Top-ranked West Georgia continued its perfect season Saturday with a 38-21 win over Mississippi College. The game was in the midst of a thunderstorm, so the Wolves looked to their ground game for most of their offensive production. The plan proved to be successful as the offense rushed for over 300 yards for the second consecutive week.
Lamarcus Franks led the UWG backfield on the day with 20 carries for 109 yards and two scores. This is his second 100-yard game on the year; the other came against Valdosta State October 10th. This week, Franks took most of the workload from redshirt freshman Devontae Jackson, but Jackson was still a strong force throughout the game.
Jackson finished with 90 yards rushing on only 6 carries, but he was most dominant in the return game. He had three returns for 121 yards. Devontae received GSC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance. A title that UWG players have claimed 4 out of the first 9 weeks of the season.
West Georgia received the opening kickoff and took the ball down the field with ease. Just a minute and 52 seconds after the game started, sophomore receiver Qa Walker of West Georgia caught a 46-yard bomb from Dallas Dickey that put UWG up 6-0. This was the only passing score of the day for the Wolves. After the Heck PAT, UWG was up 7-0.
Mississippi College then used an impressive drive of their own, moving the ball 78 yards over a span of 8 plays. Their drive was also finished off by a long passing touchdown (27 yards). After their score and PAT, the score was 7-7.
Devontae Jackson then had his best return of the day on the ensuing kickoff. His 79-yard return Gave UWG the ball on the MC 20. Dickey’s job was easy on this drive as all he did was hand the ball to Lamarcus Franks for two plays. Franks ran it for 15 yards on the first play and 4 more on the second. This should have been his first rushing score of the day but he fumbled into the endzone and Shaq Hall recovered for the Wolves. After the score and Heck PAT, the score was 14-7.
MC drove down inside the UWG 20 on the next drive, but the strong UWG defense held on fourth down giving the ball back to Dickey and the Wolves.
West Georgia then drove down inside the MC 20 and also turned the ball over. This was by way of fumble, which is uncharacteristic for UWG.
MC pulled out the trickery on the next play, scoring on a 71-yard reverse pass from Walker Meadows to Marcel Newson. After this touchdown, the score was all tied up at 14 with 14:39 left in the 2nd.
UWG then pulled away from Mississippi College, scoring 24 unanswered points. The first touchdown came from Lamarcus Franks capping off a 9-play, 70 yard drive with 10:36 left in the first half. This ended scoring for the half, and UWG went into the locker room with a 21-14 lead.
Dickey put the Wolves on the board again with 9:49 left in the third. He used his legs to rumble into the endzone from 19 yards out. This was his longest rush of the day, and one of his 9 carries for 64 yards. The TD finished a 7-play, 77-yard drive. This score and Hunter Heck PAT made the score 28-14 in favor of West Georgia.
West Georgia’s phenomenal kicker, junior Hunter Heck, scored the next points for West Georgia. Heck hit a 37-yard field goal, his 10th of the year. Heck is 10-of-10 on the year and is the only division II kicker who has not yet missed. He received GSC Special Teams Player of the Week honors week 2 vs Miles for his perfect 3-for-3 performance.
With 11:41 left in the fourth quarter, Lamarcus Franks scored his second rushing touchdown of the day. They were set-up with excellent field position from an interception by senior Jamaree James. This drive was only 4 plays and 21 yards. Hunter Heck then made the score 38-14.
The last score of the day was from a muffed punt that MC picked up and ran in. The rain may have affected UWG Saturday a little more than a UWG fan would like to admit. The wolves uncharacteristically had 4 fumbles, 2 of which they lost.
They still managed to put up 415 total yards on the day, though. Dickey finished 4-of-10 for 96 yards with a score on the ground and through the air. This is lowest outing for Dickey in terms of passing yards all year. One could safely say the rain definitely had an effect on the UWG passing game as well.
In the first half, West Georgia gave up 235 yards of total offense to a poor offense in Mississippi College. 178 came through the air and 57 on the ground. The half time speech must have been one for the books because in the second half the defense was near perfect. They allowed just 63 yards of offense and the only points given up came from a special teams error.
Junior Laronji Vason led the charge on defense with 10 tackles. The interception came from senior Jamaree James, who also had 6 tackles and a fumble recovery. Alex Armah had the only UWG sack of the day. He and Dylan Donahue continue to battle for the title for team-leading. The defense allowed only 4-of-16 3rd down attempts to be successful.
UWG fans have probably been wondering when their team would have a down week. Luckily for those fans, that game came this past Saturday vs Mississippi College rather than this Saturday @ Florida Tech.
Florida Tech is no team to look over; they are 6-3 overall and 4-1 in GSC play. If they were to find a way to beat UWG and Valdosta State next week, then they would have the tiebreaker vs UWG going into the conference championship as both teams would have only 1 conference loss (assuming UWG beats Shorter).
The Wolves will also have roughly an 8 hour drive to Melbourne Saturday. Unfortunately, Division II rules state that a team must be more than 8 hours and 30 minutes for the away team to be able to fly in for the game. Hopefully, this has no effect on the players. Not only that, but this is UWG’s first ever trip to Melbourne. The past two meetings have come in Carrollton.
I believe the Wolves will come out strong and defeat Florida Tech by a score of 41-21. They have something to prove after their down week @ Mississippi College, a team with only two wins on the year.