UWA football ready for season finale vs. UNA

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 4, 2005

LIVINGSTON- The University of West Alabama Tiger football team (2-8, 0-8 GSC) will take the field for the final time in 2005 on Saturday when they travel to Florence, Ala., to face 15th-ranked North Alabama (7-2, 6-2 GSC). The Tigers are coming off of a 35-13 loss at Henderson State last Saturday, while the Lions are coming off of a big 20-19 win at West Georgia.

The Tigers will be faced with slowing down a high-scoring Lion offense that is averaging 33.8 points per game this season and outscoring their opponents 304-139. Most of the production is coming from a solid passing game that is averaging 259.6 yards per game.

“UNA certainly presents a big challenge for our young team,” said UWA Head Coach Sam McCorkle. “They are an experienced team that is used to success, and they have many tools on both sides of the ball. Vinnie Saylor has had a tremendous season throwing the football and DeMarcus Blount has already set numerous school and GSC rushing records. You couple that with a big, talented offensive line and outstanding receivers and they become difficult for anyone to stop.”

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Saylor has completed 62.1 percent of his pass attempts (220-of-354) for 2,287 yards, including 19 touchdowns. He will be facing a Tiger defense that is allowing only 183.1 passing yards per game this season.

Anthony Merritt leads the Lions with 53 catches for 520 yards. Chip Long is next with 47 receptions for a team-high 549 yards. Merritt is tied with teammate Jason Messing for the team lead in touchdown catches with six.

Blount leads a UNA rushing attack that is gaining 129.9 yards per game this season. He has carried the ball 112 times for 410 yards, including seven touchdowns. Eric Packer follows with 74 rushes for 264 yards and two touchdowns.

The Tigers will be facing a team that is allowing less than 100 rushing yards per game. Jerin Wright, who rushed for a career-high 158 yards a week ago against HSU, continues to lead the rushing attack for UWA. On the season, Wright has rushed 154 times for 610 yards, including five touchdowns. Quarterback James Reiter is next with 109 carries for 415 yards and five touchdowns.

Reiter continues to lead the passing game for the Tigers, completing 57-of-136 pass attempts for 1,106 yards and six touchdowns. Backup quarterback Matt Patterson, who played last week for the injured Reiter, has completed 14-of-39 passes for 268 yards and one touchdown on the year.

Defensively, UWA will look to hold North Alabama under its season average of 389.4 yards of total offense. Lewis Thompson leads the defensive attack with his 77 total tackles (41 solo and 36 assisted), including five tackles for a loss. Kidane McBride follows with 65 total tackles (30 solo and 35 assisted). Demarcus Thornton and Richard Bevill lead the Tigers with five interceptions apiece, while Tim Kelley has recovered a team-best three fumbles.

Courtney Wright leads a Lion defense that is ranked number-one in the GSC in total defense, allowing 275.4 yards of total offense per game. Wright has recorded a team-best 79 total tackles on the season (42 solo and 37 assisted), including 11 tackles for a loss. Jason Campbell leads the team with 12 tackles for a loss, while Blake Farris has recorded a team-best seven interceptions.

“On defense, UNA gets to the football and has as much team speed as anyone we have seen all year,” said McCorkle. “We must do a good job controlling the football and making positive plays. We will have to be at the top of our game and have a great week of practice in order to go up there and compete with them.”

The two teams will square of in Braly Municipal Stadium on Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 6:00 p.m. All of the exciting action can be heard on 106.5FM (Demopolis).