UWG (2-2, 0-1 GSC) got back within four points after quarterback Dallas Dickey led the Wolves all the way down the field to the Tiger eight-yard line early in the fourth quarter, but a holding penalty forced the Wolves to settle for a 31-yard Davis Brackett field goal, pulling them within four with 10:42 remaining in the game.
On the ensuing UWA possession, Tiger tailback Danny Hobbs fumbled on the third play from scrimmage — UWA’s fourth lost fumble of the night — and West Georgia’s Tory Slater recovered the ball at the Tiger 47. The Wolves weren’t able to capitalize, however, going three-and-out and punting back to the Tigers.
West Georgia got one last crack at it, starting from its own 20-yard line with 3:24 remaining in the game. The Wolves crossed into Tiger territory, but Dickey’s fourth-and-two attempt from the Tiger 47 fell incomplete, allowing No. 19 West Alabama (4-1, 2-0) to run out the clock in the victory formation.
UWA owned most of the statistical categories on Saturday, rushing for 328 yards on 58 attempts, while the Wolves, who entered the game as the GSC’s top-ranked offense, finished with 242 yards of total offense.
UWG junior signal-caller Austin Trainor struggled all evening, completing just 5-of-18 pass attempts for 72 yards with four interceptions before being pulled for Dickey in the final minute of the third quarter.
Reggie Hall led the Tigers with 89 yards on three carries and Matt Willis — the GSC’s leading rusher — added 86 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries before leaving the game with an injury just before the half. Dickey led UWG’s ground attack with 52 yards on five carries, while Quan Jones finished with 47 yards and a touchdown on 11 attempts.
The UWG defense put the first points of the game on the board after Donovan Jackson recovered a Gary Johnston fumble and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown to give the Wolves the early 7-0 lead with 9:23 remaining in the first quarter.
The Tigers tied the game up at 7-all late in the opening quarter on a seven-yard Kyle Caldwell run at the 3:07 mark, capping off a six-play, 58-yard scoring drive.
The Wolves capitalized on another UWA fumble off a Brackett punt early in the second quarter, where the Tigers’ Javae Swindle coughed up the ball and Isaiah Hinsley pounced on it for UWG.
That set up a 20-yard Brackett field goal to put the Wolves back up by three at 10-7 with 12:33 left in the first half.
On the ensuing possession, West Alabama marched 66 yards in six plays to retake the lead on a four-yard Willis touchdown run, making it 14-10.
West Georgia countered with a six-play scoring drive of its own, going 67 yards with Jones finding the end zone from nine yards out to flip the lead back into the Wolves’ favor at 17-14 with 7:01 left in the second quarter.
The Tigers pulled back to dead-even as time expired in the half on a 25-yard field goal by Ryne Smith, as the teams went into the locker rooms knotted up at 17-all.
West Georgia returns to action next week for homecoming against rival Valdosta State. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at University Stadium.