Written by Juston Lewis, Staff Writer
Despite snatching the Peach Basket away from West Georgia, head coach Kerwin Bell said VSU football still has room to improve ahead of the matchup against Mississippi College.
Roland Rivers got the start against UWG after another week of competing with Adam Robles in practice. Rivers had complete control of the game until he went down early in the third quarter with cramps. This made way for Robles to enter the game, and his play in the game kept the quarterback competition alive.
Rivers had 197 passing yards and 61 rushing yards to total 258 in the game. Robles had 184 passing yards while Rivers went to the locker room for his cramps.
“It was hard to bench Adam a week after he threw for 400 yards, but Roland just had that look in his eyes,” Bell said. “We’re going to let them compete, but Roland will probably be the guy going out there starting. I have faith in both of them and we’re going to let them compete because it’s making them both better.”
While the competition is not over, coach Bell said it’s nice that his players can sacrifice for each other.
“We were a team (on Saturday), guys didn’t complain if they didn’t play as much as they should and it started with our quarterbacks. When I told Adam he wasn’t starting, he told me he’ll do whatever’s best for the team, but he’ll be ready. Sure enough when Roland went down, Adam was ready to play.”
Despite playing two different quarterbacks, the Blazers ran 93 plays and gained 546 yards of total offense. Bell said he thinks his team can still improve on these marks.
“We want to get faster than that. We can get faster, and there’s a lot of areas we can improve on. We missed at least three drives that we didn’t score on in the red zone.”
A big area of improvement for the Blazers came from their offensive line. In the two meetings with UWG last season, the Blazers gave up a combined 11 sacks. In the victory on Saturday, the VSU offensive line allowed zero sacks.
“It was just guys stepping up and sacrificing for the team by putting their bodies on the line. They have some of the best defensive ends in the country and to not give up any sacks against them is pretty impressive. That’s where the game was won for us.”
The offensive line play was a direct correlation to the Blazers success but the defense was just as important. The Black Swarm defense had four interceptions on the night, which brings their total to 15 on the season. The Blazers held West Georgia to under 25 minutes of possession, and the Wolves were one of eight on third down conversions.
“Our defense has been a championship style defense all year. When we’ve struggled offensively they’ve given us the opportunity to win every game that we have. They’ve played extremely well and they are consistent.”
The Blazers will need that consistency on the road this weekend as they travel to Clinton, Mississippi, to face Mississippi College in a Gulf South Conference Matchup. It will mark the first away game for the Blazers since the loss at North Alabama.
Bell told his players after practice that there was still room for improvement.
“Saturday was a good performance but it wasn’t our best,” Bell said at the end of practice. “Keep working. Keep getting better.”
Mississippi College is currently 0-4 in conference play with a negative 110 point differential in those four games.
The Blazers will look to keep their momentum on the road trip before they come back home for homecoming to play a Delta State team that beat Mississippi College 61-31.