Tigers on road to battle Valdosta State

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Tomorrow the University of West Alabama will put on their traveling shoes for a noon Gulf South Conference game at Valdosta State University.

It&8217;s the first of a three-game road trip. The Tigers, 5-2 (2-2 GSC), seek their third win in a row while looking to tame the previously unbeaten Blazers, 5-1 (3-1 GSC).

A win would secure UWA&8217;s first winning record since 1992 and would mark the first time since 2002 they have won more than two GSC games in a season. UWA&8217;s last win over VSU was in 1985.

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VSU, who dropped from No. 5 to No. 14 in the nation, was upset last week by Delta State University. Therefore, UWA may catch the Blazers looking ahead at their next opponent &8212; No. 3 North Alabama.

Both teams saw action on Thursday of last week. The Tigers took care of West Georgia with a 24-14 win by scoring 24-unanswered points. They slide into the sixth spot in the GSC. Valdosta lost to DSU, 35-28, and holds the fourth spot in the conference.

West Alabama continues to field a balanced team.

Coach, second in receiving, found the going tough against West Georgia. They had two men on him the entire game.

The Tiger defense, anchored by Kidane McBride and Lewis Thompson, ranks second behind Delta State in the GSC for total defense, giving up only 273 yards a game.

They&8217;re No. 1 in defending the opponents on third down, allowing just 21 percent efficiency.

On offense the UWA ground game tops the conference with 225 yards per game. The Tigers&8217; leading rusher, Jerin Wright, is second in the GSC with 495 rushing yards. He leads the conference with eight rushing touchdowns.

The offense will fight with one of the best at rush-defenses in Valdosta, who has given up an average of just 99 yards a game.

In the area of passing, the UWA offensive line has allowed the fewest sacks in the conference. Valdosta and West Alabama rank second and third, respectfully, in conference scoring offense.

Another area Wallace continues to stress is the kicking game.

The Blazers have reached the end zone three times on punt returns this season.

Tiger kicker Mitch Warfield has been perfect with extra points, making good on all 29 attempts to lead the conference. He has also made six of nine field goal attempts.