The University of North Alabama used a strong ground game to pound out a 38-21 Gulf South Conference victory over West Georgia at Braly Stadium on the Lions 2013 Homecoming. UNA scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the first half to take a 21-14 lead and then extended it 38-14 before settling for the 17-point victory.
The win was UNA's ninth straight Homecoming victory and gives the Lions a 3-2 overall record and 2-1 GSC mark. West Georgia falls to 4-2 and 1-1.
Senior Chris Coffey of Decatur, Ala., led UNA's offensive attack with 108 rushing yards on 18 carries, while quarterback Luke Wingo had 95 yards on 18 carries and scored twice.
The Lions rushed for 294 yards as a team and finished with 313 total yards. West Georgia had 312 yards but threw three interceptions and lost two fumbles.
West Georgia got on the scoreboard first as Austin Trainor capped a seven-play, 36-yard drive with a two yard touchdown run. Mark Bardenwerper added the extra point to give the Wolves a 7-0 lead at 4:54 of the first quarter.
UNA answered on its next possession with a 14-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Lion quarterback Luke Wingo fought through a would-be tackler on a one-yard run and Will Craig's PAT tied the game at 7-7 with 14:21 to play in the half.
West Georgia then drove 75 yards in 10 plays to retake the lead. Denarius Appling caught a six-yard scoring pass from Dallas Dickey and Bardenwerper added the PAT to make it 14-7 at 9:36 of the second period.
UNA again responded with a scoring drive of its own, this time moving 63 yards in nine plays behind back-up quarterback Jacob Tucker. Chris Coffey scored on a seven-yard run but Craig missed on his extra-point attempt and UNA trailed 14-13 with 4:48 left in the half.
UNA took its first lead of the night after West Georgia muffed a punt and the Lions' Brion James recovered at the Wolves' 17-yard line. UNA scored five plays later as Wingo dove in from one yard out for a touchdown. Wingo then passed to Lee Mayhall for a two-point conversion, giving UNA a 21-14 lead with 34 seconds left in the half.
UNA extended its lead in the third quarter on a 25-yard field goal by Craig to make it 24-14 with 4:41 left in the third quarter. West Georgia then fumbled the ensuing kickoff and UNA recovered at the Wolves 16, setting up another Lions score. Tucker scored on a one-yard run and Craig's PAT made it 31-14 with 3:09 to play.
Tavarius Wilson picked off a Trainor pass in the fourth quarter and returned it 30 yards to the end zone and extend UNA's lead to 38-14 at 8:03 of the final period.
West Georgia managed a late score when Derick Seward scored on a 13-yard run with 4:23 remaining.
North Alabama hosts Texas A&M-Kingsville on October 19 at Braly Stadium at 6 p.m. At that game, UNA will be honoring the members of its 1993 NCAA Division II National Championship Football team on the 20th Anniversary of that title.