No. 3 West Georgia holds off late UWA rally

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CARROLLTON, Ga. (UWA Athletics) - West Alabama rallied late to throw a scare into No. 3 West Georgia, but the Wolves held on for a 27-25 Gulf South Conference football victory over the Tigers Saturday at Ra-Lin Field at University Stadium.

The Wolves remained undefeated at 8-0 overall, 5-0 in the conference. Defending league champion West Alabama is 5-3 and 2-3. The win was just the fourth in the last 13 games for West Georgia in the series.

Trailing 27-19, Harry Satterwhite connected with Tiger tight end Qua Boyd on a 19-yard touchdown pass with 1:08 to play to cut the score to the final margin. West Alabama was forced to try for a two-point conversion due to a pair of missed point after touchdown kicks earlier in the game.

West Georgia was called for pass interference on the try for two, so West Alabama had another attempt for Boyd on a jump ball from Satterwhite, but UWG's Tyler Jack was not called for a second time on what seemed to be obvious pass interference and the Wolves came away the winner.

West Alabama recovered the ensuing onside kick with 1:05 left, but was called for an illegal block. West Georgia recovered the re-kick, ran three plays and punted. The Tigers had one final chance from their own 20-yard-line with 2 second left. A 23-yard completion from Satterwhite to Christian Saulsberry ended the game.

QUOTING COACH GILLILAND

"I thought we played well in a lot of phases, but we had practiced well this week. We played the No. 3 team in the nation tooth and nail."

"West Georgia's defense is as good as there is in the country and we scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns against them. That says a lot about this team

"We are built for games like this. Now we have to find a way to win it."

"What's left is about fighting for the season one game at a time."

HOW THEY SCORED

West Alabama opened the game with a seven-play drive, capped by a 1-yard run on fourth and goal by Derrick Underwood. Jordan Bennett's PAT made it 7-0 with 12:17 left in the first period. The 63-yard drive was highlighted by a 28-yard completion from Harry Satterwhite to Seth Knotts and a 23-yard run from Christian Saulsberry.

West Georgia answered with a 75-yard, 11-play drive, capped by a 3-yard scoring pass from Willie Candler to Malik Henry with 7:04 left in the first period to tie the score at 7-7.

The Wolves stretched the lead to 14-7 on a 1-yard run by Devontae with 4:10 to play in the first half. The run capped an 11-play, 77-yard drive for the score.

Omar Cervantes connected on a 42-yard field goal with 9:29 left in the 3rd quarter to make it 17-7 Wolves. Cervantes boot put the icing on a 13-play, 53-yard drive.

Satterwhite hooked up with Tyriq Martin on an 8-yard TD pass with 5:02 left in the third quarter. The extra point by Bennett was no good, but the Tigers had cut the Wolves lead to 17-13.

Cervantes stretched the Wolves lead to 20-13, converting a 44-yard field goal attempt with 12:35 left in the game.

West Alabama pulled to within a point at 20-19 on a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Tyler Rogers with 8:47 left in the game. Bennett's extra point try was wide right after the 9-play, 75-yard scoring drive.

West Georgia seemed to have put the game away on a 2-yard run by Christian Royalston with 3:06 to play. The 12-play, 65-yard drive made it 27-19 Wolves.

Satterwhite and tight end Qua Boyd teamed up on a second-down completion for 19 yards and a score with 1:05 to play. The try for two failed and West Georgia led 27-25.

WORTH NOTING

The 387 yards gained by West Alabama is the most allowed by West Georgia this season. The Tigers averaged 6.9 yards per play to 5.0 for the Wolves.

West Georgia had six drives in the game of at least 11 plays, five of them ending in points. West Alabama scored on its first drive, then punted six straight times before scoring on three of its final four drives.

UWA senior Seth Knotts made his first start at wide receiver, catching a 28-yard pass on the game's first play.

Tiger safety Nicarius Peterson blew up the GSC's leading rusher Devontae Johnson on 4th-and-goal at the Tiger 1-yard line to keep the score tied 7-7 early at the 12:47 mark of the second quarter, snuffing out a 12-play, 87-yard drive with no points. The play resulted in a 3-yard loss and the Wolves turning the ball over on downs.

Montrell Pardue blocked a Jordan Bennett punt with 1:14 left in the first half, giving the Wolves possession at the Tigers 41-yard line.

A huge combo sack from Jon Michael Edwards and Jordan Jones on 3rd-and-11 forced a Wolve punt on the ensuing drive and gave the Tigers one last shot before the end of the half. A 41-yard Satterwhite to Jonnas Spivey completion put the ball at the UWG 35, but three incompletions and two UWA penalties later the Tigers punted and UWG kneeled on its own 20 to end the half.

Spivey's catch was just his third of the season and his first since a 5-yarder on Sept. 15 against Valdosta State.

West Georgia almost doubled the possession time in the game, owning the football for 39:44 to 20:16 for the Tigers. The Wolves ran 28 more plays in the game.

Total yard totals ended up UWG 424, UWA 387.

West Alabama converted 1-of-8 third down conversions, 1-of-1 on fourth down. UWG was 8-of-16 on third down and 1-of-2 on fourth.

Seven first-half points marks the second-time the Tigers have been held to just one touchdown in the first 30 minutes this year. The first was in a 20-16 loss at North Greenville on Sept. 29.

Satterwhite's two TD passes gives him 57 in his UIWA career. Good for fourth all-time.

West Alabama has now missed four extra point this season. The Tigers are 22-for-26 on the year.

INDIVIDUAL STATS

Jackson ran 35 times for 162 yards and a touchdown for West Georgia.

Underwood had a career-high 70 yards on 12 carries for West Alabama.

Satterwhite was 18-of-32 for 229 yards and a pair of scores. Candler was 24-of-35 for 242 yards and a score.

Saulsberry led Tiger receivers with six catches for 83 yards. Boyd had four for 43.

Henry led all receivers, hauling in seven passes for 105 yards for UWG.

The top three all-purpose yardage players in the GSC did not disappoint. Saulsberry had 174 all-purpose yards, Jackson 161 and Henry 105.

West Alabama had three defenders with double-figure tackles. Terry Samuel led all tacklers in the game with 14, followed by Jordan Jones and Abraham Wallace with 10.

West Alabama's defense recorded seven tackles for loss and two quarterback sacks. West Georgia did not record a sack and had just two tackles for loss.

Korie Rogers led West Georgia defenders with nine tackles. Pardue had seven.

NEXT WEEK

West Alabama entertains Florida Tech for Homecoming on the Florida Space Coast GSC-TV Game of the Week on ESPN3. Kickoff is 4 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.

West Georgia travels to Mississippi College for a 4 p.m. kick.