ARLINGTON, Texas – No. 18 Valdosta State compiled 520 yards of total offense as the Blazers defeated Angelo State 43-10 at Cowboys Stadium Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, VSU improved to 2-1 on the season while Angelo State fell to 1-2.
Angelo State got on the board first as it took the opening kickoff and marched 73 yards on 13 plays. The Blazer defense held in the red zone and forced a 24-yard field goal by Jarred Martin that gave ASU a 3-0 lead.
The Blazers answered early in the second quarter when it moved the ball to the ASU one yard-line before settling for an 18-yard field goal by Daniel Andersen. On its next possession, VSU gained the lead when on a third-and-two play, Austin Scott broke through the line and ran 62 yards untouched to give Valdosta State a 10-3 advantage with 10:01 to play in the first half.
The Blazers pushed their lead to 17-3 on their next drive as Gerald Ford capped off a nine-play, 82-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown catch. The key play on the drive came with Valdosta State punting from its own 41. After Andersen got the punt away, a Ram defender slammed into the VSU punter, drawing a roughing the punter flag that gave VSU an automatic first down. Two plays later, Cedric O’Neal picked up 24 yards on back-to-back runs before Austin Scott gained 10 more to move the ball to the ASU 24. Ford proceeded to catch a pass over the middle and broke a tackle while using a hand to keep his footing. After regaining his balance, he ran untouched to the end zone for the 14-point VSU lead.
ASU took the ensuing kickoff and used its passing game to move to the VSU 16. However, a botched snap on a field goal attempt ruined the Ram scoring chance to give VSU a 17-3 halftime lead.
Angelo State cut its deficit to seven points on its first drive in the second half as it marched 47 yards on six plays. VSU appeared to stop the Rams on the drive as a third-and-three pass fell incomplete, but a pass interference call on the play kept the drive alive. On the next play, Blake Hamblin hooked up with C.J. Akins for a 19-yard touchdown pass to close ASU to within 17-10.
Andersen pushed the Blazer lead back to 10 points with a 33-yard field goal with 6:01 to play in the third quarter, a drive that was kept alive when the VSU kicker completed a 39-yard pass to Trokon Gaye on a faked punt from the Blazer 38 yard line.
A safety by Lawrence Virgil on the first ASU play on the ensuing drive gave Valdosta State a 12-point cushion while Gerald Ford caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Cayden Cochran on the ensuing drive to push the Blazer advantage to 29-10 with 3:12 to play in the third quarter.
Cedric O’Neal added a one-yard touchdown run with 10:34 to go in the fourth quarter, a score that was set up when Ford drew a pass interference call in the end zone, to give VSU a 36-10 lead while Chris Anderson caught a 16-yard pass from Graham Craig with 5:27 to play to close out the scoring.
Cochran completed 16-of-27 passes for 173 yards, including seven passes to Ford, who finished with 110 yards and two touchdowns. Scott carried the ball 17 times for 126 yards and a score while O’Neal had 16 carries for 73 more yards.
Valdosta State tallied 520 yards of total offense in the game against an Angelo State defense that had allowed just 457 total yards through its first two games. Meanwhile, the Blazer defense limited the Rams to just 262 total yards, including only 40 rushing. Ryan Smith led the VSU defense with nine tackles, including a sack.
Blake Hamblin completed 18-of-29 passes for 193 yards for the Rams while Alvin Johnson led the ASU defense with 10 tackles.
Valdosta State returns home to Bazemore-Hyder Stadium and opens Gulf South Conference play when it hosts West Alabama next week.
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