When the season begins, every team has the same goal: win the conference and win a national championship.
For the No. 7 VSU Blazers, one of those goals has already been accomplished, as the famed red and black earned at least a share of the Gulf South Conference championship with a 31-13 victory over the West Georgia Wolves this past Saturday.
“Our guys want the Gulf South Conference solely in their name, they don’t want to share it with anybody,” Head Coach David Dean said. “You can tell that in the locker room after the game (on Saturday), you can tell by their practice this week.”
As for the goal of winning the national championship, a win tonight can nearly lock VSU into the second seed in the region, which would place VSU just four wins away from winning their third title since 2004, as they would receive a bye week when the playoffs begin next weekend.
It will also mean a home game on Thanksgiving weekend and the ability to possibly host playoff games past the second round.
“It’s good pressure,” Offensive lineman Lance Helton said. “It’s something that not many teams get to say. We get to control our own destiny and that’s a good feeling to have.”
However, when the Blazers take the field in Livingston, Ala., they will be facing several obstacles, which include UWA quarterback Deion Williams, who transferred to West Alabama after being redshirted during his one season with VSU.
Despite the Tigers 6-4 record, Williams has been a bright spot for UWA throughout the year, as he passed for more than 3,100 yards this season and has 23 passing touchdowns, along with over 275 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns.
Although Williams’ passing statistics are what stand out, it is his ability to avoid taking a sack and extending plays that has the opposing coaching staff scratching their heads.
“(West Alabama) is a little different with what they do offensively,” Dean said. “When you get back there to get (Williams), somehow he slips out there and he runs so well. He is probably the best running quarterback we’ve faced.”
Earlier this season, Williams led the Tigers to 523 yards of offense in a losing effort against Delta State. Last weekend, it was Williams who helped West