Freshman quarterback Dewayne Betts had a career game for the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils as they beat the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions 38-31 Saturday at UAPB.
Red-shirt junior quarterback Le'Earl Patterson made his first start of the season for the Golden Lions in place of previous starter Brandon Duncan. UAPB Head Coach Monte Coleman often mentions Patterson's athletic ability and the advantage that it gives him in certain areas.
For their second home game of the season, the UAPB Golden Lions played host to the Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils.
Both teams started off sluggish on offense. The first five offensive possessions of the game resulted in punts. It would take a turnover for the Golden Lions to get going, and it was junior Shafon Alcorn who picked off MVSU's quarterback Christopher Fowler. Alcorn returned the pick down to the MVSU 26 yard line to set the Golden Lions up with great field position.
It wouldn't take long at all for the Golden Lions to capitalize with a 24-yard touchdown run by KeShawn Williams for the first score of the game.
The UAPB defense continued to make their presence felt, as early in the second quarter they forced a turnover on downs. The Delta Devils gambled and went for it on 4th and 2 but weren't successful. Valley's first four offensive possessions resulted in a two punts, an interception and a turnover on downs.
Patterson would then get the UAPB offense moving with a 35-yard strike to receiver Kolby McNeal. Then, Williams would take a screen pass from Patterson for 39 yards, barely stepping out at the MVSU three yard line. On the next play, running back Dante McDonald, who is working his way back from an injury, punched it in from three yards out to put UAPB ahead two scores.
MVSU Head Coach Rick Comegy decided to pull Fowler for his second quarterback in their two-quarterback system, D. Betts. Betts made for instant offense, and he provided Valley with a much-needed spark.
Betts turned what was a broken play into MVSU's first score of the game as he scrambled out the pocket to find his receiver, Steven McIntosh, wide open to make the score 14-7. That score also gave the Delta Devil's defense momentum, and they took the field and forced a quick three-and-out.
UAPB's defense would respond with a forced punt of their own, but minutes later Coleman would take a gamble that ended up working against the Golden Lions. Faced with 4th and 1 on their own 30 yard line, the Golden Lions attempted to get the first, but were held short, giving MVSU a short field.
The Delta Devils would then pull a little trick-ration out of their hats with a wide-receiver pass from McIntosh to a wide open Darrion Harper for a game-tying touchdown.
However, there was plenty of time left for the Golden Lions to work with, and they utilized it. Patterson found a streaking Paris Mack for a deep ball connection that put them in scoring range. With seconds remaining before the end of the first half, All-SWAC place kicker Jamie Gillan nailed a 52-yard field goal to put UAPB ahead 17-14 heading into the break.
MVSU decided to stick with Betts coming out of half, and he continued to manufacture the offense. The first drive of the second half was led by Betts, and it was capped off by a Nicholas Jacquemin 42-yard field goal to tie the score 17-17.
A few plays later, UAPB's Patterson would throw an interception that set MVSU for their go-ahead touchdown. Betts found his receiver, Tyron Hundley, over the middle for a 12-yard touchdown pass to put them ahead 24-17.
On the Golden Lions' ensuing offensive possession, Williams would showcase his breakout playmaking ability once again. This time it was Williams running past the Delta Devils' defense for a 75-yard touchdown run.
However, Betts wasn't done yet, and he would respond by leading an 11-play drive that was capped off by his third touchdown pass of the game. Betts hit his wide-out, Quinn McElfresh, for a seven-yard touchdown completion to give MVSU a 31-24 advantage with :52 left to play in quarter three.
On UAPB's next drive, another turnover would plague them just as they were literally a yard away from another score. Dante McDonald was headed into the end zone, but he was greeted by a MVSU defender at the one yard line, causing him to fumble into the end zone, where the Delta Devils recovered for a touchback.
While in rhythm, Betts wasted little time finding his wide-out McIntosh in the soft spot of the UAPB defense for a 61-yard touchdown connection.
The UAPB offense had their chances to try and make a comeback, but the MVSU defense didn't give up anything easy. Also, time wasn't on the side of the Golden Lions, and the 14-point deficit would be too much to overcome. UAPB wide-out Tyrin Ralph would take a bubble screen from six yards out into the end zone for their final touchdown of the game.
For the second consecutive season, MVSU came into Golden Lion Stadium and left victorious.