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North Alabama, West Alabama face big Gulf South Conference games


North Alabama and West Alabama both are gearing up for matchups of unbeaten Gulf South Conference teams.

UNA (3-0, 2-0 GSC) travels to Georgia to take on Valdosta State (3-0, 0-0) at 1 p.m. CDT Saturday, while UWA (4-0, 0-0) hosts West Georgia (4-0, 0-0) an hour later. The league's only other undefeated team, Delta State, hosts Florida Tech.

"Every conference game is going to be tough against a quality opponent, and will be a battle down to the wire," UNA coach Bobby Wallace said.

Four of the GSC's unbeaten teams are ranked in the top 10 of the latest Division II national poll. West Georgia is No. 2, Delta State No. 5, North Alabama No. 8 and West Georgia No. 9.

And while UWA is unranked, the Tigers almost certainly will be in the poll next week should they defeat West Georgia, which is led by their former head coach Will Hall.

West Alabama vs. West Georgia

The biggest concern for the Tigers lately has been their offense. Two weeks ago, they were shutout for three quarters by Miles before rallying for a 13-10 victory. Then last week, they finished with 202 yards in total offense in a 31-22 victory over Texas A&M-Kingsville.

West Alabama will try to improve offensively against a West Georgia defense that has allowed only 11.8 points per game and is coming off a 56-0 victory over Clark Atlanta.

North Alabama at Valdosta State

There is nothing unusual about having a nationally ranked game between UNA and Valdosta. In their 40 meetings, both teams have been ranked 17 times and at least one has been ranked on 28 occasions.

And while this is UNA's first game of the season outside Alabama, there also would be nothing unusual about the road team winning in this series. The visitor has won seven of the past eight meetings, with the Lions taking the last four played in Valdosta by a combined score of 192-77.

A victory by UNA would make Wallace the winningest coach in program history. He currently is tied with Hal Self with 109 wins.


Alabama State at Texas Southern, 6:30 p.m.

It will be a matchup of two of the best defenses in the Southwestern Athletic Conference when Alabama State (1-3, 1-2) takes on Texas Southern (2-2, 1-2).

TSU is first in the conference in scoring defense, allowing an average of 23 points per game, and the Hornets are second at 26 ppg. The Tigers are second in total defense (359 yards per game) and ASU is third (384.2 ypg).

"We are going to need to execute the best we have executed thus far if we are going to have a chance to score some points," ASU coach Brian Jenkins said.

Alabama A&M at Coastal Carolina, 5 p.m.

Alabama A&M (1-2) goes on the road to play the top-ranked team in the FCS Coaches poll.

Coastal Carolina (4-0) has been ranked No. 1 in that poll for four consecutive weeks. The Chanticleers are ranked second in the STATS FCS top-25, behind Jacksonville State.

"You want to challenge yourself against the best competition," Alabama A&M coach James Spady said. "Well, we have a huge challenge ahead of us."

Miles vs. Albany State, 4 p.m.

Miles and Albany State have the same record, but are coming off drastically different games. The Golden Bears (1-3, 1-0 SIAC) picked up their first victory of the year last week, 13-10 over Morehead. Meanwhile, Albany (1-3, 1-0) lost to Delta State 40-0.

Tuskegee at UNC Pembroke, 1 p.m.

Tuskegee (4-0) has defeated its opponents by an average of 20.3 points per game. Pembroke (3-1) has won its games by a total of 24 points, and is coming off a 40-17 loss to North Greenville

Stillman vs. Lane College, 1 p.m.

This is almost a must-win game for both teams in order to stay in contention with Tuskegee in the SIAC West Division. Stillman (1-2, 0-1) has had two weeks to prepare since losing to Albany State 21-6. Lane (1-3, 0-2) is on a three-game losing streak.

Jacksonville State vs. Mississippi Valley State, 1 p.m.

JSU (4-0) steps out of conference to take on the last-place team in the SWAC. Mississippi Valley (0-4) is the SWAC's only winless team, having lost its games by an average score of 54-10.

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