The UNA team that started off the season 1-2 now has a chance to win at least a share of the Gulf South Conference championship. The Lions (5-2, 3-1 GSC) face No. 20 West Alabama (6-2, 4-0) on Saturday in a game that will pretty much decide the conference champion. Kickoff is at 3 p.m., at Braly Stadium.
If West Alabama wins the Tigers clinch at least a share of the title. West Alabama has only Shorter left on its GSC schedule, so unless something really crazy happens the Tigers will be the outright champion if they beat UNA.
The Lions need a win to tie West Alabama atop the standings. If UNA does beat West Alabama and the two teams each win their final GSC games, then they will be co-champions. Delta State could also win a share of the title. The Statesmen play Valdosta State on Saturday. If Delta State and UNA each win, then it’s a three-way tie atop the standings. Delta State plays West Georgia in its final conference game.
UNA is coming off an amazing 57-7 victory over Valdosta State. The Lions certainly looked like a conference champion in that win as seemingly everything went right. It was the worst loss in Valdosta State history.
The Lions will need to play another near perfect game to beat West Alabama. The Tigers are a very explosive team offensively with two of the better quarterbacks in the conference in Kyle Caldwell and Gary Johnston. Watching Caldwell brings back memories of his coach, former UNA quarterback Will Hall, the 2003 Harlon Hill Trophy winner.
Caldwell is equally effective running the option or throwing. The Tigers also have outstanding running backs and receivers. It will be another huge test for UNA’s defense, which has improved each week since the early-season loss to Delta State.
The keys for UNA? Keep doing the the things it has been doing the past few weeks. That means the defense has to keep from giving up big plays and force turnovers. They must make West Alabama put together long drives to score and not give up the 50-yard touchdown strikes or the big runs on the option.
Offensively, the Lions must continue to have some success throwing long. The long passes loosen up the defense and open up the running game. UNA needs to put together some long drives and keep West Alabama’s offense on the sideline. The Lions cannot turn the ball over themselves.
It should be a great atmosphere at Braly Stadium and hopefully the game will live up to expectations. Like a lot of big games it could come down to a key play in the kicking game, such as a punt return by Philbert Martial. That could be the difference for the Lions.
UNA 33, West Alabama 31Share on Facebook