North Alabama, Delta State meeting in pivotal Gulf South Conference game

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It's no real surprise that the Gulf South Conference championship will be on the line when North Alabama visits Delta State at 6 p.m. Saturday.

UNA (7-0, 4-0 GSC) was the preseason pick to win the conference championship, while Delta State (6-1, 4-1) was predicted to finish second. That is exactly where both teams stand entering the final month of the regular season.

"This game, before the season ever started, was one that folks pointed at and said would be the one that would be the showdown to decide the GSC," UNA coach Bobby Wallace said. "This game will go a long way toward deciding the conference champion. We're fighting for a championship, fighting for the playoffs and to reach all the goals that we have."

A victory by UNA would give the Lions a two-game lead in the standings with only games against Shorter and West Alabama left. Those teams are a combined 2-6 in conference play.

A loss, however, would pull the Statesmen into a first-place tie and give them the head-to-head tiebreaker over UNA. Delta State's only remaining GSC game is against last-place Mississippi College.

The challenge for UNA will be to slow-down Delta State's up-tempo offense. The Statesmen lead the Gulf South Conference in scoring (47.4 points per game), passing offense (346.7 yards per game) and total offense (503.4 ypg.).

These teams have met 13 times in the regular season and Division II playoffs since 2006, with UNA holding a 7-6 edge.

Delta State won last year's meeting 37-34 on a field goal with 10 seconds to play.

THURSDAY'S GAME

West Alabama vs. Valdosta State, 6 p.m.

A year after winning a share of the GSC championship, West Alabama is attempting to avoid a last-place finish.

UWA (4-4, 1-3) has lost three of its past four games, two straight at home and is just one game ahead of last-place Mississippi College.

The Tigers committed four turnovers in a loss to Delta State, three of them inside their own 5-yard line.

Valdosta State (5-2, 3-2) is on a three-game winning streak.

SATURDAY'S GAMES

Tuskegee at Central State, 1:30 p.m.

Tuskegee (6-2, 5-0 SIAC) takes a five-game winning streak into its final road game of the season.

The Golden Tigers have not lost since Sept. 20, and their average margin of victory during that span is 33.8 points.

Central State (3-5, 2-3) has won two in a row since starting the season 1-5.

Samford vs. Concordia, 2 p.m.

Samford (4-3) will celebrate homecoming with a non-conference game against Concordia (1-7).

The Hornets have lost their games by an average margin of 30.7 points, though their most recent defeat was only 17-12 to Wagner.

"Like any team, they're certainly capable of beating you if you don't play well until the end," Samford coach Pat Sullivan said.

Jacksonville State vs. Austin Peay, 3 p.m.

With games looming against the second- and third-place teams in the Ohio Valley Conference, league-leading Jacksonville State (6-1, 4-0) will try to avoid overlooking struggling Austin Peay (1-7, 1-3).

JSU travels to second-place Eastern Kentucky next week, then returns home to play Eastern Illinois on Nov. 15.

"Austin Peay is a young team that is starting a lot of freshmen, but they beat Murray State (two weeks ago)," JSU coach John Grass said. "So you can't overlook anyone in this conference."

Miles vs. Stillman, 4 p.m.

Miles needs a victory over Stillman to set up a showdown next week with Tuskegee for the West Division title of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Miles (5-3, 4-1) has won four straight since a 1-3 start and trails Tuskegee by one game in the standings.

Stillman (4-4, 3-2) was in contention for the division crown before losing its past two games by a combined score of 102-33.

Alabama A&M at Jackson State, 6 p.m.

Alabama A&M will attempt to avoid a letdown following the Bulldogs' 37-36 comeback victory over Alabama State in last week's Magic City Classic.

A&M (3-5, 2-3 Southwestern Athletic Conference) outscored ASU 16-3 in the fourth quarter and scored the game-winning touchdown with 2:48 remaining.

Jackson State (3-5, 1-4) has lost three consecutive games and five of the past six.

Alabama State at Southern, 6 p.m.

Despite being on a three-game losing streak, Alabama State (4-4, 3-3 SWAC) still has an outside shot at winning the SWAC East Division.

The Hornets trail division-leading Alcorn State by two games with three to play. But their next two games are against the top two teams in the West Division.

Southern (5-3, 4-1) has won four of its past five games, with three of the victories coming on the road.

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