CLEVELAND, Miss. – Delvin Ervin picked off a Trevor Wooden pass with 1:06 left in the game to preserve a 20-12 win for the University of North Alabama over Delta State at Parker Field in the Gulf South Conference opener for both schools.
After UNA pushed its lead to eight with 6:17 left in the game, Delta State drove to the UNA 30 yard line but threw three straight incomplete passes. Richie Mata’afa then caught Delta State quarterback Trevor Wooden from behind on a fourth-and-ten call to end the DSU scoring threat. UNA was forced to punt, giving DSU the ball back with 1:13 left but Ervin’s pick sealed the victory for the Lions.
UNA improves to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the GSC, while Delta State falls to 1-2 and 0-1.
The win broke a three-game losing streak for the Lions against the Statesmen and gave UNA a 31-24-1 advantage in the all-time series.
In the Gulf South Conference opener for both schools, UNA’s offense came to life in the second half behind back-up quarterback Luke WIngo to score two touchdowns and overcome a 9-7 halftime deficit. The Lions finished with just 236 total yards, rushing for 220 and passing for 16. Lamonte Thompson picked up 91 on 12 carries but UNA was a dismal five-of-14 passing with two interceptions.
Delta State gained 336 total yards but struggled in the red zone as UNA’s defense held the Statesmen to just one touchdown.
After the two teams swapped punts on the game’s first six possessions, UNA got the first break of the game when Caleb Massey recovered a fumbled Statesman pitch at the DSU 44 with three minutes left in the first quarter. North Alabama couldn’t take advantage, however, as UNA’s Chris Alexander was picked off just three plays later.
Following the interception, which gave the Statesmen the ball at their own 31, DSU marched 69 yards in six plays for the game’s first score. After Justin McArthur picked up 28 yards on three carries to move the ball into UNA territory, DSU quarterback Trevor Wooden scored on a 31-yard run. Andrew Jones extra-point attempt hit the right upright but Delta State led 6-0 at 14:50 of the second quarter.
A 40-yard kickoff return by Lamar Smith set UNA in good position on the ensuing drive and a 15-yard penalty and 22-yard gain on a fumble moved the ball to the DSU 15. Chris Coffey then blasted up the middle for a touchdown to tie the game. Michael Schuster’s PAT gave UNA a 7-6 lead at 12:21 of the second quarter.
UNA threw a second interception before the half but the Lions’ defense was able to hold. The Statesmen did manage a scoring drive before the half as DSU moved to the UNA one yard line before having to settle for a 22-yard Jones field goal on the final play before intermission.
UNA was just two-of-nine passing for four yards in the first half and rushed for just 73 yards.
After little offensive movement by the Lions in the third quarter, Lamonte Thompson gave UNA the lead on a 79-yard jaunt with 2:07 left in the period. Thompson broke it off the right side and outraced the Statesmen’s defenders to the end zone. Schuster’s PAT hit the upright and bounced back but UNA led 13-9.
After a 13-play on the ensuing possession, Delta State settled for a 28-yard Jones field goal at the 10:10 mark of the fourth quarter to make it 13-12.
UNA came back immediately with a touchdown drive as Luke WIngo moved the Lions 76 yards in eight plays to the end zone. Jason Smith had a 23-yard run on a reverse and Wingo then carried four times for 24 yards to the DSU two. On third-and-goal, Wingo kept the ball up the middle but fumbled near the goal line and UNA’s Taylor Carney recovered in the end zone for the touchdown. Schuster’s PAT made it 20-12 with 6:17 left in the game.
North Alabama will host Shorter on Saturday, Sept. 29 for Homecoming at Braly Stadium.
Courtesy: UNA Media Relations