This Week In Gulf South Conference Football, Nov. 11
By Gulf South Conference // November 11, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Half of Saturday’s four-game slate will be shown on ESPN3, as four teams enter the final week of the regular season with a chance to earn at least a share of the 2015 GSC Football Title.
Scenarios exist for as many as four teams finishing tied atop the standings at the end of Saturday.
The league has never experienced a four-way share of the Conference Title, but history could be made if Valdosta State tops Florida Tech and both West Georgia and North Alabama suffer home setbacks. UWG, UNA and FIT each control their Championship destinies, sewing up at least a share of the Title with victories.
The league’s top four teams also have post-season bids in sight with UWG and UNA leading the rankings at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
FIT and VSU are No. 6 and No. 7, respectively, and Saturday’s clash could knock one of them out of the seven-team Super Region Two Playoff field.
West Georgia and North Alabama host in-state rivals with upsets in mind. Shorter travels just over an hour south to Carrollton seeking to even the all-time series versus UWG to 2-2. West Alabama goes to UNA for the 69th all-time meeting between the rivals.
UWA enters at No. 10 in the regional rankings and hopes to impress the selection committee with an upset over the Lions.
Valdosta State shows off its Homecoming by hosting Florida Tech in the “ESPN3 D-II Football Game of the Week.” The ESPN3 crew has plenty of storylines to choose from on Saturday in a clash versus the league’s two hottest teams. FIT has reeled-off six in a row, while VSU has put together a four-game streak. The game can be seen on ESPN3 and on the American Sports Network.
Last, but not least, the GSC-TV finale features the Battle for the Heritage Bell when Mississippi College hosts in-state rival Delta State in the Heritage Bowl.
The rivals restarted their series last year in Cleveland, Miss. and DSU travels to Clinton, Miss. for the first time since 1994. The game is exclusive to ESPN3 and can be accessed at
www.gscsports.org/ESPN3 or the WatchESPN app.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14
Shorter (2-7, 1-5 GSC) @ #7 West Georgia (9-1, 5-1 GSC), 2:00 p.m. ET
Location: University Stadium, Carrollton, Ga.
Series: UWG leads 2-1
Last Meeting: UWG 31, @ SU 17 (2014)
No. 7 West Georgia returns home for the first time in three weeks playing for a share of its first GSC Title since 2000 when in-state foe Shorter comes to Carrollton.
UWG seeks to rebound from its first loss of the season a week ago by staying undefeated inside University Stadium this year. The Wolves are 6-0 at home and face a SU squad trying to put the brakes on a five-game losing skid.
West Georgia grabbed the all-time series lead a year ago, topping the Hawks on the road, 31-17. UWG has never defeated Shorter at home falling in the series opener in 2012, 24-20. Since the loss, the Wolves took a 31-14 road decision in 2013 before last year’s win in Rome, Ga.
Overall, West Georgia has claimed three GSC Titles, sharing the crown in 1997, 1998 and 2000 and it can wrap up the No. 1 regional playoff seed with a win.
West Alabama (7-3, 3-3 GSC) @ #15 North Alabama (7-2, 5-1 GSC), 1:30 p.m. CT
Location: Braly Municipal Stadium, Florence, Ala.
Series: UNA leads 50-17-1
Last Meeting: UNA 24, @ UWA 16 (2014)
No. 15 North Alabama hosts in-state rival West Alabama in the 69th all-time meeting dating back to 1949.
UNA has GSC Title and NCAA Playoff aspirations on the line, entering Saturday tied for first in the league standings and ranking No. 2 in the Super Region Two poll.
The Lions own a 50-17-1 edge in the series, led by back-to-back triumphs. UWA has won three of last seven matchups, including its last win inside Braly Municipal Stadium in 2009 when the Tigers outlasted the Lions in four overtimes, 31-28.
North Alabama can sew up a share of its third consecutive GSC crown which would extend its Conference Championship record to 12. UNA also won three straight titles from 1993-95.
“ESPN3 D-II FOOTBALL GAME OF THE WEEK”
Florida Tech (7-3, 5-1 GSC) @ #18 Valdosta State (7-2, 4-2 GSC), 3:00 p.m. ET (Homecoming)
Location: Bazemore-Hyder Stadium, Valdosta, Ga.
Series: VSU leads 2-0
Last Meeting: VSU 31, @ FIT 29 (2014)
GSC Championship and NCAA Playoff bids are up for grabs when Florida Tech journeys to No. 18 Valdosta State in the “ESPN3 D-II Football Game of the Week.”
FIT is in the driver’s seat to claim its first GSC crown and its first berth into the NCAA Playoffs, as the Panthers enter tied for first in the league standings and hold the No. 6 spot in the Super Region Two poll. VSU has the same aspirations, entering Saturday at No. 7 in the regional poll.
The Blazers also have a path to capturing its seventh GSC Title, but they need a win over FIT and losses by West Georgia and North Alabama.
Valdosta State is 2-0 all-time against Florida Tech, posting a 52-14 triumph at home in the series opener in 2013, followed by a 31-29 thriller in Melbourne, Fla. a year ago.
The league’s longest winning streaks are on the line, as FIT has reeled off six straight and VSU four in a row.
“FLORIDA’S SPACE COAST GSC-TV ON ESPN3”
Delta State (5-5, 1-5 GSC) @ Mississippi College (2-7, 0-6 GSC), 3:00 p.m. CT
Location: Robinson-Hale Stadium, Clinton Miss.
Series: DSU leads 18-15-2
Last Meeting: @ DSU 27, MC 3 (2014)
The 2015 GSC-TV finale features its first-ever broadcast of the Heritage Bowl rivalry between host Mississippi College and Delta State.
MC hosts the battle for Heritage Bell for the first time since 1994. The series dates back to 1935, but the rivals faced off as GSC members from 1972-95 before MC returned to the league a year ago. DSU owns an 18-15-2 all-time advantage, but the schools battled to an 11-11-1 series tie as GSC members from 1973-95.
The Choctaws host the rivalry for the first time since 1994 and they seek their first home win over the Statesmen since 1992. Delta State has won three in a row over Mississippi College thanks to wins in 1994, 1995 and 2014.
GSC FOOTBALL–WEEK IN REVIEW
The race for the 2015 GSC Football Title remains wide open entering the final week of the regular season with four teams still alive for at least a share of the championship.
West Georgia traveled to Florida Tech in Saturday’s GSC-TV Game of the Week, seeking at least a share of the Conference Crown, but the Panthers had different plans, upsetting the No. 1 Wolves, 28-26.
FIT scored all the points it needed in the first half, entering the locker room with a 28-6 advantage, led by a pair of touchdown catches by tight end Gabe Hughes.
UWG’s defense pitched a shutout in the final 30 minutes, allowing the offense to pull within two points early in the fourth quarter, but the Wolves could not move into field goal range on their final drive.
North Alabama kept pace for at least a share of the league crown, earning a 28-7 win atShorter. All 35 points were scored in the first half, capped by 14 unanswered by the Lions in the second quarter. UNA running back Lamonte Thompson’s 132-yard effort made him the first UNA player to rush for over 1,000 yards since 1997.
Valdosta State and Delta State thrilled the crowd in Cleveland, Miss. playing in the GSC’s first triple-overtime game since 2009 as VSU outlasted DSU, 40-34.
The Statesmen forced overtime by closing regulation with 14 unanswered points. The rivals traded TDs in the first overtime and fumbles in the second extra frame. Blazers’ running back Cedric O’Neal found paydirt in triple overtime and the Valdosta State defense forced a fumble to end the Statesmen’s drive and the game. O’Neal ran for 190 yards to become VSU’s all-time leading rusher.
West Alabama played its way back into the post-season conversation, dodging a loss in its home finale via a 14-13 triumph over Mississippi College.
MC entered the final 15 minutes with a 13-7 edge before UWA’s Rashaad Lee ran 33 yards for the go-ahead TD with 11:28 left to play.
The Choctaws took the field with 1:12 left to play, but the Tigers’ defense held MC to negative yardage and sewing up the result.