Fort Valley State scores on either side of halftime, defeats Bluefield State 44-27

Jason Vorhees/The Telegraph

For only the second time in program history, the Wildcats played in West Virginia and held strong down the stretch. Fort Valley State weathered the Bluefield State first-half storm and outplayed the home team in the final half for the 44-27 football win Saturday afternoon.

FVSU was able to use two straight possessions to turn the tide of the game. Following a Big Blue 84-yard scoring drive to go ahead with 22 seconds in the first half, Wildcats quarterback Kelvin Durham fired a 52-yard hookup with Corintheus Edmonds on the first play to the home 35-yardline with six seconds in the half.

Rodney Williams then booted a 35-yard field goal as time expired and FVSU rode the momentum out of the half for a 67-yard scoring drive with three big plays – two passing completions to Edmonds (20 yards) and Fralon Warren (11 yards) along with Hakeem Ellington’s 25-yard jet sweep – capped by Emanuel Wilson’s 3-yard touchdown for a 30-21 lead three minutes into the second half.

Other than a Bluefield State block of a punt later in the third frame that resulted in an 18-yard touchdown drive, FVSU outplayed its host over the final 30 minutes. The Wildcat defense held the Big Blue to 129 yards and only the 18-yard scoring drive over 37 plays while it recorded three sacks and four tackles for loss over that time frame.

With the victory, FVSU improves to 4-0 for the first time since 2004. It also won the first road game of the season and snapped a six-game losing streak on those trips.

Despite Bluefield State having the advantage in time of possession (30:43 to 29:17) and number of offensive plays (83 to 61), FVSU outgained the host team, 407 to 356. The Wildcats passed for 215 yards and rushed for another 192.

The FVSU special teams were big on Saturday to highlight the performances. Kicker/punter Williams went 3-for-3 on field goal attempts with boots of 29, 26 and the 35-yarder to end the half. The freshman was also 5-for-5 on point after attempts. He averaged 45.7 yards on three punts, including a 63-yarder, and a kick-off touchback.

Kick returner Justin Harris brought back four kick-offs for 125 yards with a long 58-yarder to setup to setup Williams’ second field goal. Elington also had two punt returns for 38 yards.

On offense, Emanuel Wilson was able to get back on track. The running back rushed 21 times for 144 yards and three touchdowns. Wilson raced for a long carry of 46 yards and registered 96 of his yards in the second half, while he caught two passes for 16 yards.

Durham completed 13 of 21 passes for 215 yards and 26-yard scoring strike to Warren, who had three catches for 53 yards. Edmonds led the receiving corps with 109 yards on three grabs and Jaren Lawson added three of his own for 26 yards.

Kentrell Lawson paced the FVSU defense with eight tackles and a solo sack for seven yards. Jaylen Brown added seven tackles. 2.5 for loss and a seven-yard sack. Tim Alderman continued his top play at defensive end with five tackles, three tackles for loss of 18 yards and both his sacks in the second half. Tyler Moore chipped in five stops along with sacks by Will Riggins and Adeon Farmer.

Bluefield State (2-2) quarterback Devan Freedland connected on 30 of 54 passes for 326 yards and four scores for the home team.

FVSU can take its unblemished record into the 2022 Homecoming in The Valley Week. With its Saturday night win over Kentucky State, Benedict College set up what will now be a battle of 4-0 teams of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference East Division.

The Homecoming kick-off is set for 2 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium Oct. 1.