College Sports

Miles hits the right note in spoiling Fort Valley State’s home opener

Miles was able to overwhelm Fort Valley State’s offense, and its band, while spoiling the Wildcats’ home opener 29-10 on Saturday.

The Golden Bears (1-2) used a fast, young, attacking defense to smother Fort Valley State (0-2) and a band three times the size of the home band to drown out the Wildcats’ heartbeat.

Fort Valley State was able to move the ball, amassing 325 yards of total offense, but turnovers and inconsistency during drives led to many stalled possessions, and the Wildcats just let the game get away from them.

Four who mattered

Justin Hardy: The junior running back carried the Miles offense on his back, rushing for 97 yards and a touchdown while catching two passes for 70 yards and a second touchdown.

Miles defense: The Golden Bears’ defense, which starts eight freshmen, held Fort Valley State in check. It also forced one fumble, recovered two, intercepted one pass and sacked the quarterback three times.

Lorenzo Smothers: It’s clear the Fort Valley State freshman receiver has a knack for finding opening in the defense, and the quarterbacks are looking for him. He was targeted numerous times Saturday night. When he was able to get the ball in his hands, he made something happen and averaged 27.5 yards per reception.

Jamari Clark: The Fort Valley State sophomore made his presence felt in the second half accounting for 78 yards on four receptions.

Turning point

The score was tied at 3 with a little less than four minutes remaining in the first half. Fort Valley State had the ball on its 22-yard line. Miles forced and recovered a fumble, and four plays later, it scored on a 2-yard run. After the kickoff, a botched shotgun snap by the Wildcats resulted in a safety for Miles, and two plays after the kickoff the Golden Bears scored again on a 55-yard screen pass to Hardy. Miles went into halftime leading 19-3, and Fort Valley State never recovered.

Observation

Unsettled at quarterback: Both teams used two different quarterbacks, and that likely will continue in the coming weeks. Miles starter junior Li’Jon Cordier was 8-of-13 for 155 yards, one touchdown with one interception. His backup, freshman Sidney Wilson, didn’t even attempt a pass. Fort Valley State starter, junior Slade Jarmon, completed 7-of-13 passes for 136 yards but turned the ball over twice on an interception and a fumble. Sophomore Demontay Jones came in and didn’t fair much better, going 5-for-11 for 84 yards, but he did lead the Wildcats’ only touchdown drive.

Worth mentioning

Nick Christiansen has an NFL caliber leg: The Golden Bears’ place-kicker made kicks of 41 and 50 yards look routine. He also accounted for three touchbacks.

They said it

Fort Valley State head coach Kevin Porter on the final four minutes of the first half:We have to go back and look at the film and see where we had some breakdowns. Obviously, you can’t turn the football over. Any time you turn the football over, bad things happen.”

Miles head coach Reginald Tiffin on the importance of before and after halftime: “The last two weeks, our opponent scores before the half and when Fort Valley was driving, we said they can not score before the half and those kids just kept fighting. After halftime, we wanted to establish the first five minutes and extend our lead versus a really good Fort Valley team.”

What’s next?

Fort Valley State hosts Benedict at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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