By the time the homecoming fireworks display started outside the Stadium following the game, the football fireworks had already mesmerized the capacity crowd with a 63-55 DSU victory.
Both offenses did their best to out shine the each other with the teams combining for 1,177 total yards of offense, 61 first downs and 10 touchdown passes.
Tyler Sullivan led the Statesmen offense as he set a new Delta State record for total offense with 583 yards. He completed 34-of-48 passes on the night with four touchdowns for 520 yards and three interceptions. He also rushed for 63 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns. Ricky Hunt was Sullivan's favorite target catching ten passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns.
Kaleb Nobles performed well in the loss for Valdosta completing 31-of-51 passes for 351 yards and six touchdowns and three interceptions. Sentavius Jones who finished with nine catches for 143 yards caught all six of Nobles TDs. The win improved the Statesmen to 6-2 on the year, with a 4-1 mark in Gulf South Conference action. The win also created a three-way tie for first place in the conference as North Alabama defeated West Alabama 30-27 in overtime. DSU, North Alabama and West Alabama are all 4-1 in the conference.
The Statesmen started the shoot out with 12:08 remaining in the opening quarter off a 23-yard touchdown pass from Sullivan to Hunt capping off an 11 play, 75 yard touchdown drive. Vince Sciorrotta added the point after for a 7-0 DSU lead.
The Blazers answered the Statesmen's score with a 10 play, 67-yard drive that ended with Nobles finding Jones for an 18-yard score with 7:51 left in the first. Anthony Pistelli added the kick after for a 7-7 tie.
The Statesmen took a 14-7 lead on their next drive when Sullivan scored from seven yards out and Sciorrotta added the point after.
The Statesmen defense held strong on the Blazers next possession and forced a Valdosta punt, the ball was ruled to have touched a DSU player and Valdosta recovered to take control of the football at the 37-yard line.
The Statesmen defense responded to the special team's mistake by holding serve to force a 30-yard field goal attempt from Pistelli who missed to keep the Statesmen in the lead.
With the ball back the DSU offense sputtered as Sullivan handed the Blazers a gift as his pass was intercepted by Kenny Murphy and returned 30-yards for the score with 11:26 left in the second quarter. Pistelli added the kick after to tie the game at 14-14.
Sullivan showed poise after the interception and drove the Statesmen back down the field to cap off a seven play, 81-yard drive with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Hunt. The kick after was good and the Statesmen were back on top 21-14.
The Statesmen defense made a big play on the Blazers next possession as David Evans intercepted a pass from Nobles. The Valdosta defense would not be out down as Dominique Wheeler intercepted Sullivan to give the ball back to the Blazers' offense.
This time the Blazers offense knew what to do with the ball as the Blazers scored off a three play, 78-yard drive which culminated in a three-yard pass from Nobles to Jones. Pistelli added the kick after to tie the game at 21-21 with 6:42 left in the first half.
The Statesmen managed to break the tie again with Sullivan leading the way completing passes and scrambling. His 38-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Bethley with 4:13 on the clock gave the Statesmen the lead. Sciorrotta added the kick after for a 28-21 lead, which would also be the halftime score.
The Statesmen opened the third quarter stopping the Blazers on fourth down to take control of the football on the DSU 30-yard line.
Delta State's offense put together a 14 play, 70-yard drive that was completed when Sullivan punched it in the end zone from three yards out. The kick was good to give the Statesmen a 35-21 lead. The defense forced a punt from VSU on the next possession and scored again Hunt caught a 76-yard pass from Sullivan to take a 42-21 lead with 2:28 remaining in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter proved to be the most exciting quarter of the night as the teams combined to score 55 points in the period.
For Valdosta, Jones caught four TD passes and Wheeler scored on an interception return. For Delta State James McArthur scored on a one-yard run, Richard Freelon had a seven-yard TD run and Jarvis York scored on a 43-yard kickoff return for a 63-55 final.
Bethley finished with six catches for 80 yards and a TD. York caught five passes for 62 yards and D.J. Holley had two catches for 56 yards.
David Evans led the Statesmen defense with 11 tackles and an interception, Artavious Morgan had nine tackles, Trenton Warren had six tackles and an interception and Frankie Lee had four tackles with an interception
The Statesmen will be back in action at 2 p.m. Saturday against Concordia.