The Valdosta State Blazers are back to work this week after their commanding 32-7 win over Southern Arkansas on Saturday night.
The win on Saturday night was one of the most impressive defensive games in school history; the Blazers held Southern Arkansas to only 39 yards of total offense. However, the Blazers face a much tougher opponent this week in what will be their first game away from Bazemore-Hyder Stadium in 2009, when they travel to Arkadelphia Ark., to face the Ouachita Baptist Tigers.
In their first two games, the Ouachita Baptist Tigers have outscored their opponents by a score of 100 to 20. The Tigers have made it clear that they can score and they can do it well. The Tigers do not wait long to score either. Out of the 100 points they have scored this season, 83 have been scored in either the first or second quarter, which allows the starters to rest throughout the second half. This means they should be well rested entering the game on Saturday night against the Blazers. The Blazers are going to have to come out and be ready for a fast-paced start.
“We got to set the tone,” said Blazer quarterback Kellen Lewis. “We have to come out excited.”
Although the Blazers, defensive showing on Saturday night stole the show, the offense wasn’t too bad either. The offense racked up 361 yards of total offense in the win against Southern Arkansas, as they were led by Kellen Lewis and Michael Brown, who combined for 263 yards of the offensive production.
Although the Tigers’ offense has stolen much of the show in their first two games because of all the scoring, the defense deserves some of the fame. The Tigers’ defense has forced and recovered five fumbles in their first two games along with forcing two interceptions.
The Tigers’ defense is allowing fewer than 300 yards of offense up a game, which gives opposing offenses limited opportunities to score. This could pose a problem for the Blazers, who have turned the ball over eight times in just two games.
“If you can win the turnover margin you can win the game,” said Lewis. “We just have to get more turnovers than we give away; then we should be good.”
Early on in the season, the Tigers’ offense has been led by the play of junior quarterback Eli Cranor, who is 20 of 31 for 333 yards and five touchdowns. Cranor has yet to turn the ball over and last week he seemed to have found himself a new favorite receiver in Jamie Harris, who caught four passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns.�
“He (Harris) has just got a great ability to get open,” said VSU head coach David Dean. “We’re not going to concentrate on stopping just him; we have to concentrate on stopping them as a whole.”
The game versus Ouachita Baptist is Saturday night at 8 p.m. and can be heard on Talk 92.1 FM Valdosta.