Nov. 14, 2009

ALBANY, Ga. - Two blocked field goals and a miss helped the University of West Alabama football team continue to make history as UWA (8-4) advances to the second round of the NCAA Division II Football Championships with a 24-22 win over Albany State on Saturday, Nov. 14.

ASU (8-3) had three straight opportunities to try and advance to the second round, but the Tiger special teams unit held the Rams off the scoreboard. Tavarus Finley and Deon Lacey were credited with the two blocks as Juan Bongarra pushed his third attempt left with 16 seconds remaining in the game.

"Credit our guys for overcoming the jubilation of beating North Alabama last weekend," UWA Head Coach Bobby Wallace said. "I thought we moved the ball well all day, but failed to put points on the board. We will have to get that corrected before next week. We have out work cut out for us at Carson-Newman, but we are excited for the opportunity to play."

UWA, which heads to the second round of the championships for just the second time in school history, gathered 401 yards of total offense with 101 on the ground and 300 through the air. Junior quarterback Deon Williams supplied all 300 yards through the air. Terry Allen led the Tigers on the ground with 45 yards and tallied 22 yards through the air.

"We know how a good we are," Williams said. "If we do things like we are coached to do, we can be successful."

ASU totaled 434 yards in the contest as Demetri Johnson and A. J. McKenna each rushed for over 100 yards in the game. Johnson finished the night with 131 yards on the ground as McKenna rushed for 113 yards and threw for 153 yards.

"Everyone had trouble bringing him down," UWA senior linebacker DeAntuan Matthews said of the 6'5, 240-pound ASU quarterback McKenna. "We knew if we could just contain him, everything would be okay."

The Rams struck first on the scoreboard as Joshua Ingram sacked Williams on the Red and White's first offensive drive. The 2-0 lead held until 11:35 remaining before the intermission as Deon Williams found Michael Townsend on an 18 yard strike to put UWA up 7-3. The drive lasted 2:44 and covered 74 yards on five plays.

"That's what really got the game started for us," Townsend said of the Red and White's first score. "I thank Coach (Desmond) Lindsey and the coaches for having enough faith to come to me in that position."

Williams, a Tuscaloosa, Ala.-native, later connected with Terry Allen for a 17 yard pass for the second Tiger TD of the game, capping a four play, 45 yard drive that lasted 1:17.

The Rams pulled within five points as McKenna maneuvered his way in from 24 yards with just over six and a half remaining before the intermission. UWA extended the lead back out to double digits as Williams pushed across the goal line from one yard out, adding his third TD of the game. Johnson, a Harlon Hill trophy finalist, added the final points of the first half as he dashed into the endzone from seven yards, pulling the Rams within 21-16 at the intermission.

Brock Sharp supplied the only points of the second half for UWA on a 43 yard field goal, ending a six play, 36 yard drive that erased 2:26 off the clock. The Rams only points in the second session came with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter as Antwan Harris hauled in a 16 yard pass from McKenna. The Rams failed on the two-point conversion that would have tied the game at 24-24.

West Alabama travels to Jefferson City, Tenn. to face Super Regional Two, No.2 seed Carson-Newman on Saturday, Nov. 21 at Burke-Tarr Stadium. Kickoff will be scheduled at a later date.