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Physically Dominated, Weevils Streak Ends at Two

Kevin Sims
Sports Editor
Photo by Kevin Sims
Spinked - Lindsey Spinks turns the corner on an end around to tie the score 7-7 on the Weevils' first possession. Spinks rushed four times for 16 yards and caught five passes for 27 yards.

   Riding the first winning streak since 2004, the University of Arkansas – Monticello Boll Weevils tried to match No. 8 Valdosta State point for point early, but could not keep pace in a physical 63-28 loss.

   Head coach Gwaine Mathews said the Blazers mauled the team on both sides of the ball in one of the most physical games he has seen as a coach. Three starters on defense and quarterback Scott Buison left the game at some point due to injury.

   “It’s the first time since I’ve been here that someone physically whipped our tail,” Mathews said. ”If this was a boxing match and I was the referee, I would have stopped it. Not that I want to quit. I’m just using that as an analogy of how bad the beating was. It wasn’t just a scoreboard beaten, there was physicality behind this beating.”

    Although Buison accounted for 290 yards of the Weevils 350 yards of total offense, three interceptions marred what would have been a solid outing for the freshman. Despite suffering a slight concussion late in the game, Buison racked up 75-rushing yards and a touchdown while going 27-43 for 215 yards in the air.

   Last year's starter Elijah McDonald played one series, throwing an interception on his only pass attempt.
Photo by Kevin Sims
Leap of Faith - Vincent Jackson leaps over Ronnard Toney to assist Solomon Edwards in a tackle. The Weevil defense game up the highest point total Saturday since Mathews took over as head coach.

   Defensively the Weevils struggled to contain Willie Copeland, who passes for six touchdowns and 284 yards. Michael Terry led all rushers, gaining 90 yards on 10 carries and a score. Valdosta rolled over the Weevils for 541-yards total offense.

   “On defense we are just not there,” Mathews said. “We got to look at a lot of things. We have to look at our players. We have to look at schematically what we are doing. We just got to get better.”

   The 63-point performance by Valdosta State set the mark for the highest point total given up by a Mathews-coached defense and the highest total since McNeese State beat the Weevils 65-7 in 1998.

   Early on the Weevils kept pace with the Blazers, matching scores throughout the first quarter. Valdosta struck first after the Weevils tried unsuccessfully with an onside kick on the opening kickoff.

   It took Copeland two plays to drive 59 yards, connecting with Jeffrey Felton on a 37-yard pass in the end zone. Felton led the Blazers with 84 yards on four catches, three of which were for touchdowns.

   The Weevils capitalized on the next possession when Lindsey Spinks capped off a 67-yard drive on an end around from three yards out to tie the score 7-7.

    The Weevils once again tried an onside kick, but were unsuccessful for the second time. Valdosta took advantage of the short field, taking the lead back with a 17-yard strike from Copeland to Cedric Jones.

    Keeping pace, the Weevil tied the score yet again, driving 64 yards on 10 plays. Johnny Polite capped off the drive, crashing in the end zone for a yard out.
Photo by Kevin Sims
Plunge Ahead - Johnny Polite plunges through to tie the game 14-14. Polite scored twice in the 63-28 loss.

   After the Polite score, the Weevils' offense began to stall and Valdosta put up 35-unanswered points.

   “We are not on that level,” Mathews said. “I knew we were not going to keep that up offensively. We are good on offense, but we are not going to keep up with them. The defense didn’t help the offense out.”

   Buison ended the scoreless drought late in the third when he broke loose on a 44-yard run to bring the Weevils within 28. Polite scored his second touchdown on the day midway through the fourth quarter when he plunge for a yard out to make the score 56-28.

   The Weevils could get no closer than 28 points for the rest of the game, and Valdosta extended its lead late in the forth when Dan Burdette scored on a nine-yard run.

   Polite finished the day with 44 yards on 16 carries. Jywin Ceasar led all pass catchers with 10 receptions for 93 yards.

   The Weevils return to action Saturday where it plays host to Delta State for the last game of the season.


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ŠThe Voice 2007
09/17/2007 09:07:11 PM —