CARROLLTON, Ga. - A fourth quarter surge from the Delta State Statesmen in Cleveland, Mississippi on Saturday afternoon proved to be the difference in the game as the West Georgia Wolves lost by a 35-20 count to the Statesmen in Gulf South Conference play.
The first quarter saw miscues on special teams lead to short fields for Delta State in Clevelend, Mississippi. The Wolves gave up more than 60 yards on kick and punt returns on Delta State's first two possessions, leading to an early 14-0 deficit. The Wolves turned the tables on the ensuing possession after the second score, as Deandre Gardenhire recovered a DSU fumble, leading to a 17-yard touchdown pass from Garrett Bass to John Hurst, making it 14-7 DSU with 4:56 left in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, West Georgia took advantage of a fumble on a punt return, taking over nearly in the DSU red zone early in the period. Three plays later, Omar Cervantes cut into the Delta State lead with a 33-yard field goal, making it 14-10 DSU with 10:42 left in the quarter.
Delta State mounted a drive, moving deep into West Georgia territory. The UWG defense stiffened at their own 18, forcing a field goal attempt. Senior Latrell Gibbs blocked the 35-yard field goal attempt, giving the ball back to the Wolves. Bass was on fire on the ensuing drive, going 5-for-5 for 59 yards, including a four-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Lester to give the Wolves a 17-14 lead heading into the locker room at the half.
Bass was 15-for-24 for 116 yards and two touchdowns in the opening period to lead the UWG offense. The Wolves had 132 yards as a team in the first half while the Statesmen had 144 yards, including 133 yards on the ground and 94 rushing yards from DSU quarterback Breck Ruddick.
The Wolves came out on fire in the second half, driving 62 yards in 10 plays with 40 yards rushing on the drive. Eric Swinney and Chauncey Williams shared the ball-carrying duties on the march, and Cervantes finished off the drive with a 32-yard field goal to give the Wolves a 20-14 advantage with 11:13 left in the third quarter.
After that score, the Statesmen scored 21 unanswered points to take the victory. West Georgia had the ball at their own nine yard line with 2:15 left in the game, but a sack from DSU on Bass forced the ball free and Marvin Terry picked it up and rumbled into the end zone for the final score of the game.
The Wolves will close out the 2019 season next Saturday at home, taking on the Valdosta State Blazers on Senior Night and Military Appreciation Night at University Stadium. Kickoff for that contest is set for 7:00 p.m.