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franklin county times

UWA seeking 1st conference win

By Staff
Special to The Star
Sept. 27, 2001
LIVINGSTON, Ala. Coming off of a hard-fought, six-point conference loss to Arkansas-Monticello, the University of West Alabama football team looks to put GSC win No. 1 in the books Saturday. The opponent will be a talented squad from Southern Arkansas (1-2, 1-1 in GSC), which will also have the home field advantage.
The Muleriders are coming off of an impressive, defensive-driven 10-3 win over Ouachita Baptist University. Southern Arkansas trailed 3-0 at halftime, but battled back to score 10 unanswered points in the third quarter, and the defense would make it stand. The Mulerider defense yielded only 229 yards on the game (112 rushing and 117 passing).
West Alabama opened the season with a tough 21-0 loss at home to Belhaven, before upending Miles College in week two, 35-12. Since then, the Tigers have fallen to defending national champion Delta State, and dropped a nail-biter against Arkansas-Monticello. Head Coach Randy Pippin is expecting big things in the near future.
SAU looks to win its fourth straight over West Alabama, with the last Tiger win coming back in 1975 (31-14). The Muleriders possess a balanced offensive attack that can hurt opposing defenses via both the pass and the run. Southern averages 307 yards per game (189 rushing and 118 passing).
Sophomore quarterback Ted Williams leads the ground attack with 135 yards on 46 carries. Halfback Forrest Curry is a close second with 132 yards (44.0 per game). Jason Bennett leads all receivers with 127 yards on 12 catches.
West Alabama has shown flashes of moving the ball both on the ground and through the air. Last week versus UAM, the Tigers had their first 250-yard passer since Bobby Clayton accomplished the feat against Henderson State in 1995. Sophomore Bakari Bryant connected on 17-of-32 passes for 252 yards and one touchdown. Gerald Gales led the receiving attack with three catches for 95 yards, while teammate Warren Coger turned in his best game of the season with 79 yards on three receptions. Jerry Washington picked up 79 yards on nine rushes to lead a Tiger ground attack that averages 112.5 yards per contest.
Defensively, senior George Bates turned in a huge game with 15 total tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery versus UAM to lead an opportunistic defense that forced three Boll Weevil turnovers. The special teams also contributed against Monticello, especially on punt returns. Gales returned three punts for 99 yards, including a 70-yard scoring burst, fifth longest in UWA history.
Saturday will mark the second road trip of the year for UWA, with the first travel date not having been kind to the Tigers (47-7 loss at Delta State). Establishing themselves as a good road team, and rectifying some early season turnover problems is priority number one on Coach Pippin's agenda. The Tigers have turned the ball over 13 times in four games (eight lost fumbles and five interceptions).
Game five versus SAU will be UWA's second night game of the season, with kickoff being scheduled for 7 p.m. in Magnolia, Ark.

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