UWA sends Wallace out with a ‘W’

Published 8:18 am Friday, November 12, 2010

LIVINGSTON – In an upset victory that could close out the career of legendary Head Coach Bobby Wallace, the University of West Alabama knocked off No. 7 Valdosta State by a 24-21 score Thursday night. With the win on Senior Night at Tiger Stadium, UWA closes out the regular season campaign at 7-4 (5-3 Gulf South Conference) while the Blazers finish at 8-2 and 6-2 in the conference.

The win marks just the second time in program history that West Alabama has defeated Valdosta State and snaps a 24-game losing streak to the Blazers.

Among the seniors closing out their time in Livingston, Randy Lowery led the Tigers as he pulled in four catches for 118 yards including a touchdown catch from fellow senior Deon Williams that pulled the Tigers within two in the third quarter. On the following kickoff, he returned a fumble to setup a UWA go-ahead field goal.

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VSU opened with the first nine points of the game. David Arnold rushed from 13 yards out to cap the Red and Black’s first drive of the game – which covered 70 yards. A Daniel Anderson 19-yard field goal put VSU up 9-0 after the first quarter.

After VSU intercepted Williams for the second time in the game, Austen Roberts found Ronnye Nelson from two yards out – pushing the Blazer lead to 15-0 early in the second half.

The Tigers answered the VSU score with a two-play, 66-drive that put UWA on the board for the first time of the night as Gerald Worsham hauled in a seven-yard pass. The Birmingham, Ala. native’s TD catch was setup by a 59-yard pass to Kendrick May. Worsham became the program’s all-time receiving yards leader – surpassing Matt Carman with 2,180 yards.

A 30-yard touchdown reception by Lowery capped a four-play, 99-yard drive – pulling UWA within 15-13 at the 4:18 mark of the third quarter. The Tigers took possession of the ball following a blocked, 22-yard field goal attempt by Valdosta State. The deflected kick attempt was the third of the night by the Tiger special teams unit. UWA had recorded two blocked PAT attempts prior to the halted field goal.

VSU fumbled the ensuing kickoff return – giving UWA the ball on the Blazer 11-yard line. The Tigers couldn’t find the end zone but a 40-yard field goal by senior Brock Sharp placed the Red and White in front for the first time on the night.

Nelson added his second score of the game on the ensuing drive as he rushed from three yards out to place VSU back in front at 21-16. VSU’s two-point conversion attempt was turned away.

Answering the score with a 70-yard drive, the Tigers regained the lead at 22-21 on a two-yard Williams rush. Williams then found Jacob Burks on the following two-point conversion – placing the Red and White up by the final 24-21.

On the night, the VSU offense outgained the Tigers by a 357-317 clip behind the effort of a strong running attack that produced 236 yards on the ground.

Williams – the program’s all-time leader in total offense – finished his last game at Tiger Stadium completing 14 of 28 pass attempts for 241 yards and two scores.

The group of seniors helped guide the Tigers to the 7-4 mark this season for back-to-back winning campaigns for the first time since the 1991 and 1992 seasons.