West Georgia used a 398 yard passing performance by Dallas Dickey to defeat the Tuskegee Golden Tigers Saturday by a score of 35-6. Dallas was 16-of-24 and also threw for three touchdowns to three different receivers for the second time this year. This was a history day for him, and the university as a whole. His performance was fourth all time in passing yards in West Georgia history (only 19 yards behind 1st all time), and was a University Stadium record.
Another record that was broken Saturday was attendance at University Stadium. 9,011 people attended the game, nearly 2,000 more than the first round match-up vs Valdosta. I was very fortunate enough to be able to record stats and information from the press box. I would like to thank Matt Cooke of the UWG athletic department for that wonderful opportunity.
Just two days after coaching his team to a second consecutive Super Region 2 Conference Title, Coach Will Hall was named AFCA DII Region 2 Coach of the Year. This award places Hall on the ballot for 2015 National Coach of the Year as well.
The game started out in a negative way for the Wolves, as they fumbled for the 25th time this season, and Tuskegee recovered on the UWG 33-yard line. Shortly after, Tuskegee’s 6’6 quarterback Kevin Lacy used his length to rush from one yard for the score. This put the Golden Tigers up 6-0. The extra point was blocked by Marcus Sayles for his 7th of the year, propelling him into 1st nationally in that category.
Lamarcus Franks was injured on that first UWG drive on the second play of the game. He took a handoff from Dallas and was hit hard by a Tuskegee defender. Franks stayed down for a couple minutes before being helped to the sideline. He later emerged back onto the field with crutches. This would be a huge loss for the UWG offense as Lamarcus is third in rushing behind Jackson and Dickey.
After the TU score, West Georgia then mounted a short drive of their own. It lasted 5 plays and only took a minute and 50 seconds off the clock. It was capped off by Dickey’s first passing touchdown of the day. This one took place on what looked to be a boot leg as Dickey scrambled to the right, then looked back left and hit a wide open Brandon Walton, a redshirt freshman, for the 35-yard score. The Hunter Heck PAT made the score 7-6 with 8:24 left in the 1st quarter. Dickey ended the 1st quarter with over 100 passing yards (149).
Dallas Dickey was asked to comment on his successful day in the post-game press conference.
“We had some shots dialed in. We got lucky and fortunate enough to hit them. We had some great protection by the O-line, and a great job by the receivers making some big plays after the catch. We have worked as a unit in the passing game, and that is how success is made there (in the passing game).”
This brings up some guys that I have hardly talked about this year. The West Georgia offensive line has been nothing short of spectacular throughout the course of the season. They look like a division 1 line, regarding their size.
The left tackle, Dominique Robertson, is a junior who stands 6’5, and weighs 306 pounds. The senior left guard, Orion Awa-Dubose, is 6’1 and weighs 294 pounds. The sophomore Center, Harley Vaughan, stands 6’3 and weighs 292 pounds. Jodece Smith is a senior that plays right guard, and he is 6’2 and weighs 328 pounds. Lastly, the right tackle is Austin Kastl, who is a junior. He stands 6’5 and weighs 292 pounds.
Backing them up are some guys with some serious size as well. Quintin Bange is a redshirt freshman who stands an enormous 6’7 and weighs 334 pounds. There are multiple guys on the second team units who are also upwards up 6’4 and 300 pounds. These guys are huge, and have been a vital part of the offense this year.
After the first West Georgia score, the defense came out with something to prove after they had given up a touchdown their first time out. They did their job and forced TU to punt it back to the offense.
Coach Hall wasted no time getting the ball back into the air as Qa Walker scampered 66 yards for a score just two plays after they took over. Qa made a couple guys miss in the middle of the field, then exploded down the far sideline for the score. This was Dickey’s second passing score of the day. After the successful PAT, the score was 14-6.
A couple minutes ran off the clock and the two teams went into the half with a score of 14-6.
The defense also produced a turnover in that first half. David Singleton picked off a Kevin Lacy pass in the red zone with 6:42 to go in the second quarter. UWG could not capitalize, and was forced to punt.
Hunter Heck missed a 37-yard field goal in the first half, making him 11-13 on the year.
Devontae Jackson found the end zone in the third quarter for his 8th rushing score of the year. This came with 3:57 left in the quarter, and made the score 21-6 after the PAT.
This was the 58th touchdown on the year for the Wolves, which was a new single-season school record.
The UWG defense then forced another turnover when Tuskegee was in West Georgia territory. Carlos Hutton intercepted Kevin Lacy with 12:52 left in the game. This gave the ball to the offense on their own 11-yard line.
“Our coaches gave us a fairly easy game plan, and that was to play as physical as possible, and we won the day by doing that,” said Carlos.
After completions of 32 and 55 yards, UWG was set up for another score. Devontae ran this one in again, and this made the score 28-6 early in the fourth quarter.
Coach Hall dialed up one last big play for the offense, and his seniors executed perfectly. Dickey took a 5 step drop and delivered a 40-yard bomb to a diving Shaq Hall in the endzone. This finished off scoring for the day, with the PAT making the score 35-6.
Devontae Jackson ended the day with 71 yards and two scores on 16 carries, making him 19 yards short of being the first freshman in UWG history to rush for 1,000 yards.
Two receivers were over 100 yards on the day as sophomore Qa Walker had 3 receptions for 153 yards and senior Shaq Hall had 7 catches for 141 yards. Each receiver also had a touchdown.
After the only Tuskegee score, which they only had to go 33 yards for, The UWG defense was outstanding. They had 13 tackles for loss on the day to go with 5 sacks. Two were by sophomore Jermaine Morris, and the other three came from Chris Rabb, Gabe Freeman, and Marion Chapman. One drive, UWG had three sacks in a row.
The stout UWG defense, now ranked 2nd in the nation in terms of points per game, only gave up 146 total yards with only 27 coming on the ground. Tuskegee’s running back, a Michigan transfer, is not used to being held to that low. He rushed for more than 88 yards in the last four games coming into Saturday.
Dickey dismantled a defense that had 23 interceptions this season, 5 of which were returned for touchdowns. The leading tackler on their defense coming into the game was Jewell Ratliff, with a whopping 136 tackles as well as 5 interceptions. Dickey did not throw a single INT Saturday, and threw double the amount of completions than incompletions.
Saturday was a homecoming for one of the Tuskegee coaches. Linebacker coach Forrest Jackson was an all GSC linebacker in his days at UWG, as well as a team captain.
This made it the second year in a row that Will Hall’s Wolves eliminated Willie Slater’s Golden Tigers. Slater won three national championships in a row from 1993-1995 as an offensive coordinator at North Alabama. After the game, Slater had high praises for Will Hall and UWG…
“That is definitely the best team we have played all year. I think they are actually the best team in the country.”
This win advances UWG to the national semi-finals for the second consecutive year. Last year, they were eliminated by the eventual champions, Colorado State-Pueblo. This year, they will face the nation’s top defense in Northwest Missouri State (points per game).
The game will take place in Maryville, Missouri on Saturday at 3:30 (EST). Northwest Missouri State came into the tournament the overall number one ranked team in the nation and now they are champions of Super Region 3. Last Saturday, they defeated Emporia State for a second time by a score of 38-17. NWMS is a perfect 13-0 on the year.
The Wolves have not scored less than 27 all year, but points will not come easy this Saturday as NWMS only allows 11.9 points per game.
The offense is very explosive as well. The Bearcats put up 59 and 69 back to back weeks in the regular season, and 54 and 38 the first two games in the playoffs.
NWMS is used to winning on this stage. They are 8-1 all time in semi-final games, and a perfect 7-0 at home in those games. The last semi-final win came December 24th, 2013 against Grand Valley State. The Bearcats then went on to win the National Championship that year.
The other semi-final match-up will be between #6 Grand Valley State and #1 Shepherd. Grand Valley State is coming off a huge 31-7 win over CSU-Pueblo, and Shepherd is coming off a 28-16 win over Slippery Rock.
West Georgia will have to travel to Maryville, Missouri just like they did last year to Pueblo, Colorado. UWG’s only loss this year came after a long road trip to Melbourne, Florida. Hopefully, this trip will not affect the players.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and will kick off at 3:30 EST.
Here is a link to the updated 2015 Division II Playoff Bracket.
Here is a link to ticket purchasing details for the game for those of you who are making the drive to Missouri.
Go West, Go Wolves!