November 20, 2017

Wolves Advance to National Semi-Final

(Carrollton, GA/via uwgsports.com) – The West Georgia Wolves never trailed at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium Saturday afternoon in Valdosta, Ga., using a smothering second half defensive effort to power their way to a 31-17 victory over Valdosta State in the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals.

The win advances the Wolves to the national semifinals, as UWG will face Colorado State-Pueblo in next Saturday.

The 2014 Wolves have already made history in multiple ways by reaching the NCAA quarterfinals, but West Georgia is now in rare air, as this UWG squad has reached heights only reached by one other team in Division II program history.

The 1998 baseball run to the College World Series ended with West Georgia as the final team out prior to the championship game.

In Saturday’s game at the fifth-seeded Blazers, the offense set the table with 21 first half points, but it was defense and special teams that secured the victory in the second half.

For the second-straight game, the Wolves shut out an opponent in the second half and the UWG special teams unit provided two scores, including a 59-yard punt return for a touchdown from Denarius Appling with 1:35 left in the contest that put the game out of reach.

Valdosta State took the opening kickoff and picked up a pair of first downs before being forced to punt. Appling returned the put 36 yards and set up Dallas Dickey and the UWG offense. The Wolves took eight plays to go 46 yards and drew first blood with a three-yard touchdown run from Seth Hinsley. On the drive, the connection of Dickey to Earvin Anumgba was huge, as Anumgba caught two passes for 20 yards on the drive.

After the defense forced a three-and-out, West Georgia struck quickly, as Dickey found tight end Walter Hibbler 10 yards behind the VSU defense and the junior turned the pass into a 54-yard touchdown and a 14-0 first quarter lead for the Wolves.

Valdosta State responded with a 12-play, 72-yard drive that took 6:16 off the clock and finished with a 21-yard touchdown run from Cedric O’Neal to pull the Blazers to within a score at 14-7.

VSU continued to play well into the second quarter, as the Blazer defense held off a UWG invasion to the Valdosta 33, then quarterback Jake Medlock started another VSU drive.

UWGThe Blazers moved the ball to the UWG 14 before the drive stalled out and VSU was forced to settle for a Anthony Pistelli field goal, making the score 14-10 with 6:41 left in the first half.

Dickey and the Wolves responded with another drive, going 75 yards in 12 plays and Seth Hinsley dove his way into another piece of UWG history with a 12-yard touchdown run.

The score was Hinsley’s 15th rushing touchdown of the season, surpassing Nick Price’s previous record of 14, set in the 2001 season.The score, with 2:47 left in the half, gave the Wolves a 21-10 lead.

But the scoring wasn’t done for the first half, as Valdosta State used the right arm of Medlock to go back down the field and score with 1:17 left in the period on a seven-yard pass to Chris Anderson, making the score 21-17.

The Wolves marched back down the field, but Dickey threw an interception with 32 seconds left and gave VSU another shot to kick a field goal. On the third play from scrimmage and final of the half, Delroy Steele and Tory Slater sacked Medlock kept the Blazers off the scoreboard.

Coming out of the locker room, a defensive struggle ensued for the next nearly 27 minutes of the contest, as neither team was able to find paydirt until the 3:14 mark of the fourth quarter. At that point, Hunter Heck finished off a nine-play drive for 61 yards with a 26-yard field goal, putting the Wolves back up by seven.

After the UWG defense forced another three-and-out, Pistelli went back to punt for the Blazers, and punted to All-American return candidate Appling, who returned the punt 59 yards to paydirt to put the game on ice with 1:35 left in the game.

Valdosta mounted a small drive to try and pull closer, but that ended with a Tyrell Adams interception and Dickey took a knee to send the Wolves to the semifinals.

Dickey was 13-of-21 for 237 yards on the afternoon and his top target was senior Earvin Anumgba, who had his biggest game in a UWG uniform with seven catches for 117 yards on the day.

Hinsley rushed 12 times for 56 yards on the day and added two scores. He now needs 51 yards to surpass Price’s school-record of 1,409 yards rushing in the 2000 season.

The Wolves are now one-of-four teams left playing in Division II, and will face Colorado State-Pueblo next week in Colorado.

 

National Semi-Final Info

prowlSaturday’s thrilling win over Valdosta State in the NCAA Division II quarterfinals has put UWG into the National Semifinals for the first time in the 30-year, Division II history of the football program at the University of West Georgia. The Wolves will play on the road for the fifth straight game and fourth-straight in the playoffs, taking on the 8th-ranked Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves.

Game Time

The game will be a battle between the Wolves and the Thunderwolves at the DeRose Thunderbowl in Pueblo, Co., and kickoff for the national semifinal is set for 4:30 p.m. local time, 6:30 p.m. for the UWG fans in the east.

West Georgia Wolves

The West Georgia Wolves will be playing in their first Division II national semifinal, but the second in the entire history of the program, as the 1982 West Georgia squad won the national championship in the Division III ranks. UWG comes into the game with a 12-2 record on the season, including a 5-2 mark in the Gulf South Conference. The Wolves have been on the road for every playoff game this year, beating Tuskegee 20-17 in the first round, followed by a 37-27 win over Delta State in the second round. Last week in the quarterfinals, senior Denarius Appling ripped off a 59-yard punt return for a touchdown with 1:35 left in the game to lift UWG to a 31-17 victory over Valdosta State to reach the semifinal round.

Colorado State-Pueblo

The Thunderwolves will also be playing in their first national semifinal after defeating Angelo State University (Nov. 29) 52-14 in the second round and Ohio Dominican University Saturday, 31-28, in the quarterfinals. CSU-P also picked up a fourth quarter punt return for a touchdown to get them to 31 points, with theirs coming with 10:52 left in the game. Colorado State-Pueblo won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and finished the season as the second-ranked team in Super Region 4.

Ticket Office Hours of Operation

Saturday (Gameday) – 2 p.m. (4:30 p.m. Kickoff) – ThunderBowl Ticket Office

Ticket Prices for NCAA Division II Semifinal Game

$12 for reserved seating
$5 for Thunder Hill/College Students with valid ID*
  **$1 processing fee will be added to the total of all purchases (No fee with online purchases)

Single-Game Tickets

Single-game tickets can be purchased ONLINE * (http://boxoffice.printtixusa.com/csu/eventcalendar) beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, Dec. 8. Single-game tickets will also be available at the ThunderBowl Ticket Office during hours of operation.

NO single-game orders for tickets will be accepted over the phone until THURSDAY, Dec. 11 at 8 a.m.

PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE HERE *

* If unable to print ticket voucher from an ONLINE purchase, bring the confirmation # to the ticket office on game day. A ticket voucher will be printed to gain access to the stadium.

Visitor Tickets (Section W)

Tickets will be available by calling the Ticket Office at (719) 549-2050, beginning Monday, Dec. 8 at 8 a.m. or at the ThunderBowl Ticket Office on game day (2 p.m.). Section W is reserved for the visiting team.

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