July 16, 2005
Albany - If there is such a thing as playing to the level of your opponent, then the South Georgia Wildcats did just that in 23-20 loss to the Birmingham Steeldogs Saturday night at the Albany Civic Center.
The Wildcats committed five turnovers and 12 penalties in losing to a team that had just one in 13 games and had lost their last five in a row.
The Wildcats fumbled inside the Steeldogs 10 yard line twice and had penalities nullified two touchdowns.
It looked like it would be a rout for South Georgia when quarterback Brian Zbydniewski threw a 32 yard touchdown pass to Montrail Pittman on the first play of the game.
The Wildcats though would fail to score on their next three drives despite the fact South Georgia was in the red zone all three times.
Birmingham's defense turned to steel on all three drives by holding the Wildcats on downs, recovering a fumble and blocking a field goal.
Steeldogs quarterback Thomas Ricks threw a 42 yard touchdown pass to to Thomas Harris after the fumble recovery to give Birmingham a 10-7 lead in the second quarter.
Ricks threw a 45 yard touchdown pass to Detronn Harris after the blocked field goal to give the Steeldogs a 17-7 lead.
Two Alex Walls field goals upped the Birmingham lead to 16 points heading into the fourth quarter when it appeared that the Wildcats would rally for the second straight week.
Brian Zbydniewski's one yard touchdown pass Vonceilles Allen on fourth and goal brought the Wildcats to within nine points.
Then with under a minute to play, Zbydniewski hooked up with Antwone Savage for a 32 yard touchdown pass.
Wes Virgilio's extra point was wide to the left and the Wildcats trailed 23-20.
Birmingham recovered the onside kick but Kamau Jackson fumbled it right back to the Wildcats with Vonceilles Allen recovering at the Sotuh Georgia 10 yard line.
But on the next play, Zbydniewski threw his third interception of the game to George Williams who made a terrific catch in the back of the endzone.
The Steeldogs ran out the clock for their second win this season.
The Wildcats (3-11) loss officially eliminates them from the playoffs.
South Georgia plays at Macon next Saturday and closes out the 2005 season at home July 30th against the Green Bay Blizzard.