It’s an unassuming wooden basket, but this vessel carries more than peaches. It carries years of tradition, athletic excellence and excitement for more than three decades of University of West Georgia football fans.
The Peach Basket – a bragging trophy earned by the winner of the annual UWG football game against Valdosta State University – currently sits on a counter in the Athletic Operations Building at UWG. And if the UWG Wolves have anything to say about it, that’s where it will remain for at least the next year.
If it feels like the stakes are higher than ever, it’s because they are.
This Saturday’s match-up between the teams – both of which are undefeated – will determine the Gulf South Conference champion and who will be named top seed in Super Region 2 and first-round bye for the upcoming NCAA Division II playoffs.
The two teams have met 37 times since 1983, with VSU leading the series 24-13. UWG has won four of the last five meetings.
“We have the biggest, most anticipated game of the regular football season coming up this Saturday, and we look forward to joining some of the faithful members of the UWG family down in South Georgia for what will surely be an exciting game,” said Daryl Dickey, director of athletics at UWG.
This year, the game will be held in Valdosta, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. Busloads of UWG students – in addition to the football team, UWG Marching Band and cheerleading squad – are set to make the 260-mile trip to the southern part of the state this weekend.
Want to join them?
UWG Alumni & Friends will host the UWG Fan Experience at VSU, inviting UWG alumni and local community members to let them do the driving. The cost is $85 per person and includes round-trip bus transportation to Valdosta, a ticket to the game and an unforgettable tailgate experience outside Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.
The bus will depart at 12 p.m. from the parking lot across from Greek Village at UWG and will return immediately after the game. Seating is limited. Click here to register for the UWG Fan Experience at VSU.
Unable to join UWG Alumni & Friends on the bus?
You can still enjoy the experience in Valdosta. Meet at the VSU STEAM Center – 1302 Patterson Street – across from the University Center for a special away-game tailgate beginning at 5 p.m.
Just look for UWG signage. All UWG alumni, friends, faculty, staff and their families are welcome.
Anyone planning to attend the game is encouraged to purchase tickets beforehand. Fans can purchase tickets at the UWG Bookstore during normal business hours – Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. There are 100 general admission tickets and 100 student tickets available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The general admission tickets are $10 and the student tickets are $5. The ticket purchased is also a 20 percent off coupon for any Wolves gear purchased in the bookstore.
Can’t make it to Valdosta?
Cheer on the Wolves from wherever you are. Watch the game live on ESPN3 or stream the game on the WatchESPN app from your phone, tablet, computer or streaming device. The game is a featured NCAA Division II Showcase Game of the Week.
The Wolves, ranked No. 3 in the national Division II poll, are fresh off a 29-17 victory over the Delta State Statesmen on Senior Day in Carrollton last weekend. After giving up 17 first-half points, the Wolves kept the Statesmen off the board in the final two quarters and put up 17 second-half points of their own.
West Georgia earned 386 yards of total offense, including 307 through the air. On the ground, the Wolves were led by Devontae Jackson, who rushed for 100 yards for a UWG record 14th time in his career.
The 10-0 start for the Wolves is matched by only one other team in the university’s history – the 2000 campaign. The 9-0 VSU Blazers are ranked No. 5 in the national poll and last weekend defeated the University of West Florida in Pensacola, 48-21.
“Our collective team – its players, coaches and staff members who keep things running on a daily basis – continues to exhibit the best collaborative spirit in the conference and the nation,” Dickey said. “I’m excited to see us bring the 2018 regular season to a close with a decisive win Saturday so we can prepare for our well-deserved post-season excitement and success.”