VALDOSTA, GA – Looking for their fourth straight win and second over a ranked opponent, the Texas A&M-Kingsville Javelinas(5-5,4-3) suffered a tough 38-31 loss to the 24th ranked Valdosta State Blazers this past Thursday night Nov. 1 at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium in Valdosta, Ga.
With the loss the Javelinas snap their short three game winning streak and fall to 2-3 on the road this season and ended any chance at the Kanza Bowl the Javelinas will look to end their season on high note as they prepare for their season finale again visiting Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds (3-6, 2-5).
With the game tied at 31, Blazers’ running back Cedric O’Neal scored on a 9-yard run with 37 seconds left for the deciding score.
Kingsville appeared to be driving for the winning score on the prior possession after an interception by Ronnie Ford that he returned to 22 yards to the Valdosta 38.
The Javelinas lost a yard on first down, but after an incomplete pass on second down, Bryan Ehrlich hit Jake Willingham for a 10-yard gain. On fourth-and-1, VSU’s Tyler Josy sacked Bryan Ehrlich, who fumbled on the play setting up the Blazers’ game-winning drive. It was one of four sacks by Josey on the afternoon.
The Javelinas were in an offensive mood from the onset. On the team’s first offensive play from scrimmage, Nate Poppell hit a streaking Robert Armstrong down the middle of the field for a 94-yard touchdown. It was the third longest touchdown reception in Kingsville history and longest since Daniel Ramirez connected with Ryan Lincoln on a 95-yard TD pass against Angelo State in 2008.
Valdosta responded with a pair of first quarter scores to take a 14-7 lead. Seantavious Jones pulled in a 57-yard TD pass from Cayden Cochran to cap a 4-play, 75-yard drive. After a Kingsville punt, Regginald Lewis pulled in a 44 yard strike with 1:05 left in the half.
Ehrlich, who replaced an injured Poppell, tied the game at 14 with a 1-yard drive to cap a 13-play, 80-yard drive over 5:54. However, Gerald Ford pulled in a 44-yard pass with 1:05 left in the first half.
Matt Stoll pulled the Hoggies to within four, 21-17, at the half when he connected on a 41-yard field goal with 17 seconds left.
Ehrlich opened the second half scoring with a 18-yard pass to Armstrong seven minutes into the half for a 24-21 lead. Armstrong finished with a game-high four catches for 137 yards and two TDs.
After Daniel Andersen tied the game with 1:33 left in third quarter with a 22-yard field goal, Ford pulled in his second TD pass giving the Blazers a 31-24 lead with 1);14 left.
Kingsville responded with a 5-play, 79-yard drive tying the game at 31 with 7:36 left. Joseph Vela had a 77-yard reception to the VSU three. Vela broke multiple tackles in a highlight-reel reception. After a penalty pushed the Javelinas back, Ehrlich hit Jake Willingham with a 6-yard pass for a score.
The Hoggies finished the game with a season-high 495 yards. Ehrlich and Poppell combined for 389 yards passing and three TDs. Ehrlich was 12-of-24 for 224 yards and Poppell was 8-of-10 for 165 yards.
Both had an interception as Kingsville had three turnovers.
Defensively, Jeremy Aguilar had 12 tackles to lead the way. Steve Harris and Ford each had interceptions.
Cochran finished 24-of-37 for the Blazers with four TD passes and two INTs as they finished with 473 yards of offense. Lewis had a team-high 9 catches for 107 yards, while Jones had five receptions for 97. O’Neal had a game-high 110 yards rushing and a score.
With a win this weekend it would give the Hogs back to back 6-5 season and give Coach Atterberry his fifth straight winning season.