VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Valdosta State doesn't know why West Alabama chose to throw the football from the Blazers 21 after the Tigers had marched down the field on the ground.
The Blazers will take it.
Junior cornerback Matt Pierce intercepted a Karl Birkenfeld pass and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown.
12th ranked Valdosta State edges West Alabama 22-21 on homecoming at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.
West Alabama had gotten the football after stopping VSU by inches on downs at the Tiger 27 yard line.
The Tigers drove down the field but on 3rd and 4 at the VSU 21 elected to try to pass for a first down.
It was Pierce's second touchdown of the game.
Pierce intercepted Tiger QB Kyle Caldwell and returned it 35 yards for another Blazer score in the 2nd quarter.
Matt Pierce said. "I saw the route early in the game. When I saw the receiver tighten down his split, I had a feeling that is what they were going to go. I just kind of wanted to sit and watch it play out. Luckily, I came out with the pick."
Head coach David Dean said. "He kind of baited them. He broke on it at the right time. He had the sideline and he had the speed to go. I am awfully proud of him. He is a good player and he gets better every week."
VSU will take the win but head coach David Dean has to worry about an offense that scored just one touchdown on a trick play on the first possession and finished with just 270 yards of total offense.
The trick play was a 46 yard pass from flanker Reggie Lewis to Scott Fambrough.
That tied the game 7-7.
After Pierce's first interception return for a touchdown, Kyle Caldwell threw a 21 yard touchdown pass to Ken May to cut the lead to 16-14 VSU at halftime.
West Alabama took the lead on a 9-yard touchdown run by receiver Gerald Worsham on a reverse in the 3rd quarter.
Valdosta State is now 6-1, 1-0 and on the road next week at Delta State.
After the game, Dean says quarterback Austen Roberts may be out for the season with the injury he suffered last week against Ouachita Baptist and sophomore Cayden Cochran is the VSU starting quarterback.
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