Valdosta State quarterback Graham Craig tallied 314 passing yards and six total touchdowns in the 62-14 rout over Fort Valley State Saturday night at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.
Craig, who started replacing the injured Cayden Cochran, led the Blazers to their first win of the season.
It also was the first time a Blazer quarterback has thrown five touchdowns in a game since the 2007 season.
“The big thing that he did was that he stepped up. He was leader out there on the field,” said Head Coach David Dean.” “There was a lot of questions wither he was going to be able to do what he did tonight. I think he proved he can stand in there, take a shot, and make good throws with the heat coming at him.”
The Wildcats got on the scoreboard first on an 80 touchdown catch from quarterback Antonio Henton to All-SIAC receiver Chris Slaughter.
The 85 yard drive was finished off in just three plays five minutes into the first quarter.
The Blazer quickly responding tied up the game on their next possession.
After having trouble completing his first several passes earlier, Craig’s one and only toss of the 83 yard drive was a 77 yard touchdown pass to Seantavious Jones.
The Blazers would go onto score 27 unanswered points and extended their lead on their next drive.
The drive began in great field position following a strong punt return by Quinn Roberson.
It took only one play for Craig to find receiver Gerald Ford on a slant route for a 44 yard touchdown.
The Wildcats blocked the one point conversion making it 13-6 with three minutes left in the first quarter.
Just seconds into the second quarter, Craig continuing his stellar performance, connected on his third touchdown pass of the game.
The short 30 yard drive began in Wildcat territory after Blazer linebacker Jeremy Grable intercepted Henton’s pass.
Ford caught the 12 yard reception for his second touchdown of the game.
Another thrown interception by Henton minutes later on the Wildcats next possession gave the Blazers again great field position.
This time it was picked off by junior safety Lance Holder returned to the Wildcats 26 yard line.
The ‘Black Swarm’ forced five interceptions Saturday night, four coming in the first half.
The Blazers capped off the short drive on a 5 yard keeper ran by Craig.
Craig recorded four total touchdowns in the first half.
VSU improved their lead to 27-7 before the FVSU finally managed to cut into the large deficit.
Craig making his first big mistake of the game had his underthrown pass intercepted and returned for touchdown by Wildcat safety Jabioas Glenn.
With ten minutes left in the second quarter, the score was 27-14.
Before the quarter ended VSU increased their comfortable lead even more when freshman running back Cedric O’Neal sprinted down the sideline for a 57 yard touchdown run.
O’Neal finished the first half with 136 rushing yards and a touchdown run.
The Blazers entered halftime 34-14 over the Wildcats.
Early into the third quarter, Craig set the new record on thrown touchdowns completing a 50 yard touchdown pass to Ford.
Ford, dominating in his first game at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium since 2010, finished the game with 152 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
“I’m just real glad to be back,” said Ford. “It feels good. It was a great way to bounce back. We have bigger goals in mind; it’s just a stepping stone to the bigger goal. We’ll just take it one day at a time.”
VSU pushed their commanding lead to 41-14 a few minutes into the third quarter.
Minutes following his fourth touchdown throw of the night, he completed a 50 yard touchdown pass to Regginald Lewis.
As if the margin wasn’t wide enough, three minutes later Roberson returned back a 94 yard punt return for a touchdown.
The return set a new school record for longest punt return ever at VSU.
The Blazers went up 55-14 with nine minutes left in the game.
VSU topped off their huge win less than a second left in the game with another touchdown this time coming on a quarterback scramble by Justin Roberts, who came in relief for Craig.
While FVSU fails to earn their second consecutive win over GSC teams, VSU is now (1-1) heading into to their game next week in Dallas.
“We just wanted to come out and execute to get a big win for us. It definitely boosts our confidence up, we’re fired up, we’re real excited about it,” said Craig.