Courtesy of Valdosta State Athletics
VALDOSTA, Ga. â€“ Non-conference games against Wingate and Newberry as well as a home contest versus Delta State highlight the 2010 Valdosta State football schedule, as announced by Blazer Head Coach David Dean Friday.
The Blazers open the season at home against the Bulldogs of Wingate on September 4, a game that will feature the first ever meeting between the two NCAA Division II Super Region 2 squads. Wingate tallied a 7-3 record in 2009 and will be led by All-South Atlantic rising junior running back Vince Jordan, who rushed for 967 yards and 12 touchdowns a year ago.
The following week, VSU will hit the road for the first time in 2010 as it travels to Newberry, S.C. to face Newbery College on September 11. The Blazers and NC have split a pair of games over the course of the last two seasons, with each school winning on its opponentâ€™s home field. Newberry finished the 2009 season with a 6-4 record, including a 31-24 victory in Bazemore-Hyder Stadium in the 2009 Valdosta State opener.
â€œWe have a very difficult non-conference schedule this season,â€ said Dean in making the announcement. â€œBoth Newberry and Wingate were in the mix for an NCAA Regional bid right up until the final week of the year last year. This will be the third straight season we have played Newberry and each team has one once so that has obviously been a very competitive series and I think will remain so this year.â€
Valdosta State returns home to Bazemore-Hyder Stadium and opens Gulf South Conference play against Delta State on September 18. The Statesmen, who were 5-5 in 2009, have won the last four match-ups between the two schools, including a 31-23 victory in Cleveland, Miss. last season.
Following a GSC contest on the road at Southern Arkansas on September 25, Ouachita Baptist will make a Homecoming visit to Valdosta on October 2. VSU has won 11 of 14 previous meetings against the Muleriders, including a 32-7 win in Magnolia in 2009, and has gone 9-1 all time against OBU, although the Tigers claimed their first-ever victory in the series with a 24-14 defeat of VSU in Arkadelphia, Ark. last season.
The final five games of the 2010 season will feature three road games against teams that played in the 2009 NCAA Super Regional, kicked off by a Thursday night visit to 2009 GSC champion North Alabama. The game, which will be featured as a part of the GSC Television package, will feature the 32nd time that the two schools have met, including the sixth in the last four seasons. UNA has won each of the last three outings and owns an 18-13-1 edge all-time in the series.
The Blazers host Arkansas-Monticello, who is led by record-setting rising senior Scott Buisson at quarterback, on October 23. Buisson has thrown for more than 7,500 yards in his first three seasons at with Arkansas-Monticello while rushing for another 2,300.
After a two-year lull in the series, Valdosta State and Arkansas Tech re-new their rivalry on October 30 when the Blazers visit Russellville, Ark. VSU has won eight of the nine previous meetings between the two schools, including a 28-27 come-from-behind thriller in Russellville in 2007, while ATU is coming off of a 9-3 season that saw the school advance its third NCAA postseason appearance.
Valdosta State closes its home schedule with in-state rival West Georgia in the annual â€œBattle for the Peach Basketâ€ on November 6 before finishing off its 2010 regular season with a Thursday night game against West Alabama, its second GSCTV Game of the Week appearance, on November 11.
Valdosta State returns 51 letterwinners, including seven starters on both offense and defense, off of a team that went 6-4 in 2009.