Round one of the playoffs went the way of the wolf in Albany, Georgia, as the West Georgia Wolves used a smothering defensive effort to take a 23-7 victory over fourth-seeded Albany State.
In a defensive struggle, the Wolves prevailed against a team that came into the game as the top defensive team in the nation in the regular season.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair with the defensive units leading the way as the two teams combined for 350 yards of offense. West Georgia went through the air as Harrison Frost was 11-of-15 for 14 yards in the period and the Golden Rams hit on the ground with 127 yards rushing.
The Wolves were able to capitalize on miscues from ASU early on, as Mike Miller scooped a fumble and went the distance, scoring on a 76-yard recovery to give the Wolves a 7-0 lead with 9:12 left in the first quarter.
Albany State went on another march, but the Wolves’ defense stepped up again, this time with Kadarius Satterwhite picking off a Dionte Bonneau pass in the end zone. West Georgia responded with an eight-play, 80-yard march that was finished with a two-yard score from Jace Jordan and a 14-0 lead with 59 seconds left in the first quarter.
The touchdown for Jordan marked the eighth consecutive game that the senior has found the end zone and the fourth rushing score in the past two games.
After an exchange of possessions, including a fourth-down stop from the Albany State defense, the Wolves picked up a six-play, 85-yard drive that ended with a seven-yard touchdown run from Tyray Devezin to make it 20-0. That is the way the half ended, as the two teams went into the locker room with UWG holding a 20-point advantage.
In the second half, the defensive battle became a war of attrition, with both teams stepping up the defensive pressure. ASU picked off a Harrison Frost on the opening drive of the period and the Wolves returned the favor with a three-and-out.
Such was the nature of the half, as the Wolves managed a field goal as time expired at the end of the third quarter as the only score of the second half for the visiting team. Albany State picked up a score with 10:32 left in the game as the Golden Rams’ only points of the contest.
The Wolves had 323 yards in the game, including 210 through the air on 20-of-36 passing from Frost. Mechane Slade had seven receptions for 67 yards and Jace Jordan had seven carries for 44 yards. On the defensive side, Deontae Overstreet had 11 tackles to lead the UWG defensive effort, followed by Damarcus Robins with eight stops.
West Georgia will now return to South Georgia next weekend, taking on top-seeded Valdosta State in a rematch from October 30.