2024 Gulf South Conference Football

Valdosta State-Delta State Rematch Between GSC Champions In DII Playoffs

Valdosta State-Delta State Rematch Between GSC Champions In DII Playoffs

The two GSC co-champs are set to meet the Division II Playoffs to see who is the true top dog and advance on to face the Lenoir-Rhyne vs Benedict winner.

Nov 24, 2023 by Ron Balaskovitz
The official unofficial mascot of Delta State

It’s only fitting that in a league without a championship game and declares any ties for the league title to be co-champions regardless of the head-to-head result, that the two teams who tied for the Gulf South Conference title during the regular season will meet in the postseason to determine who the last team standing from the league is.

Delta State reached the second round by getting redemption for its lone regular season loss, thumping GSC rival West Florida last week by a 49-14 final. Valdosta State flexed its offensive muscles last week in the opening round, rolling over Limestone by a 62-41 final.

The Statesmen put any doubts about their narrow loss to UWF in the regular season to rest, racing out to a 35-0 lead and coasting the rest of the way thanks to three forced turnovers, and 447 yards of offense.

The Blazers meanwhile, jumped out to a 28-0 lead and saw Limestone get as close as 14, but 598 yards proved unstoppable despite allowing 498 yards and over seven yards per play. The 62 points is one of the highest marks in Blazers postseason history. 

Those final scores are indicative of what each team was like during the season, with Delta State a well-rounded squad on both sides of the ball, while Valdosta State relies heavily on its offense to get the job done despite a much-improved defense. 

While Delta State got redemption for its lone loss last week, Valdosta State looks to replicate that on Saturday against the Statesmen, who rolled during the regular season meeting between the two teams, 49-25, in a game played at Valdosta.

In that regular season meeting, the two teams played a back-and-forth opening quarter before DSU found a way to get stops, outscoring the Blazers 35-11 over the final three quarters. 

The big key for Delta State was a secondary that picked off three passes and a running game that put up historic numbers. While Valdosta has made big gains on defense from a season ago when they had one of the worst defenses in the nation, that loss nearly two months ago saw the Statesmen rack up an astounding 417 yards on the ground, nearly eight yards per carry, and five rushing scores.

Needless to say, if Valdosta wants to knock off the Statesmen, a massive improvement must come in that area, as well as turnovers.

The game serves as the de facto GSC title game, but more importantly, a spot in the regional finals is on the line, with the winner advancing to take on the Lenoir-Rhyne versus Benedict winner. A win from Lenoir-Rhyne would mean that the GSC winner would host the regional championship game.