senior Quarterback Micah Davis hit senior wide receiver Tim Smith for a 42-yard gain to get the drive going. Davis completed two more passes on the drive before junior Brandon Lucas found the end zone on a two-yard run. The touchdown and point after tied the game up at 7-7.
|Delta State at North Alabama|
The Lions would not be denied on their next drive as they retook the lead. Chapple completed all five of his passes the 52-yard drive. Goode capped the drive off with his second touchdown run of the game, a six-yard scamper. The extra point gave the Lions the 14-7 advantage.
Down seven, the Statesmen drove down the field once again. Davis kept the drive alive with a two yard run on fourth and one. Just when the Statesmen seemed poised to tie the game up again, the Lion defense made a play. Bryan Thomas picked off a Davis pass on the goal line. The Lions then took a knee, as they went into the locker room with a 14-7 lead at the half.
The Lions started the second half with the ball. They marched down the field, but the Statesmen defense held tough, and forced North Alabama to kick a field goal. The 26-yard kick gave the Lions the 17-7 lead. The 14-play drive was the most plays on a scoring drive for the Lions this season.
The Statesmen were in need of offense on their next drive, and they came through with a 81-yard march to the end zone. A mix of runs and passes helped the Statesmen move the ball down the field. Davis found Smith once again on a completion, and Smith did the rest to get into the end zone. North Alabama's Janoris Jenkins was flagged and ejected after the play. The extra point cut the Lions' lead to three points at 17-14.
The Statesmen defense came out after the touchdown reenergized. Senior linebacker Robert Hogan came up big with a sack that helped end the North Alabama drive. The Statesmen then took over on offense, but could not convert a fourth and one which gave the ball back to the Lions.
The Lions took advantage of their defensive stop. The Lions went on a five play 52-yard drive capped off by 20-yard pass by Chapple to Miliam for a touchdown. The score put North Alabama up 24-14 early in the fourth quarter.
After the Statesmen were forced to punt, the Lions went back on the offensive. The Statesmen defense put a stop to that by forcing a turnover. Senior lineman Anthony Daniels picked off Chapple. The Statesmen took full advantage by marching down the field. A seven play 35-yard drive was capped off by Davis running the ball into the end zone. The score cut the UNA lead back down to three at 24-21 with 4:24 to go in regulation.
The ensuing onside kick was recovered by the Lions. The Statesmen defense answered the call once again, as they forced the Lions to punt with two minutes on the clock. The punt was a good one for the Lions, as they pinned the Statesmen on their own one-yard line.
The stuff of legends occurred on the next Statesmen drive. Davis and the offense engineered a 13-play, 89-yard drive to tie the game up. Senior kicker Matt Dean tied the game up with a 27-yard field goal, which sent the game into overtime.
The Lions had the ball first in the overtime period. The Lions started to march down the field, but were stymied by the Statesmen defense. Nathen O'Jibway then missed a 31-yard field goal. That meant the Statesmen took over with the game still tied.
The Statesmen offense made sure that they didn't have to settle for a field-goal try. Junior running back Brant Botill ran to the end zone from the four-yard line. The score gave the Statesmen the 30-24 victory in spectacular fashion.
Davis finished the game 29-for-41 for 339 yards, one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. The Statesmen finished the game with 512 yards of offense compared to 345 yards for UNA. The Statesmen were flagged for 11 penalties for 104 yards. The Lions were called for seven penalties for 75 yards.