September 26, 20151st2nd3rd4thFinal
Cumberland Univ.7213022
Valdosta State72913756
1st Quarter
VSUTD11:58G. Dent 18 Yd Pass From E. Hilliard (A. Gray kick)
CUTD00:37Byrd 1 Yd Run (Spence kick)
2nd Quarter
VSUTD13:36C. O'Neal 4 Yd Run (A. Gray kick)
VSUTD11:04D. Baldner 44 Yd Pass From E. Hilliard (A. Gray missed kick)
VSUFG05:32A. Gray 37 Yd
VSUTD02:16D. Ridley 92 Yd Pass From E. Hilliard (A. Gray kick)
VSUTD00:07G. Dent 22 Yd Pass From E. Hilliard (A. Gray missed kick)
3rd Quarter
CUTD12:06Byrd 2 Yd Run (Spence kick)
VSUTD06:50D. Bolden 52 Yd Pass From R. Rivers (A. Gray missed kick)
CUTD04:01Rodgers 36 Yd Pass From Snyder (Spence missed kick)
VSUTD01:04C. O'Neal 1 Yd Run (G. Wilson kick)
4th Quarter
VSUTD10:01J. Germany 1 Yd Run (G. Wilson kick)
Stats at a GlanceCUVSU
1st Downs1422
3rd Down Conversions6-176-11
4th Down Conversions0-10-0
Passing (Comp-Att)134 (12-32) 361 (22-27)
Rushing (Att)87 (36) 156 (41)
Total Yards221517
Fumbles Lost01
Big plays hurt CU at Valdosta State
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Big plays hurt CU at Valdosta State
Brandon Byrd rushed for two touchdowns in CU's loss Saturday at Valdosta State. (Credit Steve Wampler)

VALDOSTA, Ga. – Brandon Byrd rushed for a pair of touchdowns but ninth-ranked Valdosta State scored 29 points in the second quarter and tossed three long touchdown passes en route to a 56-22 victory over Cumberland here Saturday at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

Ladarius Rodgers caught a 35-yard TD and Anthony Knight scooped up a blocked extra point and returned it 85 yards for a two-point conversion for the Bulldogs (1-3).

Justin Snyder completed 12-of-32 passes for 122 yards and one touchdown but was sacked five times and harassed most of the game. Austin Chaplin carried 10 times for 51 yards and Byrd finished with 19 yards on 13 attempts but one- and two-yard TDs.

Valdosta’s EJ Hilliard tossed four touchdown passes for 250 yards on 17-of-22 passing, including a school-record 92-yard catch-and-run to D’Amonte Ridley. Greg Dent caught two touchdown passes and accumulated 128 yards in kickoff and punt returns as well.

The Blazers got a 50-yard kickoff return from Dent to open the game and scored on the drive, going 49 yards on six plays. Hilliard hit Dent on a bubble screen to the right for an 18-yard TD and a quick 7-0 lead.

The Cumberland defense forced a pair of 3-and-outs, though one was negated by a personal foul call on a punt. The Bulldogs moved 50 yards on their third possession of the game, with Snyder hooking up with Michael Green for 35 yards to set-up 1st-and-goal.

Byrd gained the final eight yards on three carries, including a one-yard TD run to knot the game at seven with 37 seconds left in the opening period.

Cedric O’Neal scored from four yards out for the Blazers on the fourth play of the second quarter to give VSU the lead for good. Dent’s 25-yard punt return set-up another short field for Valdosta State on its next drive, but intentional grounding and holding penalties pushed the ball back to the CU44, but Dallas Baldner got behind the defense on 3rd-and-25 for a touchdown and a 20-7 advantage.

The Blazers kicked a 37-yard field goal on its next drive and two holding penalties pushed the ball back to the VSU 8. Hilliard escaped the pocket and found a streaking Ridley, who broke the tackle of Jeremy Williams and went untouched the rest of the way.

A short punt gave VSU the ball again just before the half and two plays later Hilliard found Dent over the middle for 22 yards and the score. The Bulldogs blocked the extra point and Knight weaved his way 85 yards for the two points and a 36-9 home team lead at the half.

Cumberland put together an 11-play, 78-yard drive to start the second half aided by a pair of Blazers penalties. Snyder was knocked out of the game for one play and Joseph Rushin carried up the middle for 16 yards to the two. Chris Escamilla recovered a fumble on the play and Byrd scored on the next play.

Roland Rivers tossed a 52-yard TD pass to Donovan Bolden in the third quarter for the Blazers, but Snyder answered with 36-yard scoring throw to Rodgers.

Cumberland ends a four-game road stretch next week at the University of Pikeville before returning home October 10 to face Kentucky Christian.