2023 West Georgia vs Valdosta State

Gulf South Football Title Could Potentially Be Split Up To Four Ways

Gulf South Football Title Could Potentially Be Split Up To Four Ways

There are a ton of scenarios that could play out this week in the Gulf South, and much of it revolves around the outcome of West Georgia vs Valdosta State.

Nov 10, 2023 by Ron Balaskovitz
The official unofficial mascot of Delta State

It all comes down to Saturday in the Gulf South Conference, with one mega showdown that will determine if there is an outright league champion, or if the title will be split between as many as four teams depending on other games.

This week’s games also have a chance to majorly impact the playoff picture, with three GSC teams currently projected in the Division II Playoff bracket.

West Georgia (6-3, 5-2) at No. 19 Valdosta State (9-1, 6-1), 7 p.m. ET

There are a ton of scenarios that could play out this week in the Gulf South, and much of it revolves around the outcome of this game, the capper to the GSC schedule for the week, and the regular season.

Valdosta State comes in as the hottest team in the GSC, having won four games in a row, and vaulting themselves up the GSC standings, as well as the Super Region Two rankings for playoff seeding.

A win from Valdosta State would ensure at worst a share of the GSC crown with Delta State, while a VSU win and a Delta State loss would give the Blazers the outright crown. On the other side of the coin, if West Georgia wins, it could potentially hand DSU the outright GSC championship, while a UWG win and DSU loss would mean at minimum a three-way tie for the title, and possibly four should West Florida win its last game.

Valdosta State kept its destiny in its own hands last week, avoiding the dreaded trap game and finding a way to pull out a narrow 20-14 win over West Alabama, who has found a way to give the best offenses in the GSC fits this season.

The Blazers and Tigers played a back-and-forth game last week in Livingston, Alabama, before a 48-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter proved the difference for Valdosta State.

Despite being held to just 20 points, the Blazer offense still found a way to post over 400 yards of offense, thanks mainly to the top passing game in the GSC, with VSU totaling 360 yards through the air, including three long scoring passes by Sammy Edwards, two to Council Allen, and then winner to Rodney Bullard.

What hampered the Blazers and prevented them from winning away despite the big game from Edwards, was giving up four sacks, going just 3 of 15 on third downs, and the kicking game missing a pair of field goals. It wasn’t pretty, but the biggest thing was they found a way to win, and with another win are likely to host a home game in the Division II Playoffs.

For West Georgia, they may be reduced to trying to play spoiler despite still having a chance at grabbing a share of the GSC title.

The Wolves were dominated last week at home by Delta State, falling 47-13, to sit a game back of DSU and VSU coming into this week, and perhaps even more detrimental, the loss knocked the Wolves out of the Super Region Two rankings, meaning their chances at a playoff spot are slim at best.

Things started well for UWG last week, getting the game’s first touchdown and a 7-0, but from there it was all Statesmen, as the guests outscored the Wolves 47-6 the rest of the way, including 17- and 21-point second and fourth quarters. The Wolves were in the game early in the third, getting a punt return touchdown to pull within four, but DSU scored 30 unanswered points the rest of the way, including a stretch of eight minutes that saw a safety and two DSU touchdowns to blow the game open.

West Georgia’s offense struggled to less than 300 yards of offense, was held to under 50 percent passing, and rushed for just 2.6 yards per carry.

The Wolves face a big task in trying to slow the best passing offense in the GSC but have precedent for pulling off an upset before. Last season they knocked off then-undefeated Delta State to spoil their hopes of an outright league crown.

The two teams met last season at West Georgia, where the Wolves dominated in a 54-17 romp.

Gulf South Games at a Glance

*All games scheduled for Saturday

West Alabama (4-5, 3-4) at Shorter (3-7, 1-6)

West Alabama has proven one of the strongest defenses in the GSC, as evidenced by their performances against West Florida and Valdosta State. The Tigers will look for one more big performance from that unit, as well as enough offense. A win for the Tigers would mean a .500 season both in the GSC and overall.

Shorter has dropped three straight games, going on the road last week to North Greenville and putting up a tough fight, but falling by 10 to the Crusaders. A win for the Hawks would give them their most wins in over half a decade.

Chowan (0-9, 0-7) at No. 25 West Florida (7-3, 5-2)

While not much of a matchup, at least on paper, there is a lot at stake for UWF in this game. A win would keep alive their slim hopes of a share of the GSC title, but more importantly, they need a win to ensure their spot in the Division II playoff field, while a loss would almost assuredly knock them out of the bracket.

Chowan enters after a bye week and looks to avoid an 0-10 season in their first year in the GSC.

Mississippi College (3-6, 2-5) at No. 11 Delta State (8-1, 6-1)

The stakes are simple for Delta State: A win guarantees no worse than a share of the GSC crown, and likely means the region's No. 2 seed in the upcoming Division II playoffs. The Statesmen come in off what might have been their most complete game of the season, a 47-13 drubbing of West Georgia, who had everything to play for in last week’s games.

Mississippi College comes in playing for pride and looks to end the year on a high note after getting thumped by West Florida last week, 42-14.