Courtesy of VSU Athletics
VALDOSTA, Ga. - For the second straight week, Kellen Lewis passed for over 300 yards while also rushing for more than 100 to lead Valdosta State to a 33-20 Gulf South Conference victory over Henderson State Saturday at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.
Lewis completed 22-of-34 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns and carried the ball 18 times for 112 yards and a pair of scores. Over the course of the last three games, the senior has now passed for 936 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 241 yards and four touchdowns.
Valdosta State (3-3, 3-2) got on the board first when Tommie Duhart sacked HSU quarterback Nick Hardesty in the end zone for a safety with
10:12 to go in the first quarter.
The Blazers pushed their lead to 9-0 early in the second quarter when Kellen Lewis hit Owen Dixon for an 18-yard touchdown pass. VSU began its drive on its own 41 after a short Henderson State punt and moved into Reddie territory on a 29-yard Lewis-to-Jackson Dean completion.
After an incomplete pass, Derrick Harris caught a two-yard pass and Lewis rushed for 12 more yards, moving the ball to the HSU 16. Michael Brown was dropped for a two-yard loss before the Blazers lined up in the "Wildcat" formation with Ronnye Nelson under center. Nelson took the snap and handed off to Lewis, who hit Dixon in the end zone for the score.
Henderson State (3-4, 3-2) quickly answered as it cut its deficit to two on its next possession. Nathan Hall came on for Hardesty and completed five-of-seven passes for 44 yards and also ran for 13 yards on the drive. The freshman connected with Andy Anderson for a 13-yard scoring strike to cut the Blazer advantage to 9-7.
After the two teams traded punts, Valdosta State added its second touchdown of the quarter on a four-play, 73-yard drive. Lewis hit Kody Case for a 12-yard gain on the first play before Brown rushed for 15 more yards. A pass to Cedric Jones netted no yardage, but on the next play Lewis connected with Case down the middle. The sophomore moved the ball to the Reddie 17, where he was stripped by HSU's Mike Wightman.
The ball bounded away from the two players and straight into the arms of Blazer receiver Rico Mack, who raced the remaining 17 yards for the score and a 16-7 Valdosta State lead.
HSU immediately answered the scoring drive as it strung together a 12-play, 71-yard drive to close to within 16-13. Hall completed five-of-eight passes on the drive for 48 yards and rushed for 18 more before Kenard Springer scored from a yard out. The snap on the extra point attempt got away from holder Chris McIntire, preserving a three point cushion for VSU.
Lewis added a six-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, a run that capped off a seven-play, 45-yard drive while Justin Kraemer kicked a 40-yard field goal with 8:26 to go in the game to push the Valdosta State lead to 26-13 before the teams traded touchdowns over the final two minutes of the game.
Hardesty hit Michael Buse for a six-yard touchdown with 2:06 to go and, after VSU recovered an onsides kick attempt, Lewis scored on a 20-yard run to close out the scoring.
Jones caught seven passes for 54 yards on the night while Nelson tallied 47 rushing yards on 11 carries on the evening. The Blazers recorded 530 yards of total offense in the game, including 216 on the ground and 314 through the air, while holding Henderson State to 352.
Carlos Anderson led the Valdosta State defensive effort as he recorded 10 tackles in the game, his second straight week with double-digit tackles, while Larry Dean recorded seven tackles.
Henderson State was held to just 78 yards rushing in the game, 134 below its season average, 31 of which came from Hall. Hall also completed 17-of-29 passes for 160 yards, while Hardesty threw for another 114.
Valdosta State returns to action next Saturday, October 17 when it travels to Searcy, Ark. to face Harding at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.