- It all comes down to the final game, and there could be no better script than the one that will play out in Valdosta, Ga. on Saturday evening. Third-ranked and unbeaten West Georgia faces off on the road at fifth-ranked and unbeaten Valdosta State at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium in a game that will decide the Gulf South Conference championship, top seed in Super Region 2 and the coveted Peach Basket. GAME VITALS
#3 West Georgia at #5 Valdosta State
Valdosta, Ga. - Bazemore-Hyder Stadium
October 10, 2018
7:00 PMFan Bus ExperienceTICKET INFORMATION
Tickets are still available for this week's game on-campus in Carrollton. Fans who wish to take the trip for this historic game may still purchase tickets at the UWG Bookstore (on-campus only) until the close of business on Friday at 5 p.m. Tickets for general admission for adults is $10 and for students, the price is $5. A purchase of a ticket also serves as a 20 percent off coupon for game gear on that day.
LAST WEEK WRAP
West Georgia used a 12-0 run to close out the game on Senior Day last Saturday, as the Wolves moved to 10-0 on the season with a 29-17 victory over Gulf South Conference rival Delta State. LaPerion Perry caught six passes for 183 yards and two scores to lead the Wolves. Valdosta State dominated the second half in Pensacola, Fla., effectively eliminating defending national runner-up West Florida from the 2018 postseason with a 48-21 victory over the Argos.
UWG IN THE REGION RANKINGS
For the third-straight week, West Georgia and Valdosta State were 1-2 in the Super Region 2 rankings, but the spots flip-flopped in this week’s rankings. The Wolves were in the top spot for the first two weeks with VSU in second. With a win over a 6-3 West Florida team ranked eighth in the region rankings, the Blazers jumped the Wolves, who won over a 1-7 and unranked Delta State squad. The region rankings are the main source for the NCAA Selection Committee to determine the participants in the NCAA playoffs, with the top seven teams receiving a bid.
GSC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
For the second time this season and the third time in his career, junior quarterback Willie Candler was named the Gulf South Conference Offensive Player of the Week. He was an eyelash away from the best single-game completion percentage in school history, completing 21-of-24 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, Candler has had two 300-yard passing games, completing 21-of-28 for 303 yards against Limestone in Week 2. He currently has a completion rate of 67.9 percent on the year, good for second nationally.
GSC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
LaPerion Perry has been doing everything he can to win Gulf South Conference Freshman of the Week this year. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Albany State and Florida Tech in back-to-back weeks and has been among the leaders in the nation in kickoff returns throughout the year. Against Delta State, he finally broke through for the league award, hauling in six passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns in his first start in a UWG uniform.
West Georgia remained in the same spot in both national polls after a thrilling 36-21 victory over the West Alabama Tigers. It marked the ninth-straight victory this season and kept the Wolves ranked third in both the American Football Coaches Association Poll and the D2Football.com poll. The Wolves are joined in the top-10 this week by Valdosta State as the only ranked teams from the GSC. Three teams in Super Region 2 were ranked, as Lenoir-Rhyne checked in at 21 and 23 this week. Also receiving votes from Super Region 2 this week were West Florida, Bowie State, and Virginia Union.
JACKSON CAREER RUSHING
West Georgia senior running back Devontae Jackson has been chasing history throughout the season. The Marietta native made history against West Florida earlier this season, passing Nick Price (2001) for the UWG career rushing record. Jackson did it in style, though, producing the biggest rushing game for a UWG player in 18 years with 33 carries for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Last week against Delta State, Jackson rushed 18 times for 100 yards, giving him a school-record 14 career games with 100 yards rushing.
The West Georgia offense has been scoring at a rapid pace this season, but the Wolves have picked up scores from special teams and defense throughout the year. Early in the season, the Wolves had two kickoffs and two punt returns for a touchdown from three different returners. Against North Greenville, linebacker Barron Burns got in on the scoring with an interception return for a touchdown. Last week against Delta State, safety Raekwon Chatman sealed the Wolves’ win with a 49-yard interception return for a touchdown.
TIME OF POSSESSION
West Georgia has been dominating time of possession in the past four weeks. Against West Florida, the Wolves held the ball for 35:31 of the 60 minutes played. Against West Alabama, the Wolves held the ball for 39:44, allowing a very potent Tiger offense to be on the field for a minuscule 20 minutes in a 60-minute contest. There have been only three games this season where an opponent has held the ball longer than West Georgia.
With three starters out in the past two games, West Georgia has had to have other players step up to keep the run going. Last week against Delta State, freshman LaPerion Perry was that man, as the LaGrange native caught six passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns. It was the sixth-best single game for a wide receiver in school history, and his 89-yard touchdown pass was the third-longest pass play ever for West Georgia. He is one of 17 different receivers to catch a pass from Willie Candler this season. Malik Henry leads the team with 29 receptions on the year.
JACKSON CAREER ALL-PURPOSE
The first major record fell against Shorter four weeks ago for Devontae Jackson, as the senior running back had 151 yards rushing and 23 yards in the return game. Those numbers allowed Jackson to pass Mark Evans for the career record in all-purpose yardage. Jackson now has 5,872 career yards in his four-year career. He is currently leading the Gulf South Conference with 136.6 all-purpose yards per game. If he keeps that pace, Jackson could become the first 6,000-yard man in West Georgia football history.
A CANDLER TYPE OF YEAR
Junior quarterback Willie Candler has had an exceptional year, completing 178-of-262 passes for a .679 completion percentage, which is good for 2nd nationally. The Atlanta native has 2,295 yards through the air and 20 touchdown passes this season. Eighteen different receivers have a reception on the year, and 10 receivers have at least one touchdown catch. Candler had a span of four-straight games earlier in the year where he had three touchdown passes. He has at least one touchdown pass in every game this year.
GSC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Willie Candler won his second Gulf South Conference Player of the Week award for his 300-yard performance against Delta State, while LaPerion Perry earned GSC Freshman of the Week with his 183-yard, two touchdown performance. For Candler, it was the second time this season and third in his career. Perry’s honor was his first career weekly award. Freshman kicker Omar Cervantes has been named GSC Special Teams Player of the Week twice, while Korie Rogers and Montrell Pardue have each earned Defensive Player of the Week.