Florida Tech Outscored 28-7 in Second Half In 42-14 Gulf South Conference Loss to Valdosta State
By Space Coast Daily // October 29, 2017
TECH dropped to 5-4 overall and 3-3 in the GSC
VALDOSTA, GEORGIA – Florida Tech was unable to build much momentum on offense in its road matchup against Valdosta State and fell to the Blazers 42-14 in Gulf South Conference football on Saturday evening.
FIT, which had a two-game win streak snapped in the loss, dropped to 5-4 overall and 3-3 in the GSC. VSU improved to 4-3 overall and 4-2 in league action. The Panthers were limited to 307 yards of offense, the second fewest of the season, and had three turnovers. Valdosta State racked up 423 yards of offense.
Quarterback Mark Cato completed 11-of-23 pass attempts for 187 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Romell Guerrier caught four passes for 66 yards and a touchdown and Brian Spurgeon, Jr. hauled in two passes for 60 yards. Demetrius Frazier recorded one catch for 25 yards and a touchdown.
Antwuan Haynes led the FIT ground game with 59 yards on 18 carries, while Sekai Lindsay finished with six rushes for 53 yards.
J.T. Hassell notched seven total tackles in the contest, and Evan Thompson had seven tackles including a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Darius Goodman, Adonis Davis, Thierry Lafortune and Ian Pittman collected 0.5 sacks, apiece.
VSU’s Rogan Wells accounted for all six of the Blazers’ touchdowns in the game. The quarterback completed 16-of-27 passes for 238 yards and two scores. Wells also ran for 76 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
Florida Tech took a 7-0 lead at the 4:21 mark of the first quarter when Cato lofted a pass over the VSU defense and connected with Guerrier in stride for a 44-yard catch and run for a touchdown.
The Blazers answered with a pair of short touchdown runs by Wells in the second quarter, including one as time expired in the first half, and grabbed a 14-7 edge heading into halftime.
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Valdosta 14, Florida Tech 7 at the half. The Space Coast Daily–Friday Night Locker Room team of Alan Zlotorzynzki, Steve Wilson and Orville Susong bring you the halftime report live from Valdosta, Georgia, where they are covering the Florida Tech Panthers and Valdosta State Blazers key Gulf South Conference matchup. Florida Tech was outscored 28-7 in the second half in a 42-14 Gulf South Conference loss to Valdosta State on Saturday night.
The second half began with three turnovers in the first few minutes of action. It all started when Troy Gatling fumbled the opening kickoff of the third quarter and it was recovered by VSU at the FIT 22-yard line. Two snaps later, FIT’s Yawn Coleman made a big play in the end zone, picking off Wells and giving the Panthers back the ball.
The momentum gained from Coleman’s play was short-lived as Cato was stripped of the football on a third-down sack on the FIT 37 and it was recovered by VSU’s Sharmaine Washington.
Six plays later, the Blazers scored on a five-yard pass from Wells to Isaiah Johnson and increased their lead to 21-7 with 10:56 left in the third quarter. VSU pushed its advantage to 28-7 on an 11-yard run by Wells later in the third.
The Panthers got back on the board, and cut their deficit in half, at the 10:12 mark of the fourth quarter on a 25-yard strike from Cato to Frazier, who made an impressive catch over his defender in the corner of the end zone.
Following a long kickoff return by VSU, the Blazers drove 48 yards on seven plays and answered the FIT score with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Wells to Tshumbi Johnson with 5:53 remaining. VSU then increased its lead to 42-14 on a two-yard run by Wells with just over two minutes left on the clock.
Florida Tech returns to Panther Stadium next Saturday, Nov. 4, for its final regular season home game against GSC foe West Georgia. The contest is the Panthers’ Homecoming Game and Senior Day. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.
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