Davis, Statesmen in national title test

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quarterback Micah Davis and his Delta State teammates laughedand joked as they boarded large Trailways buses for the journey toFlorence, Ala. Their destination is the location of the NCAADivision II National Championship Game. The Statesmen will tackleunbeaten Minnesota-Duluth Saturday morning. Kickoff is 10 a.m. inBraly Municipal Stadium.

Davis, a redshirt junior from Wesson, shared his feelings on thetitle test as diesel exhaust fumes filled the early afternoon airWednesday. “It’s exciting. It’s a dream come true; especially asyou were growing up as kid.”

For sure, Davis has been a catalyst in Delta State’s outstandingcampaign. He has rewritten the DSU record books this season. He’scompleted a school-record 312 passes in 482 attempts for 3,854yards and 31 touchdowns, plus 18 interceptions. His 64.7 completionpercentage and total offense of 4,026 yards is impressive. He’sonly 72 yards shy of the single season passing yardage mark of3,926 yards.

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Davis, a chemistry major with a 4.0 GPA, was scheduled tograduate last Saturday. Instead of donning a cap and gown, he stuckwith his teammates and threw three TD passes in DSU’s win overpreviously unbeaten Shepherd University.

The Statesmen (11-3) have made a remarkable run through theplayoffs. Davis said, “We have gotten better each week. We havesome great athletes on both sides of the ball. We are hard tocompete with.”

Davis lavished praise on his receivers. “We have all kinds oftalent. We have jump guys who can jump out of the sky. We haveothers who can run. We have special receivers who can make specialcatches.”

Giving credit where credit is do, Davis praised the men in thetrenches. “Our offensive line has done a great job for us allseason.”

Another offensive threat is DSU running back Trevar Deed, a2-time All-American. Deed, from Phoenix, Ariz., needs just 22 yardsreceiving to become the first 2,000-yard rusher and 2,000-yardreceiver in DSU history. If you like numbers, Deed has rushed for2,640 yards and caught 184 passes for 1,978 yards.

In Deed’s 37-game career at DSU, he has accounted for 44touchdowns and 5,117 all-purpose yards.

Coaches will tell you that defense wins games and DSU’s defensehas definitely improved during the long campaign. “Our defense hasreally turned it on,” said Davis.

Senior All-Gulf South Conference nitro back Garrett Williams hasenjoyed a remarkable season for the Statesmen. He has totaled 115tackles and tied the school record for interceptions with eightthefts.

UM-Duluth presents a stern challenge for the Statesmen. Thetop-ranked Bulldogs (14-0) won the 2008 national championship

“Minnesota has a pretty solid team,” Davis noted. “It’s hard tobe 14-0 in this league. They are a physical team. They have a lotof 6-2, 250, people on the defensive line.”

Coach Ron Roberts hopes his Statesmen can duplicate the resultsof 10 years ago when DSU last won a national championship. That2000 team was under the direction of Steve Campbell, currently headcoach at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

“We will have our hands full on Saturday but as we’ve said allyear, it’s not about them, it’s about us,” said Roberts. “It shouldbe a classic between a big-play, quick-strike offense and an oldschool rushing attack that features one of the nation’s bestdefenses.”

The title game will be televised (ESPN2) nationally. It will begreat exposure for both schools, especially the Fighting Okra fromthe Mississippi Delta.

Co-Lin head football coach Glenn Davis has watched his son’sprogress with great satisfaction. He coached Micah for two years atCo-Lin. Tommy Clopton coached Micah at Wesson.

“I’m tickled to death for him,” said Coach Davis. “He’s had agreat year. Micah has a great surrounding cast that has playedaround him.”

Davis has other reasons to be button-popping proud this month.Former Co-Lin defensive tackle Nick Fairley of Auburn was named the2010 Lombardi Award winner, recognizing the nation’s best lineman.He also was named the Associated Press Defensive Player of theYear.

Fairley was placed at Co-Lin by former Auburn boss TommyTuberville. Fairley had to get his grades up to become eligible atan SEC school

“Our agreement with Coach Tuberville was to redshirt Nick oneyear and then play him,” said Davis. “He was going to have threemore years,” of eligibility at Auburn.

Another Co-Lin product, cornerback Andrew Magee of Magee madeAll Big-12 at Oklahoma State this season. This is Magee’s secondyear with the Cowboys.

Dequan Menzie, another Co-Lin grad, had a good year playingcornerback for Alabama’s Crimson Tide. Davis said DQ started 80percent of the snaps at Alabama. He missed one game with ahamstring.

Charles (Bobo) Rancifer of Brookhaven is another Co-Lin productwho is enjoying success on the senior college level. An outsidelinebacker, Rancifer moved north to Ohio and the University ofToledo last January. Toledo’s Rockets are in the Little CaesarsBowl, Dec. 26, in Detroit. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. versus FloridaInternational on ESPN. Rancifer will were jersey No. 1.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O. Box551, Brookhaven, MS 39602, or e-mail sports@dailyleader.com