Valdosta State knocks out Delta State in D-II playoffs

Published 12:32 pm Sunday, November 26, 2023

CLEVELAND, Miss. — An outstanding football season for Delta State ended in a stunning way.

B.K. Smith caught a 24-yard touchdown pass with 9 seconds left to give Valdosta State a 38-31 victory over Delta State in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs on Saturday.

Valdosta State (12-1) avenged its only loss of the season and advanced to play Lenoir-Rhyne in the quarterfinals on Dec. 2. Delta State won the Gulf South Conference championship, but finished with a 10-2 record.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am

Delta State reached the second round for the second year in a row, but has not been deeper than that since reaching the semifinals in 2011.

Delta State had beaten Valdosta State, its GSC rival, 49-25 in October.

The Statesmen erased a 14-point deficit in the first half to take a 31-28 lead on Nick Herber’s 18-yard field goal with 7:58 left in the game. Valdosta State tied it on Estin Thiele’s 39-yard field goal with 2:42 to go, then forced a three-and-out and a short punt to get the ball back near midfield with 43 seconds remaining.

Blazers quarterback Sammy Edwards completed two passes to Rodney Bullard for quick first downs, then the 24-yarder to Smith for the game-winning touchdown. Smith put a hand on the ground to brace himself and then shook a tackle to get to the end zone.

Edwards finished 34-of-46 passing for 346 yards and two touchdowns, and added 50 rushing yards and a TD. Bullard caught 10 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.

For Delta State, quarterback Patrick Shegog was only 9-of-15 passing for 106 yards and one touchdown, but ran for a game-high 122 yards and another TD. Christian Malloy had 61 total yards and two rushing touchdowns as the Statesmen finished with 223 rushing yards as a team. They had 417 in the earlier meeting with Valdosta.