CARROLLTON, Ga. - The West Georgia Wolves continue to come up big in big situations, but ahead of the Wolves is a daunting task in the top rushing defense in the Gulf South Conference this season when UWG takes to the road in Cleveland, Mississippi on Saturday against the Delta State Statesmen.
Both teams come into Saturday’s game in a must-win situation to have hopes for the 2019 NCAA Division II playoffs. Both have three losses, and the winner would likely still be in contention for one of the seven Super Region 2 spots in this year’s playoffs. The Wolves jumped into the regional rankings this week, checking in at 10th in the second ranking of the 2019 season.
Veteran David Dean is in his third season at the helm of the West Georgia program. A two-time national title winner as a head coach, Dean has guided the Wolves to a record of 25-9. His career head coaching record is 104-36. Todd Cooley is in his seventh season as the head coach at Delta State, coming into the week with a 42-31 record at DSU.
This is the 34th meeting between the Wolves and the Statesmen in the history of the series, with Delta State holding a 19-15 lead. In last year’s meeting between the two teams, Delta State jumped out to a 17-12 lead in the first half, but West Georgia scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to take a 29-17 victory.
Senior quarterback Willie Candler went down with an injury during the West Alabama game and redshirt freshman Garrett Bass came in to close out the victory for the Wolves two weeks ago. Last weekend, Bass was brilliant as the starter, completing 25-of-37 for 349 yards and four touchdowns to lead West Georgia to a 35-21 win over Mississippi College. The win kept UWG in the playoff hunt, and the performance from the Woodstock native was recognized by the GSC on Monday, as Bass was named conference Offensive Player and Freshman of the Week.
The UWG defense has been on a roller-coaster ride this season, but the Wolves seem to have steadied the ship in recent weeks. In the past four weeks, the Wolves have allowed less than 300 total yards in three of the four games as the Wolves are 3-1 in that span. Four times this season, West Georgia has allowed less than 300 yards of total offense.
Offensively, the Wolves have scored at least 33 points in five of the six wins this season. The lowest output in a winning effort came against Limestone in the second game of the year when West Georgia scored 24 points.
For a West Georgia perspective on Saturday’s game, UWG fans can tune into WCKS, 102.7 FM. Mitch Gray, now in his 38th season of calling UWG football, handles the play-by-play, while Andy Micacchione fills the role of analyst. The Countdown to Kickoff pregame show begins at 2 p.m.
The Wolves are second in the Gulf South Conference in total offense, averaging 40.2 yards per game on the year. Last week against Mississippi College, West Georgia accumulated 445 yards of total offense in the victory.
The UWG defense has allowed less than 100 yards against either the run or the pass in each of the past four games, including 61 yards passing to Mississippi College last week.