The top ranked Blazers (3-0) host new Gulf South Conference opponent, Florida Tech (1-3) Saturday.
This will be the first ever match-up between the two programs. This is Florida Tech’s first season in the program’s history.
The Panthers have gotten off to a rocky start in their inaugural season, losing their opening two GSC match-ups against West Alabama and Delta State by a combined 62 points.
Valdosta State’s defense has been dominant this season; the Blazers held Angelo State’s 12th ranked offense to just three points last Saturday.
“I was really proud of them. That was an offense that was very explosive, and for us to hold them three points; if you had told me we were going to do that, I would’ve laughed at you. It was a great effort,” Coach David Dean said.
Through three games, VSU is allowing only eight points a game.
The Florida Tech offense has struggled up front, giving up nine sacks on the season.
Things won’t be any easier for the Panthers, going up against a VSU defense that has recorded 11 sacks on the season.
“Florida Tech throws the ball a good amount and that’s what they do best, but hopefully we’re going to put pressure on the quarterback. It would be good to see our defensive ends get up the field and get some sacks,” Dean said.
VSU’s junior wide-receiver, Willie Downs, had a break-out performance last Saturday against Angelo State, recording 160 yards and a touchdown on eight catches.
“I think you can see Cayden (Cochran) has a lot of confidence in him, because hethrew to him on several third downs, and Willie made those conversions,” said Dean. “We all realize he is a play-maker and he’s benefited from teams double-teaming Seantavious (Jones) and I think it’s going shift a little bit.”
Downs, listed at 6’3 and 210 lbs, is a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses.
While saturday’s game is an important conference matchup, the Blazers have a big road game against West Alabama right around the corner.
“I really haven’t heard anyone say anything about
West Alabama. I think our guys are focused on Florida Tech, and a lot of that has to do with homecoming . I want us to be focused on one game at a time, because we’re not good enough to do that.”
Kick-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.
This article was written by Chris Kessler.