Rogan Wells broke tied an NCAA Division II championship game record with five touchdown passes and Valdosta State won its fourth national title with a 49-47 victory over Ferris State on Saturday.
Ferris’ rally from an 11-point deficit fell short when Jevon Shaw’s two-point conversion pass sailed wide of Keyondre Craig at the back of the end zone with 1:37 left.
Sophomore Wells, the runner-up for the Harlon Hill Trophy for Division II’s outstanding player, outplayed Ferris State junior Jayru Campbell, the Hill Trophy winner.
Wells passed for 349 yards, ran for 39 and caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Ivory Durham IV.
Campbell ran for 122 yards and a touchdown and had 99 yards passing and another TD.
Ferris couldn’t stop Valdosta’s championship-game-record 374-yard passing attack, and the champions gave up 270 rushing yards to Ferris.
The lead changed hands seven times before Valdosta (14-0) overcame a 34-31 deficit with two consecutive third-quarter touchdowns on passes from Wells to Joe Fortson Jr. and Travis Taylor.
In winning their first title since 2012, the Blazers overcame a missed field goal, a muffed punt, 114 penalty yards and a Ferris pass that VSU cornerback Cory Roberts batted back into the end zone to Keyondre Craig for a touchdown that pulled Ferris to 42-38.
Valdosta stretched the lead back to 11 points when Wells lateraled to Durham and ran to the left sideline for a return pass and his touchdown.
Ferris (15-1) missed a chance to become the first college team since 1899 to win a record 16 games in a season at any level. Amos Alonzo Stagg’s University of Chicago team went 16-0-2 in 1899. Yale had two 16-win seasons in the 19th century.
In the first quarter of its first championship game, Ferris set records for the longest passing touchdown, 80 yards from Shaw to Craig, and longest field goal, 52 yards by Jackson Dieterle.
Craig and Valdosta’s Lio’undre Gallimore each caught two touchdown passes. Gallimore had 111 yards on four catches.
Source: The Associated Press