After a miraculous first round win last Saturday, the Valdosta State Blazers will renew a rivalry this weekend.
VSU is headed to Carrollton to battle the region's top seed, West Georgia, in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
The Wolves knocked the Blazers out of the playoffs last season, then beat VSU 49-28 earlier this year. In that game, the Blazers turned the ball over twice while giving it up on downs two times.
"We basically just handed them 20 points and we lost by 21. So we felt like we kind of handed them the game," says VSU head coach David Dean. "Now they took advantage of some situations in the ball game, which a good team will do. But if we can play mistake free, we have an opportunity to do some big things on Saturday, and hopefully we're going to do that."
The roles have reversed since last year's quarterfinal matchup. In that one, a UWG punt return TD late in the fourth sealed a Wolves' win at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.
This season, it's the Blazers who will enter enemy territory trying to pull the upset.
But any talk of a revenge angle before this one is not happening in the VSU locker room.
"They're talking more about doing what they have to do to win the ballgame, knowing this is a huge rivalry with West Georgia, an in-state rivalry," Dean says. "So we're excited about it, but we haven't talked about it except for just doing our job and what we have to do to win the ballgame."
The Blazers and top-seeded Wolves kick off from Carrollton Saturday at noon.
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