MELBOURNE, Florida (GoStatesmen.com
Tyler Sullivan threw five touchdown passes and ran for another as Delta State University used a big second half to extend a 23-20 lead into a 58-20 Gulf South Conference win over Florida Tech Thursday at Palm Bay High School's Pirate Stadium.
Sullivan, who has 14 touchdown passes on the year, had 479 yards of offense, completing 24-of-41 passes for 456 yards while rushing four times for 23 yards.
Justin Leavy caught four passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns while Ricky Hunt lead DSU with 114 yards on four catches and a touchdown and Casey Osborne had five catches for 111 yards and a touchdown.
The Statesmen rolled up 577 yards, 483 yards through the air and 94 yards on the ground while the Statesmen defense held Florida Tech to 161 second half yards and no points, 457 total yards.
DSU's defense forced a punt on FIT's opening drive then forced three FIT turnovers as the Statesmen scored 28-straight third quarter points and 35-straight points overall.
Sullivan and Leavy joined forces for the first two scores of the third quarter to give DSU a 37-20 lead. Sullivan and Leavy hooked up twice on the opening drive for 31 yards and then for a 49-yard touchdown pass to finish a two-play, 80-yard drive and a 30-20 lead at the 11:33 mark.
Interceptions by Jon Knox
and Wilson Curtis set up the next two Statesmen scores. Sullivan found Leavy for a 41-yard touchdown pass and then tossed a four-yard scoring pass to Johnson to extend the lead to 44-20 with 7:29 remaining in the third quarter.
Diego Lubin recovered a Panther fumble at the FIT 29 to set up a D'Juan Bellaire 12-yard rushing touchdown with 6:01 left in the third quarter and Eddie McCadney added a three-yard run for a 58-20 lead with 9:51 to go in the fourth
Florida Tech's opening drive stalled at the DSU five forcing a 22-yard field goal attempt. Holder Tyler Bass caught the Statesmen off guard tossing a five-yard pass to Aaron George to give FIT a 7-0 lead, and cap an 11-play, 75 yard drive with 8:46 showing on the first quarter clock.
The Statesmen took advantage of three Panther mistakes to tie the game on its second possession. FIT roughed punter Justin Holt on fourth down, then committed pass interference on a third down play and holding on another fourth down play to keep the drive alive. Hunt hauled in a 22-yard touchdown pass from Sullivan to tie the game 7-7 with 5:30 left in the first.
After FIT missed a 27-yard field goal attempt, the Statesmen wasted little time on the ensuing possession to take their first lead of night. Sullivan completed a 64-yard pass to Hunt to the FIT five to set up a Sullivan five-yard run to put DSU in front 14-7 with 6:59 to go in the second.
Trevor Sand provided FIT's answer on the next drive, scoring on a 20-yard run to finish a 10-play, 75-yard drive. Brion Ashley's extra-point missed wide left to help the Statesmen maintain a 14-13 lead.
The offensive sparks continued when Sullivan completed a short pass to Osborne, who split the Panther defense and raced 79 yards to the end zone. FIT blocked the PAT to keep the DSU advantage at 20-13 at the 3:00 mark.
A Mark Cato pass to Xavier Milton covered 44-yards followed by a Giancarlo Bennardo extra point to tie the game 20-20 with 1:08 left in the first half.
The Statesmen used the two-minute offense to drive down to FIT four before Vince Sciorotta kicked a 21-yard field to give DSU a 23-20 lead at the half.
Delta State hosts Shorter University for the GSC TV Game of the Week on Thursday at 6 p.m.