Division II Championship 2012: Valdosta State vs. Winston-Salem Score and Recap

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIDecember 15, 2012

Dec 15, 2012; Florence, AL, USA; Valdosta State Blazers running back Cedric O'Neal (7)  carries the ball against Winston-Salem State Rams during the NCAA division II football Championship at Braly Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The Blazers put the heat on Winston-Salem early and often. They held a 21-0 lead at halftime and went on to beat the Rams 35-7 in the Division II Championship.

The Rams came into the game 13-0, averaging 42 points per game.

To shut down such an explosive attack was impressive. Although, the Rams lost this game for themselves.

Every time I watch the Division II championship—OK, this is only the third year—this is the way I wish the BCS would settle on a champion. The Blazers' win culminated a 24-team tournament, and because of this format, there is no doubt who the best Division II team is. 

This was Valdosta State's third Division II championship.

Here are the biggest moments and performances from the Division II Championship.


Starting With a Bang

Matt Pierce took the opening kickoff back 97 yards to set the tone and boost the Blazers' confidence. This put the Rams in an unfamiliar situation, trailing early.


Too Many Turnovers

The Rams turned the ball over two times in the first half, and that thwarted any opportunity for the team to get anything going in the first half.

The second half wasn't much better. 

Kameron Smith was picked off on the first drive of the second half. The pass was accurate, but it bounced off the hands and pads of Jahuann Butler and into the hands of Dominique Wheeler.

Perhaps the biggest turnover came in the third quarter when Smith carelessly handled the ball on a scramble inside the Blazers' five-yard line. He was stripped and the ball was recovered by the Blazers in the end zone.

The Rams had an opportunity to bring the game within a score, but that glimmer of hope went out the window. The Rams turned the ball over six times in all.


No Kicking Game

The Rams almost never go for field goals, as they don't have a player on the roster they trust to convert. That hurt them in this game. On a few drives, it would have been a big boost for the Rams to get points on the board.

Because they couldn't kick a field goal, the Blazers got two huge fourth-down stops in the first half.

Valdosta couldn't effectively punt the ball either. The Rams couldn't get the edge in field position because of this issue. They had to make long drives against the best defense they faced all year. 

Despite moving the ball all game, finishing drives was a major issue.


The Final Dagger

After the key fumble from Smith, the Blazers punctuated an 80-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Cayden Cochoran to Quin Roberson.


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