West Georgia shocks No. 1 Delta State
Quarterback Taylor leads Wolves to fourth-quarter comeback
CARROLLTON, Ga. -- Junior quarterback Emmanuel Taylor led West Georgia on a pair of fourth-quarter scoring drives on Saturday at University Stadium, leading the Wolves to a come-from-behind 39-35 victory agaginst top-ranked Delta State.
"I looked at my team and told them that we were not going to lose this game," Taylor said. "I am happy for the win and happy for the program because we showed today that we can play with anyone."
The Wolves (6-4, 2-2) trailed 35-24 after a trio of touchdowns from Delta State (9-2, 3-1) in the third quarter. West Georgia came out after leading 17-14 at the half and scored on its first drive of the second half, taking a 24-14 lead.
But that seemed to wake up the sleeping giant, as the Statesmen scored three times over the final 12 minutes of the third period to take a two-touchdown advantage. The final kickoff of the regular season for DSU closed out the third quarter, giving Taylor the ball at the UWG 34.
"Our guys had an opportunity at that point to go two ways," West Georigia head coach Daryl Dickey said. "They decided that 5-5 was not enough and they went out and took it."
Taylor was nothing short of brilliant in the final quarter, as he showed on the first play of the period with a 16-yard run. That was the first of five runs on the West Georgia drive for 51 yards. His final run was a 1-yard plunge that pulled the Wolves to within five at 35-30. He capped the drive with a completed pass to Bobby Burum to complete the two-point conversion and making the score 35-32 with 9:06 remaining in the game.
On the ensuing drive, the Statesmen managed one first down, but then the UWG defense stiffened, forcing a punt and giving the ball back to the Wolves at the West Georgia 32 yardline.
Taylor again marched his offense inside the Delta State five-yard line. On first down, senior running back James Kennebrew rushed for one yard to the DSU 1. But on the next two plays, the Statesmen sniffed out a Taylor rush, netting zero yards and setting up a 4th-and-goal situation.
During a timeout, the Wolves decided on their play and put the ball in the hands of their senior captain, Kennebrew who dove over the top of the pile and landed in the end zone for the score. Davis Brackett's extra point was good, giving the Wolves a four-point advantage with 1:35 left in the contest.
No. 1 team in the nation wouldn't be held down for long, as the Statesmen quickly drove back down into the UWG red zone, but with three chances inside the West Georgia 10, Micah Davis' passes fell harmlessly to the turf.
The win marked the first time in school history that a West Georgia football team had beaten a team ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Taylor led the way on the ground with 25 rushes for 97 yards and two touchdowns. He also was 16 of 32 for 258 yards through the air with two touchdowns. Burum was the leading receiver on the afternoon with six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. Arkeem French had four receptions for 74 yards and a score and V.J. Hunt had three catches for 70 yards.