Discover more from Blue & Gold Media at Mississippi College
Keys to Choctaw Victory Over Valdosta State
The Choctaws rushed for a school-record 598 yards on their way to a 49-40 win over Valdosta State.
Mississippi College went on the road Saturday and spoiled the homecoming of defending national runner-up Valdosta State, winning 49-40. This gives the Choctaws a three-game winning streak and improves them to 4-3 overall and 3-1 in Gulf South Conference play. Meanwhile, the slide continues for the Valdosta State Blazers, as this was their third loss in a row, dropping them to 3-4(1-3).
Freshman quarterback continues to shine
Since losing starting quarterback Deante Smith-Moore to a leg injury during the West Georgia game, the Choctaw offense has not skipped a beat.
Thanks for reading Blue & Gold Media | The Student Voice of Mississippi College! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Now led by redshirt freshman John Henry White, the Choctaws picked up their third win in a row and set a school record with 598 rushing yards on 61 attempts. White carried the ball 21 times for 151 yards and a touchdown. He only attempted two passes and completed just one, but it was a 41-yard touchdown to Marcus Williams.
White has played significant time in three games, and all three have been GSC wins. In those games, the Choctaws have averaged nearly 470 yards on the ground.
White has accounted for five total touchdowns and has not turned the ball over. He has also accounted for 109 yards through the air and 524 on the ground during this stretch.
Once again, much of the credit for the offense’s performance goes to the offensive line, which continues to be dominant. They did not allow a single sack and only allowed one tackle for loss on the day.
The Choctaw offense gave punter Houston Smith a break for the day as they did not punt all game. They only gave the ball away twice: once on downs and once on a first-quarter fumble by Cole Fagan. Otherwise, each Choctaw possession ended in either a touchdown or the end of a half.
Williams led the way on the ground, picking up 188 yards and two touchdowns on just 6 carries, averaging 31.3 yards per carry. Fagan was the third Choctaw to go for over 100 yards on the ground, carrying for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Chris Colebank was the fourth Mississippi College runner to score as he had two carries for 79 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Defense does enough
This contest was the true definition of a shootout, in which both offenses had their way for much of the game. Preseason all-GSC quarterback Ivory Durham went 16-25 and picked up 316 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions. Durham also had a great day on the ground, picking up 119 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Blazer Receiver B.K. Smith led the way through the air with five catches for 148 and a touchdown. Jamar Thompkins was also able to gash the Choctaw defense, rushing for 105 yards and a score.
Despite the success of the Valdosta offense, the MC defense was able to come up with a few key stops and do just enough to deliver a win.
Following the first-quarter fumble by Fagan and trailing 10-7, the Choctaw defense came up big. On a third down play at the VSU 31, Jon St. Jacque forced a fumble by Travon Roberts. This gave the Choctaw offense the ball deep in Blazer territory and allowed them to take a 14-10 lead just a few plays later.
Similarly, late in the third quarter, Valdosta was trailing 42-24 but had driven all the way to the Choctaw 29-yard-line. However, the defense came up with one more key stop forcing a turnover on downs.