Valdosta State to play for national title

Valdosta State’s football team will play unbeaten Winston-Salem State for the Division II National Championship Saturday afternoon in Florence, Ala.

Valdosta State's Regginald Lewis fights for yardage against Minnesota State-Mankato (AP photo)

Valdosta State's Regginald Lewis fights for yardage against Minnesota State-Mankato (AP photo)

Valdosta State (11-2) advanced by beating previously unbeaten Minnesota State-Mankato (13-1) 35-19 in a semifinal in Mankato, Minn. Austin Scott ran for 158 yards for the winners.

Winston-Salem State beat West Texas A&M 41-18 and improved to 14-0.

Saturday’s game will mark the fourth time that the Blazers have advanced to the Div. II national championship game. Valdosta State has won twice, in 2004 and 2007.

Meanwhile, Georgia Southern will play North Dakota State in the NCAA Division I (FCS) semifinals in Fargo, N.D., Friday night after beating Old Dominion 49-35 in Norfolk, Va.

North Dakota State (12-1), the defending national champion, will host the Eagles (10-3) in a rematch of a semifinal from last season. The Bison won that game 35-7

102 comments Add your comment

ED

December 9th, 2012
6:19 pm

Congratulations to Valdosta St. and Georgia Southern!!!

George

December 9th, 2012
6:19 pm

Coach David Dean does a great job at VSU. Hope they win it all. He is also a very good guy.

football fan

December 9th, 2012
6:28 pm

Just think, if Georgia hadn’t choke on the 5 yr line and beaten bama, the state of ga could had 3 national champion D1, D2 & D3.

Blazerdawg

December 9th, 2012
6:39 pm

Go Blazers! Great football program and among the best university campuses in the south!

Tech Fan Since 1950

December 9th, 2012
6:43 pm

Congratulations from this Tech guy to both VSU and Georgia Southern. VSU has pioneered the wide open spread offense for many years that has been adopted by many SEC and ACC schools, etc., in recent years. Coach Dean deserves great credit for his role in building the VSU program. It is amazing the number of top notch college coaches that got their start on a VSU staff, including those on the defensive side as well like Kirby Smart and Will Muschamp. Go Blazers!

Mark L

December 9th, 2012
6:53 pm

Enter your comments here

THEX

December 9th, 2012
6:56 pm

Blazerdawg

December 9th, 2012
7:05 pm

Insightful and cool comments Tech 50. Hope the Jackets sting the Trojans!

Iluvnutella

December 9th, 2012
7:09 pm

I know Valdosta OR Statesboro arent in the AJC’s new wheelhouse, but a snipit 24 hours after the fact is pis*poor imho. So much for “Covering Dixie like the Dew”. grats to my Alma Mater and to the Eagles of Statesboro…..the only two football teams in Ga that know how to win NC’s……

The University of South Georgia

December 9th, 2012
7:16 pm

Blazers will need to score big in this one, and I believe they will. Go get that ring Blazers.

CPHIC

December 9th, 2012
7:53 pm

Congrats to Connell Maynor and the WSSU. Bring it home, homeboy. NC A&T MEAC champs 90,91, and 92. Spring line 89, 38 Strong Songs.

aon

December 9th, 2012
7:59 pm

The Eagles have a tough game ahead of them against North Dakota State, but I believe in them. To quote Coach Jeff Monken, “I’m just so proud to be a Georgia Southern Eagle.”

Tech alum

December 9th, 2012
8:03 pm

I hope Tech’s new athletics administration fires Paul Johnson and hires David Dean (who’s a Tech alum himself and former football letterman).

jlw

December 9th, 2012
9:04 pm

football fan,

No D3 involved. Valdosta State is D-II. Georgia Southern is FCS (I-AA).

Bruce

December 9th, 2012
9:59 pm

I have to say Georgia dropped the ball, by not giving Tyler Heineke a chance to play. He is a great QB.

AtlBlaze

December 9th, 2012
10:12 pm

As usual it take a National Championship shot to have AJC finally pay any attention to VSU. Great run getting to the National Championship game. GO BLAZERS!!!

Sense

December 9th, 2012
10:52 pm

Div. I should have this type of playoff.

EagleDawg

December 9th, 2012
11:03 pm

Good luck to GSU and VSU!!

EagleDawg

December 9th, 2012
11:04 pm

Good luck to GSU & VSU !!

Dum-Bass

December 10th, 2012
12:09 am

Georgia Southern, the REAL GSU, although the AJC seems to think otherwise. It may be Georgia State in Atlanta and North GA but all over the rest of the state and the nation GA Southern is known admirably as GSU!

SickAndTired

December 10th, 2012
6:02 am

Football fan. Georgia didn’t choke. They tried their best. Their best just wasn’t good enough against a rebuilding Alabama team. It will be another 30 years before they get that close to a Crystal football unless they visit Alabama and look at the trophy case. Or maybe they could go to Auburn or LSU or Florida.

Snarkysnake

December 10th, 2012
6:44 am

Go Blazers !

Question: It seems like Valdo has the support and competence to move to FCS. Is this even a possibility? They seem to run their athletics program like it should be done. Could we see them playing in a higher weight class some day soon?

JustMe

December 10th, 2012
6:45 am

Too bad Valdosta State remains stuck in Division 2. Its past time time they make the move up. Apparently their current AD holds them back and is no favorite around campus. Coach Dean is a
great coach, great guy. Hope they don’t lose him like the all the other greats that have passed through
because of the unwillingness to grow/move up.

VFP42

December 10th, 2012
6:56 am

All these little schools are getting there, so why can’t Georgia or Georgia Tech ever seem to make the semi-finals?

GT

December 10th, 2012
7:09 am

Valdosta is a great football town period. We should move the Jackets down there for a few games and see if it rubs off.

The Blazing_Eagle

December 10th, 2012
7:26 am

Well having attended Georgia Southern as a grad student and VSU for my undergrad…its great to be me right now. I wish VSU would move up, and the school administration discusses it about once every two or three years…I wish they would because it would bring some great exposure to our student athletes…but I’d hate to see my Blazers and my Eagles face off against each other.

LHSAlum33

December 10th, 2012
7:29 am

VFP42 Because the FBS doesn’t have a playoff system. If FCS and and Div II had a bowl system, Georgia Southern nor VSU would be in the championship game because they both had 2 loses and their were at least 2 undefeated teams

trueblueeagle

December 10th, 2012
7:41 am

Pirate Booty

December 10th, 2012
7:47 am

Amazing to me that Greg Reid is shooting for a national championship at FSU, gets booted from the team, lands at VSU and now stands to benefit from the punishment with a ring. Perhaps it will magically restore his ACL.

MAC7

December 10th, 2012
7:59 am

THE BIGGER THE GAME THE HOTTER THE FLAME!!!! GO BLAZERS!!!!

Ed Pilcher

December 10th, 2012
8:24 am

Ga. Southern will blow it. It will be just like last year, when N D State’s defense didn’t allow Southern anything in the last 3 quarters and shut down the option. Where’s ND State’s defense ranked this year? Why #1 again, of course. Face it, Ga Southern has choked every single year in the playoffs since Paul Johnson left. And the trend will continue this year.

Buckhead Benny

December 10th, 2012
8:27 am

The biggest knock on Valdosta State is the AD there. They play at Valdosta High School stadium, and the biggest problem there are a lot of alumni here in Atlanta and around the nation that want to contribute to a stadium fund like West Georgia did, but it has to be initiated from the administration to the board of regents which requires your president, athletic director, etc- from an alumni from VSU- they won’t even mention the word stadium when you ask about it now or will they ever even disclose future plans for it.

Very frustrating because when you have a campus that nice, and when you see the Wildcat logo’s all over the place you sit in amazement how an AD even keeps his job there especially when you have your rival in state school in the same conference that built a 25 million dollar stadium a few years ago West Georgia who doesn’t even have a fraction of the tradition of VSU or in my opinion the wealth that city of Valdosta has to support it.

That AD has the biggest napoloean complex- You have one of the best division 2 programs in the country with one of the worst stadiums in the country so go figure. It would be one thing if you had held a capital caimpaign but they won’t even do that which the interest is there from alumni so you sit in an amazement how someone is content with that facility without even inquiring from alumni about plans to build a new one.

AD wants to take all the credit for the success of the football program but that was Hatcher who I think will point out the lack of support from that AD, and David Dean. They are in one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the whole country which defintely helps as well.

Hopefully another national championship will get the AD off his a** and the administration where they finally decide to show some initiative to build one.

ugadawg2005

December 10th, 2012
8:28 am

UGA was in the de facto national semi-final game, just as GA Southern is. GA Southern is an underdog this week just as UGA was against Bama. Chances are, they won’t make it past the semi’s either. I don’t understand why so many GA Southern fans are talking smack on UGA. If memory serves me correctly, UGA beat GA Southern pretty handily last month. Be proud of your school, but you don’t need this little brother jealousy syndrome that GA Tech has. You are supposed to be better than that.

With that said, Go Blazers! Bring another championship back to TitleTown/Winnersville USA.

peachy

December 10th, 2012
8:38 am

According to the Savannah Morning News, the Georgia Southern – ND State game will be on ESPN 2 at 8:00PM FRIDAY .

GATA Eagles!

JustMe

December 10th, 2012
8:47 am

BuckheadBenny, you are spot on about the AD. As an Alumni, Its time for a change!. He holds them back. Ask their Coaches. Now, the comments about the Stadium, its a great stadium, one of the best in the Nation but it belongs to the Valdosta High Wildcats.

Buckhead Benny

December 10th, 2012
9:09 am

JustMe- I have inquired to the president and the VP about their plans for a stadium and they won’t even address the topic which me goes to the AD and the adminstration- no AD in their right mind is going to allow a team to continue to play in that facility and the fact that they don’t even reach out to alumni to inquire about their interest in funding a new facility which is the first basic step in raising money is more problematic to me.

That speaks to someone being incompetent or lazy- Funny, they like to point out how proud they are of a 7 million dollar athletic facility that was paid for by students fees that were specifically allocated for guess what a stadium!

Problem with that scenario alumni and fans and students are not going to want to experience a game day enviroment in a high school stadium on a consistent basis- It would be no different than people driving to the Valdosta High school gymnasium to watch a basketball game eventually people are going to become disenchanted with that environment.

There is a fee that students still pay every quarter for that stadium but not one word is ever mentioned about a stadium and it has been being paid for over 10 years at like 20.00 a pop for each student times 13,000 students last I checked seems like a lot of money and a good way to fund a stadium, fyi.

I am proud of the VSU football team and coach not very proud of the AD and the adminstration there though to say the least. I think that AD gets a pass and I can’t understand why especially when he hasn’t even tried to raise the money with a capital caimpaign or set a strategic future plan for one. You have to have a plan at some point if you are going to build one seems like a very good basic starting point.

JustMe

December 10th, 2012
9:53 am

Buckhead: Wow, really disappointed to hear no cooperation or even listening by the Admin and/or AD. Keep up the pressure though. Its laziness…..they like to say why they cant do it, thus no plan, no effort to at least see if the capital could be raised. So many of their former peers have made it happen, and doing well. Troy, Jax State, Central Arkansas, just to name a few. Heck, even Georgia Southern, who started their football program at the same time.

Tired of their excuses and bureaucratic nonsense.

The teams, the coaches, the students, and the alumni deserve so much better!

Spread the word among Alumni. I can tell you there is a strong current of dissatisfaction for the AD. And they wonder why attendance is off?

Red Pepper

December 10th, 2012
10:01 am

If the AD is a problem at Valdosta State, so is attendance in a community where prep football rules. If VSU pulls in 5,000 for a game, it’s Rose Bowl attendance by comparison. Not many small college programs have to contend with that level of competition.

BlazerFanAlso

December 10th, 2012
10:08 am

Attendance is off this year, but has seen 8-10,000 in years past. Why? People are tired, not interested in Division 2 ball. Plus they dont have their own stadium, which is a joke. And, they will lose yet another great Coach if they dont take immediate steps to move the program up. Chris Hatcher wanted to stay, and move the program up, but got shot down. Guarantee you the fans and alumni would flock to see them move up, play teams like Ga Southern, Appalachian State, Georgia State, etc. People are football crazy in Southern Georgia and Northern Florida.

Buckhead Benny

December 10th, 2012
11:04 am

How about attendance at the University is also down 5 percent and West Georgia is up 2.3 percent and what I don’t get if I was the president of VSU or the adminstration I would think that a stadium for the college call me crazy would help attract students and maintain students at your campus and you would get your money back 10 fold. Similar investments by other institutions have proven this.

Theres a reason why Mercer, GA. State and Reinhardt college are building programs from scratch and building stadiums in a resession environment. They know its an important factor getting people to want to come to school but also reconnecting alumni.

The majority of alumni is here in Atlanta, when factoring in driving to VSU for a game do you really think we want to bring our spouse and kids to watch a collge game in a high school stadium? No. Its just a reality the game day experience is diminished because of it.

For example, if you had the Atlanta Falcons playing at the old launching pad still Atlanta Fulton County stadium and it was this decrepate stadium you not going to be packing the house like you would the Georgia Dome its just the nature of the game people want to feel comfortable where the spend their time. In fact, most people in Atlanta would be complaining so bad but that would never happened here only in Valdosta I assume.

West Georgia had zero people attending and they have seen a big difference in attendance and participation from students and fans- Its basic economics- If you want people to spend the time to come visit from your main city Atlanta are alumni and students to spend money do you really think they are going to want to go and travel 4hours for that? Probably not.

Its 2012 not 1992- The AD has been there 20 years lets give someone esle a shot that has the inititative to quit blaming alumni for not wanting to watch games in a high school stadium and finding a solution to the stadium issue that people can rally behind and get excited about.

The University of South Georgia

December 10th, 2012
11:08 am

Valdosta needs to move to the Big South Conference. West GA should join also.

Not just for football either, the Blazers have an awesome basketball facility (as does UWG) that really rocks when it is full. Unfortuantely the Blazers have recently chosen to play more schools like Edward Waters and Montevallo, rather than GA Southern or Florida State. Would be great if the Blazers had a chance to make the Big Dance with their peer institutions every March.

//

December 10th, 2012
11:30 am

congrats to Valdosta State always a winner UGA and Ga Southern

//

December 10th, 2012
11:31 am

to he!! with Ga Southern and UGA

peachy

December 10th, 2012
1:21 pm

Indeed, Valdosta should build stadium. It should have a capacity of 18,000 to 25,000 and be easily expandable. Move to division 1 FCS for now, BCS later.
Drop State from the university name and become Valdosta University. It worked for Auburn ( it use to be Alabama Polytechnic Institute or API) and Clemson and is working for Troy.
With the sole exception of USC ( Southern California) Universities with a direction in their name ( unless the state also has a direction in it’s name) tend to be thought of small time.
Unfortunately, Statesboro University doesn’t work very well.

BlazerFanAlso

December 10th, 2012
1:30 pm

Great posts here….Valdosta State has so much going for it. Beautiful Campus, solid Alumni base, great location, Football/Sports crazed area. Its time for a new, forward thinking, positive AD.

jlw

December 10th, 2012
2:49 pm

The student body at VSU voted to raise student fees to build a stadium. However, the students then voted to spend that money to build a new field house when the Old Gym was torn down to build the new Student Union. It isn’t like there haven’t been efforts made to build a stadium. There is also the question where the stadium would be built.

jlw

December 10th, 2012
2:54 pm

Also, as to the question of “moving up”, I know it was raised when I was a student there in the 1990s, and it has been raised several times since then. The kicker is always money. We don’t have enough of an athletic budget currently to make such a move. Furthermore, FCS only exists for football. I personally think we need a little longer for the other programs to continue to build their foundations.

BlazerFanAlso

December 10th, 2012
3:15 pm

Bull to JLW above. Put together a capital plan (including contributions, fees, etc). It can be done NOW. Stadium, moving up, etc. Plenty of sites around. All of the former VSU peers have done it/moved up. Excuses and Cant’s are no longer acceptable.

GaSouthernFan

December 10th, 2012
3:16 pm

As a Ga Southern fan, we just got rid of our AD because he was full of the same cants, wonts, excuses.

GaSouthernFan

December 10th, 2012
3:24 pm

If youre not growing, youre dying