Delta State Downs UNA 37-34

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FLORENCE, Ala. – Vince Sciorrotta kicked a 31-yard field goal with nine seconds left to lift Delta State to a 37-34 Gulf South Conference victory over North Alabama at Braly Stadium Saturday night.

The Statesmen dominated the first half and led 20-7 at intermission. North Alabama rallied in the fourth quarter to take its first lead at 34-27 but the Statesmen tied the game with 2:45 left, then got a defensive stop and drove 43 yards for the winning score.

With the win, the Statesmen improved to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the GSC. UNA falls to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the GSC.

Delta State ran 101 offensive plays in the game, picking up 602 total yards. But the UNA defense picked off three passes, returning two for touchdowns to keep the Lions in the game. UNA also blocked a punt to set up a short score.

The UNA offense, which was held to 204 total yards on 57 plays, finally kicked into gear in the fourth quarter with two touchdown passes from Luke Wingo to Jason Smith but it wasn’t enough.

DSU quarterback Travis Champion completed 40 of 52 passes for 450 yards and four touchdowns but also threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns.

Down 20-7 at the half, UNA started the second half with a quick score as freshman Philbert Martial picked off a Champion pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown with 13:53 left in the third quarter. At the 8:46 mark, Brion James picked off another Champion pass and went 53 yards for a score to tie the game at 20-20. Michael Schuster’s extra-point attempt was wide.

Delta State answered with a 77-yard touchdown drive to regain the lead as Champion hit Casey Osborne with an 11-yard TD pass. Sciorrotta’s kick made it 27-20 with 11:16 left in the game.

Just over a minute later UNA was in the end zone as Wingo hit Smith with a 50-yard strike. Will Craig’s PAT tied the game at 27-27 with 9:56 remaining.

Another Wingo to Smith pass, this time from 36 yards, gave UNA the lead with 6:43 to play. Craig’s PAT extended the UNA lead to 34-27.

Delta State then drove 75 yards in 11 plays to tie the game on an eight-yard pass from Champion to Osborne. Sciorrotta’s kick made it 34-34 at the 2:45 mark of the fourth.

The Statesmen then began their final drive at their own 43 and moved to the UNA 14 before Sciorrotta came on to kick the game winner.

The Statesmen raced up and down the field in the first half, picking up 341 total yards and scoring four times. UNA forced two turnovers and blocked a punt and the Statesmen missed on a short field goal attempt to keep the game fairly close at 20-7 at the half.

After getting a defensive stop on UNA on the game’s opening possession, Delta State drove 42 yards in 10 plays before Vince Sciorrotta kicked a 32-yard field goal. The score gave DSU a 3-0 lead at the 10:08 mark of the first quarter.

On the Statesmen’s next possession quarterback Travis Champion connected with Casey Osborne on an 84-yard touchdown pass on a third and long call from the DSU 16. Sciorrotta added the PAT to make it 10-0 at 4:58 of the first quarter.

North Alabama finally got on the scoreboard after blocking a Delta State punt early in the second quarter. Levi Fell came through to block the DSU kick and the Lions took over at the four-yard line. Two plays later Chris Coffey blasted into the end zone for the UNA touchdown. Michael Schuster added the extra point and UNA trailed 10-7 at 10:35 of the second quarter.

Delta State responded quickly with a three-play scoring drive as Champion hit Ricky Hunt with a 72-yard TD pass with 9:56 left in the half. Sciorrotta’s PAT made it 17-7.

A 24-yard Sciorrotta field goal extended DSU’s lead to 20-7 with 2:53 left in the half.

UNA had a scoring opportunity just before the half but Schuster pushed a 30-yard field goal attempt wide right.

Delta State outgained UNA 341 yards to 47 in the first half.

UNA is open next week before traveling to Shorter on October 5.