DSU guts out 37-34 win over UNA
by Donell Maxie
Sep 24, 2013 | 835 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Delta State's Travis Champion prepares to throw a pass against the North Alabama Lions Saturday in Florence. Champion completed 40-of-52 passes for 450 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions to lead DSU to a 37-34 victory.
Delta State's Travis Champion prepares to throw a pass against the North Alabama Lions Saturday in Florence. Champion completed 40-of-52 passes for 450 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions to lead DSU to a 37-34 victory.
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Delta State Freshman kicker Vince Sciorrotta came through in the clutch for the Statesmen Saturday at Braly Stadium in Florence, Ala.

The Cumming, GA. native had the game come down to his left foot and he didn't disappoint as he ended a roller coaster contest by nailing a 31-yard field goal to lift the Statesmen to a 37-34 win over North Alabama.

"I am just so proud of them. We never quit, we just don't quit," said an emotional Todd Cooley, Delta State head coach.

The Statesmen offense put up 602 yards of offense (450 yards passing and 152 yards rushing). The Statesmen compiled 28 first downs in the win.

The Statesmen improved to 2-1 overall with a 1-0 mark in Gulf South Conference play. North Alabama fell to 1-2 with a 0-1 mark in GSC play.

The Statesmen defense had a strong showing, particularly in the first half. North Alabama came into the game averaging 263 rushing yards, but the stingy DSU defense held the Lions to just 49 rushing yards.

The Statesmen offensive line allowed one sack on the night. Last week against Texas A & M Commerce the line gave up nine sacks.

The Statesmen struck first in the contest as quarterback Travis Champion led a 10 play, 42-yard drive, which resulted in a 32-yard field goal from Sciorrotta for a 3-0 Statesmen lead with 10:08 remaining in the opening quarter.

The DSU defense stood strong and forced a punt and the offense repaid the favor on third down with nine yards to go as Champion connected with Casey Osborne for an 84-yard touchdown pass with 4:58 left in the quarter. Sciorrotta added the point after for a 10-0 DSU lead.

In the second quarter the Statesmen had a chance to add more points, but Sciorrotta's 23-yard field goal attempt missed, but the Statesmen still held their 10-0 lead.

It would be a special teams melt down that gave North Alabama hope as UNA's Levi Fell blocked Justin Holt's punt and the Lions recovered on the Statesmen four-yard line.

Two plays later Chris Coffey scored from two-yards out with 10:35 left in the first half. Michael Schuster added the extra point for a 10-7 game.

A 72-yard touchdown pass from Champion to Ricky Hunt and extra point from Sciorrotta gave the Statesmen a 17-7 lead with 9:56 left in the first half.

Delta State stopped UNA again, but on the next play Floyd Jones intercepted DSU's Michael Davison to stop the Statesmen scoring threat.

The Statesmen defense responded immediately as DSU's David Evans hit UNA's Diamond Simmons and forced a fumble and recovered it to give the ball back to the offense.

With the ball, DSU managed to add a field goal for a 20-7 lead, which they would take to the locker room at halftime.

The UNA defense came out strong to start the third quarter as Philbert Martial intercepted Champion's pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown with 13:53 left on the clock. Schuster added the point after for a 20-14 game.

The UNA defense wasn't done as Brion James intercepted a Champion pass on the Delta State's next possession and returned it 53-yards for the score with 8:46 left in the third quarter. The kick after failed, but UNA had tied the game at 20-20.

With 11:16 remaining in the fourth quarter, Champion exercised his early deamons and connected with Osborne for an 11-yard touchdown pass capping off an 11 play, 77-yard drive. Sciorotta added the point after for a 27-20 DSU lead.

UNA responded with a three play, 57-yard drive capped off by a 50-yard touchdown pass from Luke Wingo to Jason Smith with 9:56 left in the game. Will Craig added the point after to tie the game at 27-27.

The Lions forced a punt from the Statesmen and responded on offence with a five play, 80-yard drive to take the lead with a 36-yard pass from Wingo to Smith. Craig added the point after for a 34-27 UNA lead.

The Statesmen bounced back to tie the game at 34-34 off an eight yard pass from Champion to Osborne with 2:45 left in regulation. The drive was 11 plays, 75-yard drive.

After forcing UNA to punt, DSU put together eight plays, 43-yard drive that ended with a 31-yard field goal from Sciorrotta give the Statesmen the victory.

Champion finished the night completing 40-of-52 passes for 450 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Hunt caught 13 passes for 146 yards with a touchdown, Osborne had six catches for 116 yards with three touchdowns, Patrick Bethley had eight catches for 53 yards and Timothy Foy added 65 yards on 18 carries.

The Statesmen will be back in action against Florida Institute of Technology at 6 p.m. Saturday at Parker Field-McCool Stadium.