October 5th, 2022 5:00am
What a wild, wild weekend we had in the Gulf South to kick off the month of October. The state of Mississippi made noise as Delta State remained unbeaten and Mississippi College knocked off a Top 10 program with a second half comeback. This week again features a Top 25 primetime matchup as West Florida and West Georgia square off under the lights.
Last Week’s Results
West Alabama 37, Shorter 14*
No. 10 West Florida 34, North Greenville 31*
Mississippi College 39, No. 6 West Georgia 38*
No. 21 Delta State 70, No. 16 Valdosta State 31*
Week Six Schedule (all times Eastern)
Okay, okay, Delta State is for real and they left no doubt on Saturday in a 39-point win over then-No. 16 Valdosta State. Quarterback Patrick Shegog shined on the big stage, accounting for seven total touchdowns (four passing, three rushing) the offense scored on all but two drives and amassed over 700 yards in the win. The Statesmen are now outsourcing opponents by an average of 20 points per game and are clicking on all cylinders.
The Crusaders showed that they can hang with anyone despite last week’s last-second loss to West Florida. Despite nearly 500 yards of total offense, the run defense continues to be an achilles heel as the unit surrendered 299 yards on the ground. True freshman Dylan Ramirez continues to impress under center with 295 yards and three touchdowns, but an interception late in fourth quarter - his second of the game - proved costly.
It’s hard to go against Delta State until they show there’s a chink in the armor. There may just be too much firepower here for a struggling NGU defense to keep the Statesmen at bay.
My pick: Delta State
Last week, the Shorter offense stumbled and the defense didn’t help out, giving up 338 yards on the ground to West Alabama. This week, the task doesn’t get any easier as they face the Gulf South’s top rushing offense. Until the Hawks find a consistent option at quarterback, they’ll struggle to stay in games as the season goes on.
The Choctaws put all the pieces together last week, knocking off a Top 10 program in West Georgia behind a second half comeback on the shoulders of Marcus Williams. The sophomore slot back had 105 yards and two scores to lead a rushing attack that gained over 280 yards for the third time this season. The defense took advantage of three turnovers, including two interceptions from defensive back Nick Grady.
Mississippi College should ride momentum from last week’s upset to a victory behind one of the strongest run games in the nation. Look for the Choctaws to dominate time of possession and keep a weak Shorter offense off the field.
My pick: Mississippi College
The Argos needed a field goal as time expired to survive last week in a game where they committed two turnovers. Shomari Mason carried the load, rushing for 153 yards on just 11 carries, while CJ Wilson scored a touchdown in each half to keep West Florida alive. UWF is second in the league at 44.3 points per game and will need its run game at 100% to control the clock this week.
West Georgia is coming off of a surprise loss last week where a traditionally stout defense gave up almost 300 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. However, the Wolves only lost by a single point despite committing three turnovers showing that even the best teams are allowed an occasional hiccup.
West Florida will look to follow the same script at MC last week by controlling the game on the ground. West Georgia’s defense will be ready and looking to prove that the early season loss was just a blip on the radar and not a trend.
My pick: West Georgia
West Alabama is still the league’s top scoring defense, but counter that with the league’s worst scoring offense and it’s easy to see why this season has been a bit of a roller coaster. The Tigers put all the pieces together in last week’s win over Shorter, outgaining the Hawks 218-215 including 164 yards and two rushing touchdowns from Bry Webb. UWA may have found an identity on offense, but that will be put to the test this week on the road.
For the first time in years, Valdosta State has fallen out of the Top 25 after losing by almost 40 points last week to Delta State. The Blazers weakness is on the defensive side of the ball where they rank 137th out of 163 Division II schools in scoring defense, giving up 34.6 points per game. VSU can score with anyone on offense, but can they get enough stops on the other side of the ball to return to its winning ways?
This should be a good bounce back game for the Blazers, facing a West Alabama offense that is still finding its way. It was only one week of ugliness, but Coach Tremaine Jackson has to right the ship quickly if he hopes to compete for a GSC title.
My pick: Valdosta State