Statesmen looking to clinch share of GSC Title
by Donell Maxie
Nov 13, 2013 | 1644 views | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Delta State University Statesmen is in a tough situation as the season draws to a close.

The Statesmen, at 7-2 with a 4-1 record in the Gulf South Conference, are currently ranked No. 8 in the Super Two Region poll, despite riding a four game win streak.

Thursday night, the Statesmen will take on the West Georgia Wolves, at 5-5 and 2-3 GSC in Carrolton, Ga. in the GSC-TV Live Game of the Week.

With a win over West Georgia the Statesmen will claim a share of the Gulf South Conference Title, which would be the team's seventh league championship in school history and the fifth league title in seven years.

In addition to winning Thursday's game, the Statesmen will also be watching several important contests this week, which could have a bearing on their playoff fate.

The NCAA will announce the field of 24 teams for the Division II Football Championship Playoff at 5 p.m. Sunday.

"We knew this game was coming,” DSU head coach Todd Cooley said. “When we defeated Valdosta two weeks ago we knew this was going to be a championship game. We are excited about this game, and we know it's going to be a tough game up there in Carrolton, Ga. It's going to be tough to go on the road, but when you are trying to win championships you have to do tough things.”

Cooley said the team is in a really good state and each week they are getting better.

"Our focus has been really good and we are excited about where we are. I think if we handle our business on Thursday we should be in the playoffs. We will be conference champions in one of the toughest conferences in Division II football, our strength of schedule is pretty high, I feel like we've played four ranked opponents and beaten three of them. We only had four home games and we are 4-0 at home. We've had to do things on the road and we have," said Cooley.

With all of that Cooley added he also believes it's important when selecting teams for the playoffs to consider how they finished the season.

"If we pull this off Thursday we would have won five straight and I think that's important because we are peaking and playing our best football at the right time,” Cooley said. “I think we should be in if we in, but it's not left up to me. All we can do is control what we can control and that's practice and the game Thursday.”

The Statesmen enter Thursday's game with West Georgia coming off a 77-0 win over Concordia College. The 77 points were the most scored by the Statesmen since Delta State's 84-0 victory over Illinois-Chicago in 1969 at Parker Field-McCool Stadium.

West Georgia is coming off a 63-23 lost to West Texas A&M.

Despite the loss last week, Cooley believes the Wolves are formidable and pose a serious threat to a defense.

"They are really good offensively,” Cooley said. “They are a lot like Shorter, but from the shotgun. They run a lot of triple option concepts from the shotgun. They have a lot of speed and two quarterbacks that have played a lot of football for them and are dangerous in their own right.”

When thinking about West Georgia the one thing that really concerns Cooley is the speed of the Wolves on offense.

"They are really fast and that will be our challenge,” Cooley said. “We have to take away that first read on that option stuff and then we have to be able to be there and rally and make tackles in space. They present problems to everybody. The thing that has really hurt them this year has been turnovers and hopefully for us they continue to do that.”

Kickoff for Thursday is set for 6:30 p.m.