The Blazers fought hard through two overtime periods to silence the Bulldog fans at home in Wingate.
Austen Roberts scored the game winning touchdown in double overtime to give No. 20 VSU a 34-28 victory over No.14 Wingate at Irwin Belk Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The hard-fought game concluded when Roberts faked a hand off to running back Theseus Jackson and scrambled up field untouched to the end zone.
“That’s a play where I knew I had the opportunity to do it. It’s one of those moments in your life you’ll never forget about,” Roberts said.
Last Saturday, VSU opened up their 2011 season with a win on the road for the first time since 2006.
Wingate quarterback Cody Haffly started the game by connecting on an 11 yard touchdown pass to receiver Josh Clawson. The Bulldogs ended the first quarter with a seven point lead.
Shortly after the second period began, once Wingate got the ball after a VSU three and out, Haffly found receiver Chris Bowden for a 94 yard touchdown.
Wingate would double their score and go up 14-0 early in the second but the Blazers made sure to strike back on their next possession.
Head Coach David Dean didn’t say much at this time. He decided to stand patiently waiting to see how his team would respond to the early malfunction.
“Those guys didn’t lose any confidence. They were still focused. So there wasn’t a whole lot of panic in our guys,” Dean said.
In nine plays, the Blazers finally showed signs of urgency, Jackson scored on an 11 yard touchdown run cutting the lead in half. The second quarter ended 14-7 Wingate.
VSU received the second half opening kickoff.
On that same possession, VSU’s running attack dominated this drive and it carried them all the way down the field until Roberts punched in a 2 yard touchdown run to tie up the game.
This competitive game didn’t stay tied for long once the Wingate offense stepped back on the field.
The all-South Atlantic Conference quarterback threw another touchdown to receiver Bryan Caffrey to regain the lead once again in 12 plays.
The third quarter ended 21-14 Wingate.
The first drive of the fourth quarter was probably Roberts’ best of the day. He rushed twice and made two pass completions to receiver Griffin Rolle that both resulted in first downs.
The drive lasted only a little over two minutes before Roberts completed another pass which was to Quin Roberson and resulted in a 53 yard touchdown to lock up the score at 21.
Both teams continued to trade possessions throughout the fourth quarter but neither changed the score again ending regulation 21-21.
VSU started the overtime period with the ball on the Wingate 25 yard line. In just six plays, Roberts would end up finding Tray Herndon for a 21 yard touchdown pass.
The possession then switched to Wingate. The Bulldogs made it difficult for themselves committing a holding and false start penalty. Later, Haffly came up big for his team on a clutch fourth and goal pass to receiver Nestor Lantigua.
Tied up 28-28, double overtime Wingate were given the chance to take the lead beginning the period with the ball on the VSU 25 yard line.
Wingate went three and out. They attempted a game changing field goal from the 37 yard line; however it was blocked by VSU cornerback Matt Pierce.
The possession changed back to VSU and they would capitalize on such a significant defensive stop. The Blazers rushed with Jackson picking five yards on the first play.
Roberts, who was just named the starter last week, finished the game on the second play.
“I thought he played very well, he was awarded the Gulf South Conference offensive player of the week,” Dean said. “Everybody in our conference recognizes how well he played as well.”
The Blazers have moved up on the rankings taking No.14 and they will play their home opener tonight against Newberry at 7 p.m.