Once again the Valdosta State Blazers used a strong second half to keep its season alive knocking off Carson-Newman 48-26 to advance to the NCAA Division II semi-finals.
Valdosta State jumped out to a 14-0 lead before Carson-Newman scored 20 unanswered points to take a 23-14 lead at halftime. In the second half, the VSU defense bowed its back and bottled up the Eagles' high tempo running attack. The offense came alive early in the half when Cayden Cochran found a streaking Seantavious Jones down the left side for a 37 yard touchdown to make the score 23-21. That's when freshman running back Cedric O'neal began to wear down the Carson-Newman defense.
O'neal scored two second half touchdowns and finished the game with 194 yards rushing. He now has 13 touchdowns on the season which is tied for the third most in school history. The Dublin, Ga. native has also rushed for 1,055 yards on the season, making him just the eight VSU running back to top the 1,000-yard barrier and the first since Michael Terry ran for 1,107 in 2007
Valdosta State's four rushing touchdowns in the game gave VSU 34 on the year, breaking the old school record of 32 set during the program's 2004 national championship title season.
The Blazers now moves on to play at Minnesota State-Mankato in the semi-finals on December 8th.
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