Caldwell sets UWA touchdown mark in 55-10 win over Shorter

ROME, Ga. – Kyle Caldwell passed for four scores, returned a blocked field goal for another and Daryl Collins caught two TD passes and ran for one more as West Alabama cruised to a 55-10 Gulf South Conference football win over Shorter Thursday at Barron Stadium.

It wasn’t just an offensive show for the Tigers, who held Shorter to minus five yards in the second half and 184 for the game.

“This was a complete team win. We challenged our guys to play 60 minutes and they did it,” UWA head coach Brett Gilliland said. “I was pleased with our offensive line and without looking at the film I would say this was their best game.”

West Alabama improved to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the GSC. Shorter dropped to 3-3 and 1-2.

“It was a fun night,” said defensive coordinator Nathan Burton, who held the same position at Shorter for the last two years. “The players followed the plan and the coaches coached. We executed, played fast and had fun.”

Caldwell finished his night late in the third quarter, completing 21-of-25 passes for 245 yards. His four scoring passes gives him 63 career touchdown passes, good for first on the all-time Tiger list. Caldwell passed UWA tight ends coach Deon Williams, who had 60 touchdown passes from 2008-10.

The total TD record wasn’t the only record broken by Caldwell. His 84 percent completion percentage eclipsed the previous record of 82.7 percent by Gilliland against Henderson State in 2002.

“I am humbled to get those records, but they are team records, not Kyle Caldwell records,” Caldwell said. “You have to give credit to our guys up front. They got a lot of movement and that in turn opened up the passing game.”

Collins finished with six receptions for 59 yards and has now scored five touchdowns over the last two games. His touchdown run was from eight yards in the third quarter.

“Kyle (Caldwell) was executing and he just put the team on his back, so I fell in line behind him,” Collins said. “I am having a great time playing and am thankful to get a chance to play football at West Alabama.”

UWA had a pair of true freshman rush for 100 yards. Tyler Rogers finished with 110 yards on 10 carries and Rashad Lee 100 yards on 20 carries.

West Alabama finished with a season-high 585 total yards while limiting Shorter to just 184. The Hawks rushed for five yards and had no yards passing in the final two quarters. West Alabama dominated the time of possession, keeping the football for 40:34 to the Hawks 19:26.

Brandon Lilly was in on five tackles and Tirelle Cullen four to lead West Alabama on defense. Cullen had two tackles for loss and recovered a fumble. Ashton Derico also recorded a sack and a fumble recovery for UWA, who had nine tackles in the Shorter backfield.

“We had a great week of practice and worked on a lot of cutting drills to get ready for tonight,” Cullen said. “It all goes back to a great plan by our coaches.”

After spotting Shorter a 3-0 lead on a 28-yards field goal by Kenny Langford, Caldwell went to work.

The senior from Dadeville, Ala., scored West Alabama’s first touchdown on a 26-yard return of a blocked Tiger field goal that bounced right to him as the holder before he went to work carving up the Hawk secondary for three scoring passes in the first half.

A 6-yard toss to Randy Satterfield with 12:53 left in the first half was Caldwell’s 60th career TD pass, tying the UWA record. Caldwell connected on the first of two scoring passes to Collins in the last 5:53 of the first half, from 14 and seven yards, for career scoring tosses 61 and 62.

Rogers wasted little time getting the Tigers on the scoreboard in the second half, ripping off a 57-yard touchdown run on the third play of the half giving UWA a 35-10 lead.

“This was a team effort, a team win, no game balls for individual players,” Rogers said. “We have are having fun our there just trying to run over everything in front of us.”

Collins ran for an 8-yard score in third quarter before Caldwell hooked up with Marcus Brown on a 14-yard scoring pass to put West Alabama ahead 49-10 with 4:41 left in the third quarter.

Marquis Sumler capped off West Alabama scoring on a 6-yard run with 2:30 left to play. He capped off UWA’s third scoring drive of the game of at least 12 plays.

Wilson ran for 105 yards for the Hawks. Two Shorter quarterbacks combined to complete 2-of-6 for 52 yards.

West Alabama and Shorter both return to action on Saturday, Oct. 25. The Tigers are host to Delta State, while the Hawks travel to Valdosta State.