DEMOPOLIS, Ala. – Kyle Caldwell passed for three touchdowns and West Alabama rolled up 596 yards total offense on the way to a 71-14 college football victory over Concordia Thursday at Tiger Stadium in Demopolis.
West Alabama held the Hornets to just 15 yards rushing and improved to 3-1 with its top offensive yardage and point totals of the season. This is second time that a Tiger team coached by Will Hall has topped the 70 point mark. Concordia dropped to 0-3.
"We executed better in the second half, but we came out sloppy," Hall said. "I am really disappointed that we gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown and that we turned it over twice in the red zone like a bunch of clowns.
"We have a football team that is capable of winning a national title, so when we don't play as well as we believe we should, then everyone is unhappy," Hall said. "Still, it was game four and it was a win. It's good to be in that spot with our football program when we win by this margin and folks are unhappy."
For the fourth straight game the Tigers scored on the first possession. Mark Grant got West Alabama on the board with a 22-yard field goal with less than two minutes gone in the game. Concordia fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Stephanio McNair recovered in the Hornet endzone to put the Tigers ahead 10-0 just 10 seconds later.
Terrell Edwards-Maye then returned Grant's next kickoff 91 yards for a score, the extra point was no good and UWA led 10-6.
West Alabama would score two more times in the opening period on an 8-yard TD pass from Kyle Caldwell to Chad Toocheck and a 12-yard run by Kedrick Rhodes to go up 24-6 at the 6:48 mark of the first quarter. Rhodes finished with 122 yards rushing on 11 carries.
"They were hard to make checks against because they were lining up in random sets," Caldwell said. "We still have to take better care of the football. Chad and I had a miscommunication on the interception I threw in the end zone."
Cameron Mayfield found Mason Tillman from 10 yards out and the Hornets converted the two-point try to cut the West Alabama lead to 24-14 with 4:48 left on the first quarter clock.
The Tigers scored twice in the second quarter to stretch the lead to 38-14 at the half. Caldwell found Seth Roberts on a 44-yard touchdown pass with 11:02 left in the half and Rhodes found the endzone for the second time in the game on a 15-yard run with 1:08 until the break.
Roberts finished with three catches for 94 yards and has now scored a Gulf South Conference leading six touchdowns. Carnell Boyd also had three receptions for 52 yards.
Caldwell threw another touchdown pass to Toocheck in the third quarter, this one good for 19 yards. Gary Johnston found Javae Swindle out of the Tiger backfield for 14 yards and a third-quarter score as well.
Caldwell finished 12-for-24 for 216 yards, while Johnston was 3-for-4 for 58 yards and a score. He also caught two passes for 16 yards and ran four times for 43 yards. Dustyn Moseley also played at quarterback, but did not attempt a pass.
West Alabama tacked on three more touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Johnston found the endzone from 13 yards out with 14:03 left in the game to put the Tigers up 58-14.
Reggie Hall outran the Concordia defense from 22 yards out to make it 64-14 with 7:20 left to play. The one-play drive was set up by an interception return of 70 yards by safety Brandon Lilly, who finished with a game-high nine tackles.
"Qyen (Griffin) gets the credit for that because he batted the football and the defensive line got good pressure," Lilly said. "I was looking to score, but I just ran out of gas. I never told anybody I was fast and about 70 yards is all I got."
Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Jherron Jones capped off the scoring with the Tigers first defensive touchdown of the season, recovering a Concordia fumble in the Hornet end zone with 3:03 to play.
Mario Gainer, Demetruce McNeal and Ryan Jones combined for 18 tackles. Jones had a sack and two tackles for a loss, while Gainer had a tackle for loss.
Mayfield completed 17-of-26 for 155 yards for the Hornets. Edwards-Maye had 19 yards rushing to lead Concordia.
The Tigers return to GSC play Thursday when Delta State comes to Tiger Stadium on the UWA campus in Livingston. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. for the GSC-TV LIVE game.