UNA Lions steam roll West Alabama, 45-7


LIVINGSTON, Ala. – North Alabama scored three first quarter touchdowns and the 19th ranked Lions rolled to a 45-7 Gulf South Conference road win over West Alabama at Tiger Stadium.

With the win, North Alabama improves to 2-1 overall and 2-0 in the GSC. West Alabama falls to 1-3 overall and 1-1 in the GSC.

It was the 70th all-time meeting between the Lions and Tigers and UNA now holds a 52-17-1 advantage.

UNA senior quarterback Jacob Tucker rushed for 39 yards and three touchdowns and completed 16-of-30 passes for 271 yards and one touchdown to lead the Lions. Dre Hall had nine catches for 125 yards and one touchdown.

North Alabama finished with 427 total yards, rushing for 117 and passing for 310. West Alabama was held to 262 yards and completed 22 of 52 pass attempts.

North Alabama forced a fumble on the game’s opening play from scrimmage and Khyle Jackson recovered at the West Alabama 33-yard line. Three Jacob Tucker rushes later and the Lions had a 7-0 lead. Tucker gained 30 yards on first down to the three, then two yards to the one. His score came on a one-yard blast up the middle. Kevin Henke’s PAT made it 7-0 at 13:53 of the first quarter.

Later in the quarter, a Jordan Jones interception of a Tucker pass gave UWA the ball at the UNA 25. Aided by two Lion penalties that kept the drive alive, the Tigers scored on a three-yard run by Rashaad Lee. Reed James PAT tied the game at 7-7 at 9:13 of the first quarter.

UNA answered immediately with a seven-play, 65-yard drive to regain the lead. The key play was a 51-yard pass by Tucker to Jacob Thomas to the UWA one-yard line. Tucker scored two plays later and Henke’s PAT made it 14-7 with 6:52 left in the first period.

A 27-yard pass from Tucker to Julius Jones set up UNA’s next score. Ray Beasley scored the touchdown on a two-yard run and Henke’s kick made it 21-7 at 4:20 of the first quarter.

A 14-play West Alabama drive came up empty when Tyler Smith blocked a 39-yard James field goal attempt with 28 seconds left in the opening period.

The only other score of the half was a 22-yard Henke field goal with 12:74 left in the second quarter to make it 24-7.

The Tigers ran 54 offensive plays in the half and held the ball for over 16 minutes but UNA’s defense turned in one fourth-down stop and forced six punts when the Tigers moved into Lion territory.

UNA out-gained the Tigers 245 to 163 in the half.

The Lions put the game away on the opening possession of the second half as UNA marched 75 yards on 10 plays and took 3:17 off the clock to make it 31-7.

Tucker scored on a four-yard run and Henke’s PAT at the11:43 mark gave UNA a 24-point advantage over the Tigers.

The Lions also scored on their second possession of the half on an 80-yard, 16-play that ate 7:18 off the clock. Tucker passed to Dre Hall for the touchdown from seven yards out with 1:35 left in the third and Henke’s PAT made it 38-7.

Blake Hawkins led a 10-play, 52-yard touchdown drive for UNA’s final score of the game. Hawkins walked into the end zone from four yards out and Henke’s PAT made it 45-7 with 7:23 left in the game.

North Alabama host West Georgia on October 1 at 6 p.m. at Braly Stadium in Florence.

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