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Courtesy of Delta State Athletics

ncaa_football_logoALBANY, Ga. – After falling behind 7-0 to Albany State, the Statesmen (10-3) of Delta State University scored 28 unanswered points to defeat the previously unbeaten Golden Rams (11-1) Saturday afternoon at ASU Coliseum. With the win, the Statesmen advance to the NCAA Semifinals. DSU will face Shepherd University (11-2), who defeated Mercyhurst 49-14 to advance to next week’s game.

“I’m so proud of the effort our guys gave today to make the adjustments needed to come away with the win,” DSU head coach Ron Roberts. “Offensively, we made the plays in the second half to take control of the game and our defense held a very good ASU offense to very little as the afternoon drew out.”

The start of the game did not look good for the Statesmen, as ASU took an early 7-0 lead on the first drive of the game. The Golden Rams marched 74 yards in 4:14 as Stanley Jennings found Ronnie Childs on a 35-yard touchdown. Brandon Hamilton tacked on the extra point.

It would be the last time ASU would find the end zone.

After the Statesmen sputtered out of the gate offensively and ASU forced a punt, the DSU defense bristled on the next Rams drive, forcing Jennings to throw up a questionable pass that defensive end Matt Melton picked-off and returned to the ASU 23-yard line. Micah Davis connected with LJ Castile for the 12-yard touchdown three plays later to tie the game at 7-7 with 4:33 to go in the first.

Both teams would play through a scoreless second quarter, as the half ended knotted at seven.

In the second half, DSU took advantage of several ASU miscues to outscore the Golden Rams 21-0. After the ASU defense had forced the Statesmen to punt on the first possession of the second half, a fumbled punt return by Janell Jones set the Statesmen up with a first-and-goal at the ASU 4-yard line. Todd Bradford recovered the miscue by Jones.

On the very next play, Trevar Deed punched it into the endzone to take a 14-7 lead with 13:18 remaining in the third. The touchdown gave the Phoenix, Ariz., native 43 career touchdowns to become DSU’s career scoring leader with 258 points.

With 5:12 left in the third, Deed hauled in a 6-yard swing pass and rumbled into the endzone to put the Statesmen up 21-7. The play capped the longest drive of the game for DSU, as the Statesmen went 75-yard on six plays in 2:29.

DSU put the final nail in the proverbial column for ASU, as Brandon Lucas scored the second rushing touchdown of the day for the Statesmen from 12-yards out for the 28-7 lead. The drive covered 61 yards on six plays in 3:31.

The Statesmen defense made it stand up, holding the Golden Rams scoreless in the fourth to preserve the 28-7 win.

DSU finished the day with 348 yards of total offense on 66 plays, including 156 yards rushing. The Statesmen held the ASU “Gold Rush” offense to 307 yards on the day, while shutting down their power run game to the tune of 104 yards on 33 carries.

Delta State’s Micah Davis became the school’s single-season completions leader, going 21-of 29 for 192 yards with a pair of touchdowns and one interception. He moved into second place in a single-season for pass attempts.

Lucas led the Statesmen to 80 yards on nine carries with a score. Deed added 56 yards on 10 carries including a rushing and receiving touchdown.

Chance Dennis led the Statesmen with 73 yards receiving on five grabs with Deed adding 18 yards on five receptions as well.

Jerry Barnes led all DSU defenders with seven tackles. Garrett Williams added four tackles, while seven Statesmen chipped in with three tackles apiece.

ASU’s Stanley Jennings suffered his worst passing day of the year, completing 12-of-27 passes for 181 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Robert Welton led the Golden Rams with 66 yards rushing on 12 carries, while Ronnie Childs led all receivers with 119 yards and a touchdown on five receptions.

Jamarkus Gaskins led all defenders with 12 tackles, one sack and 2.0 tackles-for-loss. Mario Fuller also recorded double-digit stops with 11.

The Statesmen advance to the NCAA Division II Football Championship Semifinals for the third time in school history and will face Shepherd University (11-2) on Saturday, Dec. 11. The game will be televised by CBS College Sports and kickoff is slated for either 2 or 6 p.m. EST. The site of the game has yet to be determined.


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