DSU finished with 497 yards of offense in its 26-7 victory over ECSU. DSU improved to 1-1, while ECSU fell to 0-2. The Statesmen’s defense also held the Vikings to just 209 yards of offense.
The Statesmen dominated the first half of action. In the first quarter, Trevor Wooden led the way as he completed passes and gained yards running the football. With 3:19 left on the first quarter clock, Wooden connected with Lavon Downs on a 16-yard touchdown pass. The PAT kick from Jack Tharp was blocked, but DSU led 6-0.
Delta State dialed up its intensity in the second quarter. Running back Avery Horn scored the Statesmen’s second touchdown of the game with a seven-yard run. The PAT kick from Andrew Jones was good, and the Statesmen increased their lead to 13-0 with 2:28 left in the first half.
After DSU’s defense quickly forced ECSU to punt, the Statesmen were able to get the ball at their own 18-yard line to begin their final drive of the first half. Wooden did a good job of leading DSU down the field again. As the final seconds ticked off the first half clock, Wooden hit Kevin Jackson on a 31-yard touchdown pass. The kick from Jones was good, and the Statesmen led 20-0 going into the lockerroom at halftime.
In the early portion of the third quarter, the Vikings made a big play on defense as Braxton Daye intercepted a pass from Wooden and returned it 93 yards for a touchdown with 7:15 on the clock. The kick from Brett Symonds was good, and ECSU cut the DSU lead to 20-7.
The Statesmen didn’t let the score from the Vikings trip them up as Richard Freelon marched on two good runs to begin the drive. Delta State moved the ball well again, and with 3:46 left in the third quarter Wooden marched on a one-yard TD run. The kick from Jones was no good, but DSU increased its lead to 26-7.
In the fourth quarter, the Vikings’ offense was able to get down to the DSU 7-yard line, but the Statesmen forced the Vikings to go for a field goal. The Vikings couldn’t put any points on the board, as Symonds missed the 24-yard field goal try to give DSU the ball at its own 20-yard line.
The Statesmen were able to rise to the occasion by keeping the Vikings off the board in the final quarter to secure the win.
Wooden had another good game for DSU as he completed 15-of-30 passes for 239 yards with two touchdowns and interceptions. He also rushed for 98 yards with a touchdown on 17 carries. Freelon had a good game running the ball for DSU by gaining 85 yards on 11 carries, and Jackson did a good job of catching the ball for DSU with three receptions for 94 yards and a TD. Downs led DSU in receptions with five and finished with 43 yards receiving with a touchdown.
On defense, the Statesmen got big contributions from several players. Former East Side standout Montavius Hill recorded a team-high six tackles with two pass break-ups to lead DSU, followed by Deigo Lubin with five tackles including three for a loss and Kenny Barnes and Ixavier Triplett with five tackles in a including a tackle-for-loss each and Derrien Covington with two tackles including a sack.
In the kicking game for DSU, Jones averaged 45.3 yards-per punt on five punts with two going for 50 or more yards and one pinning ECSU at its own 12-yard line. He was also 2-of-3 from PAT kicks.
DSU will have Saturday off and won’t be back in action until Sept. 22 when the Statesmen will host North Alabama for Pig Pickin’ at 6 p.m.