No. 1 Valdosta State Defeats Florida Tech 52-14

By  //  October 5, 2013

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Will take on Ave Maria next Saturday

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ABOVE IMAGE: Florida Tech is ready to take the field against Valdosta st.

VALDOSTA, GEORGIA – Florida Tech limited No. 1 Valdosta State to just 71 yards of total offense in the first half, but Valdosta State pulled away in the second half to win 52-14 Saturday afternoon at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

Florida Tech limited No. 1 Valdosta State to just 71 yards of total offense in the first half, but Valdosta State pulled away in the second half to win 52-14 Saturday afternoon at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

Florida Tech limited No. 1 Valdosta State to just 71 yards of total offense in the first half, but Valdosta State pulled away in the second half to win 52-14 Saturday afternoon at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

The Panthers are now 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the Gulf South Conference, while the Blazers remain unbeaten at 4-0, 2-0 GSC.

FIT’s defense played superbly in the first two quarters, holding its counterpart to eight rushing yards on 13 carries and 63 passing yards. It also had one interception, recovered one fumble, notched three sacks and had five tackles for a loss of 44 yards. On third down plays, the Blazers were 0-for-7.

VALDOSTA’S TWO BIG PLAYS THE DIFFERENCE

The two big plays Valdosta State had were a 62-yard punt return by Willie Downs with 13:49 left in the first quarter and a 56-yard fumble recovery by Tevin Davis with 10:40 to play in the second quarter. Despite those two plays, FIT held the upper-hand in total offense, 94-71, time of possession, 18:26 to 11:34, and it committed four fewer penalties for 50 fewer yards.

Steve Englehart

Steve Englehart

“Valdosta State did the things we needed to do in order to win the game,” head coach Steve Englehart said.

“They had a punt return and a defensive score in the first half. We still went into the locker room 17-0. Those plays just can’t happen. We were right there against the No. 1 team in the country and were feeling good about the way our defense played. Our defense played really well against their quarterback and got hits against him. They really took away a lot of their passing game.”

MASTELLER THROWS FOR TWO TD’S

In the second half, the Blazers found success on the ground where they scored four of their five touchdowns. Two were on big runs as Cedric O’Neal worked loose for a 63-yard touchdown run and then Austin Scott found the end zone from 72 yards out.

“Other than a couple real long runs, I thought our defense played really well,” Englehart said.

“Other than a couple real long runs, I thought our defense played really well,” Englehart said.

“Unfortunately, the score doesn’t show that because we gave them 21 points in the offense and special teams phases of the game. Offensively, we probably played against the best defense in the country. We just couldn’t get in any type of rhythm. We had three and out, three and out. It’s hard to call plays when you have three and outs. You need to get into some rhythm, get first downs on second down and move the chains.”

Aaron George

Aaron George

Aaron George hauled in a 13-yard pass from Dan Masteller for FIT’s first touchdown at the 3:01 mark of the third quarter. The touchdown was the first Valdosta State allowed in 169 minutes and 37 seconds. Fort Valley State was the last team to score a touchdown against the Blazers on Sept. 7.

Dan Masteller

Dan Masteller

Masteller delivered one more touchdown pass, this time to Daniel Fernandez with 31 seconds remaining. He finished 8-for-11 for 110 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Starter Bobby Vega was 12-for-26 for 72 yards and had one interception.

Gabe Hughes led the Panthers with six catches for 43 yards. Trevor Sand rushed 17 times for 68 yards.

J.J. Sanders

J.J. Sanders

J.J. Sanders had a team-high nine tackles. He also had one tackle for a loss and forced one fumble. The Panthers finished the game with three sacks after totaling two sacks in their first four games.

“We need to keep plugging away and keep getting better,” Englehart said.

“We just faced three really good football teams over the last three weeks. We need to keep our head up and understand there is a process we need to go through. We’re close and I’m tired of saying we’re close all the time and saying ‘if this,’ ‘if that.’ If we can get both sides of the ball clicking together, I think we can be really good.”

The Panthers will step out of Gulf South Conference play for their last of three straight road games next Saturday, Oct. 12at Ave Maria. Kickoff against the Gyrenes is set for 1 p.m. ET.

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GAME PREVIEW POST

Valdosta State, which is coming off a 37-3 win over Angelo State, features a balanced offensive attack as the Blazers average 200.0 rushing yards and 241.7 passing yards per game. (Valdosta State image)

Valdosta State, which is coming off a 37-3 win over Angelo State, features a balanced offensive attack as the Blazers average 200.0 rushing yards and 241.7 passing yards per game. (Valdosta State image)

Valdosta State, which is coming off a 37-3 win over Angelo State, features a balanced offensive attack as the Blazers average 200.0 rushing yards and 241.7 passing yards per game.

The Blazer offense, which is averaging 38.0 points per game, is led by sophomore running backs Cedric O’Neal and Austin Scott, who have combined for 522 yards and five touchdowns in the first three games. Senior quarterback Cayden Cochran has passed for 717 yards and eight scores while junior wide receiver Willie Downs has caught 14 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns.

PANTHERS WILL HAVE TO OVERCOME BLACK SWARM Defensively, VSU surrenders just 8.0 points, 126.7 rushing yards and 194.7 passing yards each contest. The Black Swarm defense has recorded 11.0 sacks and 26.0 tackles for loss and is led by junior linebacker Justin Williams, who counts 5.0 tackles for loss among his 25 tackles on the season. Senior defensive tackle Lawrence Virgil has proven to be disruptive up front as he has tallied 2.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss and forced three fumbles.

Xavier Milton

Xavier Milton

Florida Tech averages 358.2 yards of total offense per game. FIT passes for 233.0 and rushes for 125.2 per contest while scoring 18.3.0 points a game.

Chris Stapleton

Chris Stapleton

Wide receiver Xavier Milton has caught 31 passes for 407 yards and two scores in his first four games while running back Trevor Sand is averaging 69.8 yards per game. Defensively, Florida Tech allows 33.2 points, 205.8 rushing yards and 246.2 passing yards each game.

Chris Stapleton leads the defensive unit as he has 37 tackles on the year, including five for loss. The linebacker has also broken up two passes and forced two fumbles. Fellow linebacker Justin Arcune has 30 tackles, including one for loss, and has both forced and recovered a fumble this season. Valdosta State will offer free live video of the game at http://bit.ly/ValdostaStatefeed.

Jerry Durney and Dave Walkovic will call the game for the Panthers at http://bit.ly/FITportal. Valdosta State will also provide live stats athttp://bit.ly/ValdostaStatestats. Updates will be made throughout the game through Panther Football’s Twitter account, @FLTechFootball ortwitter.com/FLTechFootball.

Live Video: http://bit.ly/ValdostaStatefeed

Live Audio (FIT): http://bit.ly/FITportal Live Stats: http://bit.ly/ValdostaStatestats


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