Mississippi football roundup: Valley rallies, Delta State lets one slip away

Published 12:09 am Sunday, October 3, 2021

ITTA BENA — Mississippi Valley State’s first win of the season was a big one.

Jelani Eason tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Johnson on the final play of the game as Valley stunned North Carolina Central 17-16 on Saturday.

The Delta Devils (1-3) snapped a nine-game losing streak that dated back to the 2019 season by beating a North Carolina Central (2-3) team ranked No. 10 in the country among HBCU programs.

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North Carolina Central (2-3) appeared to have the game in hand after Davius Richard’s 1-yard TD run with 25 seconds left capped a nine-play, 82-yard drive. But Adrian Olivo missed the extra point and the Eagles’ lead stood at 16-10.

Mississippi Valley State began its final drive at the Eagles’ 46-yard line after a 15-yard facemask penalty was tacked on to the end of Donald Johnson’s 25-yard kickoff return. Eason promptly connected with former Port Gibson High School standout Jacory Rankin for a 44-yard gain, setting up the game-tying TD. Orlando Fernandez kicked the extra point to make winners of the Delta Devils.

Eason completed 20 of 27 passes for 175 yards. Caleb Johnson carred 20 times for 71 yards, and Rankin caught seven passes for 80 yards.

Richard was 14-of-25 passing for North Carolina Central, for 198 yards and a TD with one costly interception. The Eagles were leading 10-3 when Volme Swanier picked off a Richard pass on the final play of the first half, returning it 41 yards for a TD and knotting the score at 10.

West Florida 39, Delta State 33
Austin Reed threw three touchdown passes in the second half, including the go-ahead 9-yarder to Shomari Mason with 5:32 remaining, as West Florida (4-0, 1-0 Gulf South Conference) rallied from a 16-point deficit to beat Delta State (2-3, 1-1).

Delta State led 33-17 after Connor Mantelli kicked a 28-yard field goal with 6:24 left in the third quarter. West Florida then scored 22 unanswered points in 11 minutes to take the lead for good.

Reed’s touchdown pass to Mason and a two-point conversion gave the Argonauts a 39-33 lead. Delta State threw an interception on its next possession and then, after getting a pick of its own, turned it over on downs with 34 seconds to go.

Reed finished 13-of-31 passing for 285 yards and four touchdowns. David Durden caught three passes for 117 yards and two TDs, and Mason caught three passes for 54 yards and the one TD.

Delta State quarterback Patrick Shegog completed 32 of 50 passes for 459 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions and was sacked six times. Corintheus Edmonds caught eight passes for 161 yards and one touchdown.

Delta State has lost three games in a row, by a total of 14 points.

Mississippi College 42, North Greenville 21
Mississippi College quarterback DeAnte’ Smith-Moore ran for 110 yards and four touchdowns, and also threw a touchdown pass, as Mississippi College (2-2, 1-1 Gulf South Conference) beat North Greenville (3-2, 0-1).

Mississippi College only threw five passes — Smith-Moore was 3-of-5 for 98 yards — and ran the ball 73 times for 398 yards. Cole Fagan finished with 93 yards on 24 carries, and Marcus Williams had 93 yards on 11 carries.

Josh Miller had six tackles and an interception to lead the Choctaws’ defense.

Millsaps 42, Rhodes College 21
Kaleb Thompson passed for 339 yards and two touchdowns, Byron Phillips added 71 yards and two TDs rushing, and Millsaps College (1-3, 1-0 Southern Athletic Association) earned its first win of the season by beating Rhodes College (1-3, 0-1).

Nic Hayes and Moise Tezzo caught four passes each, and both had more than 100 receiving yards for Millsaps. Tezzo led the team with 114 yards and one touchdown, and Hayes had 107 yards and two touchdowns.

In addition to his big passing day, Thompson had 41 yards and one touchdown rushing. Thompson’s 70-yard touchdown pass to Hayes gave the Majors a 28-7 lead with 57 seconds left in the first half. The pair connected again early in the fourth quarter for a 21-yard TD after Rhodes had scored twice to trim the deficit to 28-21.

Belhaven 42, Texas Lutheran 35
Mayowa Asagunla threw a 24-yard TD pass to Brooks Brymer on the first play of the fourth quarter to put Belhaven ahead, and Brad Foley scored on a 13-yard run later in the quarter to ice the Blazers’ high-scoring win over Texas Lutheran (1-4, 1-3 American Southwest Conference).

Asagunla completed 16 of 20 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns for Belhaven (3-2, 2-2), and ran for 112 yards and a touchdown. Foley finished with 123 yards and one TD, and Kolbe Blunt had 82 yards and a TD. Michael Simpson caught two of Asangunla’s touchdown passes.

Belhaven and Texas Lutheran combined for 974 yards of offense and 51 first downs. Belhaven had 325 rushing yards, and Texas Lutheran ran for 327.

Jacob Forton had 108 yards and three touchdowns on the ground for Texas Lutheran.