Nov. 22, 2008

Courtesy of Valdosta State Athletics

FLORENCE, Ala. – North Alabama held Valdosta State without an offensive touchdown as the Lions claimed a 37-10 victory over the Blazers in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs Saturday afternoon at Braly Stadium.

North Alabama (11-1) got on the board first as it marched 75 yards on
13 plays. The key play of the drive came on a third-and-eight play from the UNA 42 when Lion quarterback A.J. Milwee was flushed from the pocket. He eluded a tackler and gained 20 yards before being brought down. The senior completed five-of-six passes on the drive for 36 yards before handing off to Mike McLendon, who scored on a 1-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 Lion lead.

After forcing a Valdosta State punt, UNA upped their advantage to 14-0 as McLendon picked up his second rushing touchdown of the day. The Lions took over on their own 34 before picking up nine yards on the ground. Milwee proceeded to hook up with Bobby Williams for a six yard gain before McLendon picked up six yards on the ground. A 10-yard completion to gain to Williams moved the ball to the VSU 11 while McLendon closed out the drive with a pair of runs, including a two-yarder for the score with 12:40 to go in the first half of play.

A safety on errant snap upped the North Alabama advantage to 16-0 right before the half while Valdosta State’s Devin Sabina kicked a 27-yard field goal at the horn to close the Blazers (9-3) to within 16-3 at the half.

Milwee scored on a five-yard touchdown run to cap off a six-play, 41-yard drive in the third quarter to put the Lions up 23-3 before a 69-yard fumble return by Larry Wilson pushed the UNA lead to 27 points.

Bobby Williams added a three-yard touchdown reception with 12:08 remaining in the game while a Dudley Spence fumble return cut the deficit to 37-10. Jermel Daniels forced the McLendon fumble and recovered the ball before lateralling the ball to Spence, who raced 55 yards for the score.

Valdosta State managed just 232 yards of total offense in the contest as it was held without an offensive touchdown for the first time since October 24, 1998, a span of 128 games. Chris Hart completed 11-of-23 passes for 106 yards while Callaway was 11-of-15 for 61 yards. Cedric Jones caught six passes for 54 yards, bringing his career total to 225, just 22 shy of the VSU and Gulf South Conference record of 247 held by Sean Pender. Larry Dean and Sherard Reynolds recording nine tackles apiece to lead the Blazer defense.

Milwee completed 16-of-27 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown while McLendon carried the ball 17 times for 41 yards. Williams caught eight passes for 72 yards while five Lions finished with six tackles apiece.