HOUSTON, Texas – A Mississippi Valley State season that began with a disappointing loss to Concordia College has turned into one to remember – in a good way.
The Delta Devils used its stingy defense and rejuvenated offense to defeat Texas Southern 34-3 at BBVA Compass Stadium to close out the 2012 season.
The win gives Valley (5-6, 5-4 SWAC) its best conference finish since 2006 when the Delta Devils also went 5-4 under Willie Totten. It also marked MVSU’s first three-game win streak since 2006 when they defeated Texas Southern, Prairie View and Alcorn State in a three-game span.
“I’m proud of our team,” said MVSU head coach Karl Morgan. “It’s great that our seniors get to close out their career with a victory.”
MVSU wasted no time Saturday showing the Tigers (2-9, 2-7 SWAC) what they had to offer. Julian Stafford returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a score to give the Delta Devils an early 7-0 lead. But that wouldn’t get the last time TSU would hear from the sophomore standout.
He scored the game’s final TD on an 89-yard strike from Garrick Jones which gave the Delta Devils a demanding 34-7 lead.
Stafford finished the day with five catches for 160 yards and a TD. The Memphis native had a career-high 282 all-purpose yards.
While Stafford was the star of the MVSU, it was junior college transfer Kevin Eugene making a name for himself on defense.
The junior safety scored two second quarter TDs – the first on a 31-yard interception return and the final one on a 100-yard fumble return after TSU had drove to MVSU’s 2-yard line.
Eugene had two of Valley’s three interceptions.
His two defensive scores along with a 5-yard TD run by quarterback Garrick Jones gave the Delta Devils a commanding 27-3 halftime lead.
Then Stafford’s 89-yard TD catch with 7:54 left in the third quarter gashed TSU’s hopes of a comeback.
The win marked the second straight victory over the Tigers for MVSU.
Valley’s third-ranked FCS defense lived up to its reputation Saturday as well, sacking TSU quarterbacks six times and picking off three passes.
Keven Woods led MVSU’s defense with 10 tackles (2.5 for loss), 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Jeremy Langston added eight tackles (2 for loss) and a sack while Robert Simpson, who leads the FCS in tackles for loss, had six tackles (2 for loss) and 1.5 sacks.
Rico Shaw (1 sack), Marquez Floyd (0.5 sacks) and Javaris Fritz (0.5 sacks) also got to the quarterback.
MVSU senior cornerback Daanjeral Johnson had an interception.
The Delta Devils forced TSU to punt eight times throughout the game and limited to just 241 total yards. MVSU finished with 469 yards of total offense.
MVSU running back Brandon Stansell closed out his career with another remarkable game on the ground. He rushed for 102 yards on 14 carries while quarterback Garrick Jones added 89 and a TD on the ground.
Jones finished 10-of-21 through the air for 148 yards and a TD with a pair of interceptions.
– Courtesy: MVSU Sports Information
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