By DSU Media Relations
ARKADELPHIA, Ark.- The third-ranked Delta State University Statesmen (4-1) capped off their four game road excursion over the last month with a 34-31 win over Henderson State. The Statesmen took advantage of six Reddie turnovers to come away with their third straight win.
After both teams traded turnovers to start the game, the Statesmen got on the board first. Junior running back Avery Horn capped off a six play, 28-yard drive with a three yard touchdown run. The scamper gave the Statesmen the early 7-0 advantage.
The Statesmen came right back and recovered their second fumble of the game on the ensuing kickoff. Trenton Warren recovered the fumble after Nick Johnson had it stripped. However, the Statesmen could not come away with points on the drive as senior kicker Matt Dean missed a 44-yard field goal.
The Reddies drove down the field, but the Statesmen defense cam up huge. Junior defensive back Montavious Hill intercepted the ball at the four yard line, as Henderson State turned it over for the third time in the game.
After the next Statesmen drive resulted in a punt, Henderson State went back on offense. The trickery began for the Reddies, as they faked a punt on fourth and six. Jazz Scott ran the fake punt 45 yards to the end zone. The touchdown not only tied the game at 7-7, but it was the first touchdown scored by Henderson State in the first quarter this season.
The Statesmen came right back on offense and marched down the field. The Statesmen could not punch the ball into the end zone, and had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Dean. The field goal gave the Statesmen a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.
The Reddies marched down the field on their next offensive drive, and took the lead. Jarvis Smith capped off a 6-play 61 yard drive with a five yard touchdown run. The touchdown gave the Reddies their first lead of the game at 14-10 with under eight minutes left in the half.
After another Statesmen punt, the Reddies went right back to work on offense. Quarterback Kevin Rodgers led the offense on an eight play 73 yard drive. Rodgers capped the drive odd with a three yard touchdown pass to Johnson. The touchdown extended the Reddie lead to 21-10.
The Statesmen needed some quick offense to get back into the game, and they got just that. Davis led a 10 play 67 yard drive capped of by a touchdown run from sophomore running back Richard Freelon. The touchdown cut the Reddie lead to four points at 21-17.
The Reddies marched down the field as the first half was drawing to a close. The Statesmen then closed the half out with an interception by Dwight Tillman. The pick was the fourth turnover of the game for Henderson State.
The Statesmen received the ball to start the second half. The Statesmen were forced to punt from mid field, and Davis quick kicked the ball to pin the Reddies on their own seven yard line. Henderson State converted a big third down to advance the ball for a first down. A Statesmen penalty advanced the ball to midfield. Once again the Reddies were helped out by Statesmen penalties on the drive as Delta State was called for a late hit out of bounds which put the ball deep into Delta territory. After another penalty advanced the ball to the two yard line, the Reddies had to settle for a field goal. The 20 yard field goal by Eric Torres advanced the Henderson State lead to seven points at 24-17.
The Statesmen defense came through with a much needed stop. Henderson State tried yet another fake punt, but the Statesmen were not fooled as they took over on the Reddie 39 yard line. The Statesmen offense then went to work with a five play, 399 yard touchdown drive. Davis connected with senior wide out Bill Franks, and the extra point by Dean knotted the game up at 24 late in the third quarter.
On the ensuing Henderson drive, the Statesmen defense came away with yet another turnover. Tillman picked off his second pass of the game to give the Statesmen the ball at the Henderson State 24 yard line. The Statesmen rushing attack then went to work. Freelon capped a five play drive with his second trip to the end zone. The score gave the Statesmen back their lead at 31-24.
It was Henderson’s turn to try and drive the field. For awhile it looked to be going the Reddies’ way. However, the Statesmen defense held the Reddies off the scoreboard and forced a punt.
After a great punt by Andrew Jones of the Statesmen, the Reddies looked to finally drive their way to the end zone. The Statesmen defense had other ideas, as they forced the sixth Reddie turnover of the game. Freshman linebacker T.J. West forced and recovered the fumble.
On the ensuing Statesmen drive, Dean put a 38-yard field goal through the uprights. The field goal extended the Statesmen’s lead to 34-24 with under four minutes to go in regulation.
Henderson State was not about to give up. The Reddies marched down the field to score a late touchdown. Turell Williams capped off the drive with a one yard touchdown run. The Delta State lead was cut to three with 2:25 to go.
The Statesmen then recovered the attempted onside kick by Henderson State, and were aided by a personal foul on the Reddies. The Statesmen were able to convert a critical third down, as the Reddies used up their timeouts. The Statesmen then ran out the clock to come away with a 34-31 victory.
Davis finished 24-of-34 for 169 yards, and one touchdown. Freelon finished with 16 rushes for 49 yards, and two touchdowns. Henderson State out gained the Statesmen 395 yards to 354. The Reddies turned the ball over six times compared the Delta State’s one turnover. The Statesmen were flagged 13 times for 116 yards. The Reddies committed 10 penalties for 90 yards.
The Statesmen return home next week as they face Ouachita Baptist. Next week is also Pig Pickin’ in Statesmen Park. The game Saturday, Oct. 1 gets underway at 6 p.m. at Parker Field at McCool Stadium.