Football Recaps: October 28
Alabama State 21, Alabama A&M 16
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The 76th annual McDonald’s Magic City Classic again went down to the final drive, and for the next 365 days, the Alabama State University football team has earned bragging rights with a hard-fought 21-16 victory over Alabama A&M Saturday night.
Alabama State (2-5, 2-2 SWAC), winners of back-to-back games, looked to have sewn the contest up when Darryl Pearson, Jr. found Chett LeVay in the back of the end zone for a 21-9 lead. However, Alabama A&M (3-6, 3-2 SWAC) returned the kickoff deep into Alabama State territory before trimming the lead to 21-16 on a two-yard.
However, for the second consecutive game, the Hornets’ defense stood firm after an onside kick recovery by Alabama A&M. After giving a first down, Alabama State held the Bulldogs and forced an incomplete pass on fourth down.
Alabama State went into the victory formation and the Hornet faithful were able to start the celebration.
“We will enjoy this win,” Alabama State interim head coach Donald Hill-Eley said. “We will get back to the house and look at we did, and make some adjustments and move forward. It is great to win, and win for our fans. Our fans have been down all year while we have been trying to get things straight after starting off 0-5. Winning this game, it helps put life back into our program and back into our community, so it is a great feeling to carry a win back to Montgomery.
“Everything has meaning. We will take that 0-5 and learn from it, after you lose the first five games. And for the last two weeks to come out and win, it changed their mentality after winning two games and now they work because they know they can win.”
The momentum swung to Alabama State early on as Ronnie Scott, the defensive Most Valuable Player, intercepted a pass on the Alabama A&M sideline.
“When he intercepted that pass it helped us out,” Eley said. “It bought some time for the offense after we had been going three-and-out. It put them in a position where they had to adjust what they do being a running team. It took some things away that they wanted to do, which kept us in the ball game.”
The senior then took off towards his own sideline, weaving through traffic and then turned up field to the end zone. He would run by two defenders near the goal line before diving in for a 59-yard interception return for the tournament. The return was his second of the season.
“I was exhausted,” Scott said of the interception return. “It was nice, it was a good spark to pick it off and get into the end zone. I was just excited for the team, giving us a chance to get some points on the board. It got the crowd into and the rest of the team into it, and I think we took a little bit away from them at the same time.”
Alabama A&M got on the board with a safety in the second quarter, and that is where the game stood at halftime with the Hornets leading 7-2.
After Alabama A&M took the lead on their first drive of the second half (10-9), the Hornets came right back down the field and lined up under center from the 12-yard line. Pearson turned and handed the ball off to Alex Anderson who went off the right side and dove for the end zone. He was upended, and the ball was dislodged as he hit the goal line upside down. However, after the replay, Anderson cross the plain of the goal line as he went airborne to give Alabama State a 14-9 lead with 6:10 to play in the third.
“I just had to make a play for my team,” Anderson said. “My number was called and I did my job for my team, and that is all I could do. Tonight is a great feeling. Starting out 0-5, it was very frustrating but this team and these guys continued to fight and push through. They continue to work, they continue to grind each day. And continue to finish. This win is a great feeling, a great feeling.”
That play set the stage for the fourth quarter heroics.
Pearson led Alabama State on the ground, on his way to offensive Most Valuable Player honors, as he finished the night with 85 yards on nine carries – including a long of 30. George Golden added 71 yards on 12 carries, while Anderson finished with 36 yards and a touchdown.
Pearson, the nephew of Alabama A&M defensive coordinator Travis Pearson, also finished with just 28 yards passing on the night, as the Hornets racked up 221 yards of rushing against the top-ranked defense of Alabama A&M.
“I just want to thank coach for giving the opportunity to play,” Pearson said. “I wanted to do it for my parents, they both played sports here. This was more than just a game to me so I just had to play as hard as I could, and make every play that I could. I did this for the seniors, I think they deserve to go out with a bang. That is how we are going to go through the rest of the year, try to go out with a bang.”
Willie White and Anderson each finished with a pair of receptions each for Alabama State.
Meanwhile, defensively, the Hornets held Alabama A&M to just 96 yards rushing and 125 yards passing on the night and recorded nine tackles for loss. Jarkeith Ruffin, Treyon Garnett, Malik Bridgers and Andre Wilson each recorded four tackles in the win. Ricky Haley finished with three tackles and a pair of sacks on the night.
“We have Jackson State that is sitting and waiting,” Eley said. “We are going to enjoy tonight, but we will be right back at it in the weight room tomorrow morning working it out. Then we are going to get ready for Jackson State. But we are going to enjoy every minute tonight.”
--Alabama State Sports Information
Grambling State 50, Texas Southern 24
Grambling, La. – Devante Kincade closed out his senior home campaign on Saturday with four total touchdowns as thirteenth-ranked Grambling State University cruised past Texas Southern, 50-24, in a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) game at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.
“It’s good to get a victory today,” Grambling State head coach Broderick Fobbs said. “With Homecoming week, you’re always concerned about focus and distractions of that nature, but it was good to get a victory and good for our guys to go out and score some points and stop the run. All-in-all, I thought it was a really good performance.”
Kincade, who connected with eight different receivers on Saturday, threw for a season-high 347 yards on 21 of 34 passing with three touchdowns and rushed seven times for 22 yards and one score as Grambling State jumped out to a 14-3 first-quarter lead.
GSU (7-1 overall, 4-0 SWAC) marched 68 yards on its opening drive as Kincade connected with Marquise Kaigler for a 9-yard touchdown pass to give Grambling State a 7-0 lead with 11:26 left in the first quarter.
Grambling State extended the advantage to 14-0 on its next drive as Kincade scored on a 9-yard quarterback keeper with 7:28 left in the first.
Texas Southern (0-7, 0-4) capitalized on a Grambling State turnover and went 39 yards in seven plays as Aaron Cuevas booted a 27-yard field to close the gap to 14-3 with 2:11 in the opening quarter.
Grambling State quickly answered and capped off a 5-play, 65-yard drive as Jordan Jones rumbled 47 yards for the touchdown to extend the lead to 20-3 after Marc Orozco’s point after attempt was blocked with
14:48 left in the first half.
After a Texas Southern punt, Grambling State used an 8-play, 77-yard drive, as Dre’ Fusilier scored on a 1-yard run to push the advantage to 27-3 with 8:50 left in the second quarter.
Texas Southern answered and took advantage of a Fusilier fumble in the endzone as Demontairo Anderson pounced on the loose ball to give TSU the score and cut the deficit to 27-10 with 48 seconds remaining in the first half.
Grambling State got the lone score in the third quarter as Kincade found Devohn Lindsey for the 19-yard strike to extend the advantage to 34-10 with 1:38 remaining.
The Kincade-Martez Carter show was on full display early in the fourth quarter as the two combined for 60 yards on Grambling State’s next scoring drive with Carter scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run to push the margin to 41-10 with 11:08 left.
Texas Southern closed the gap to 41-17 on its next possession as Mario Smalls caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Elijah Odom with 7:47 left.
GSU’s defense, which allowed just 24 yards rushing on 27 attempts, clammed down and sacked Odom in the end zone for the safety and gave Grambling State a 43-17 advantage with 3:59 remaining. For Grambling State, it was the third safety the defense had earned this season.
GSU put the final touches on a great afternoon when Geremy Hickbottom scored on a 49-yard quarterback keeper to extend the margin to 50-17.
Texas Southern added one more score as Odom scored on a 9-yard run with 52 seconds remaining.
--Grambling State Sports Information
Jackson State 24, Mississippi Valley State 5
Itta Bena, Miss. – Jordan Johnson rushed for a season high 160 yards on 21 carries en route to helping the Jackson State Tigers secure their first win of the season. He also scored career high three rushing touchdowns. Terrell Kennedy rushed for 78 yards on only 12 carries as well.
JSU signal caller Jordan Williams completed 9 of 16 pass attempts for 80 yards and did a good job of managing the game for the Tigers, who were in dire need of a win before taking on Alabama State for the 2017 homecoming football game on Nov. 4 at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Romello Shumake hauled in a team high four passes for 36 yards. JSU was efficient in the red zone going 4 for 5 with three TDs and a field goal by Christian Jacquemin (38 yards).
JSU’s defense held the Delta Devils to only 105 yards while the Tigers offense finished the game with 331 total yards.
A Christian Jacquemin interception on a fourth and 7 at the Valley 26 led to a Delta Devil 42-yard field goal by Nicholas Jacquemin giving MVSU a 3-0 lead.
The Tigers took their first lead of the game when Jordan Johnson capped a six play, 44-yard drive with a three-yard run with 5:37 left in the half. On the previous play Johnson rattled off a 25-yard run to set up the go-ahead score.
With 54 seconds left in the half, Christian Jacquemin 38-yard field goal gave the Tigers a 10-3 advantage. The drive was highlighted by a 25-yard Terrell Kennedy run to the Valley 8-yard line.
Jordan Johnson posted his second rushing TD of the game on a 12-yard run, which capped off a 7 play, 48-yard drive.
JSU’s only miscue of the quarter was safety – off of a botched punt snap.
Jordan Johnson scored his career high third rushing TD of the game on a 10-yard run, making the final score 24-5 en route to JSU’s first win of the season.
--Jackson State Sports Information
Southern 47, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 40
Little Rock Ark. – Austin Howard completed 22-of-32 passes for 338 yards and five touchdowns as Southern piled up 586 total yards of offense in outlasting the Golden Lions at War Memorial Stadium.
The Jaguars (5-3, 3-1 SWAC) trailed UAPB 14-7 about midway through the first quarter, but quickly responded with four touchdown passes from Howard to take a 34-14 lead into halftime.
A 28-yard touchdown run by KeShawn Williams and a 24-yard field goal by Jamie Gillan cut the lead to 34-24 heading into the fourth quarter, but Dillon Beard caught a six-yard touchdown pass from Howard for his fifth TD pass of the game to push the lead to 16.
Jeremy Brown caught a 10-yard touchdown from Brandon Duncan and Duncan ran in the two-point conversion to cut it to eight with 11:22 remaining, but once again Southern answered with a big score from Devon Benn to make a 15-point advantage.
UAPB (2-6, 1-3 SWAC) wasn’t done though as Brown caught another 10-yard touchdown pass and Duncan fought Tyrin Ralph for the two-point conversion to reduce the deficit to a seven-point game.
Prairie View A&M 34, Bacone College 17
Prairie View, TX – The Prairie View A&M University football team posted a homecoming win with a 34-17 triumph over Bacone College Saturday at Panther Stadium.
QB Neiko Hollins threw a pair of touchdown passes, both to WR Khadarel Hodge, and RB Sta’fon McCray rushed for a touchdown. Defensively, CB Ju’Anthony Parker returned an interception for a touchdown as the Panthers improved to 3-4 on the season in a contest in which the teams agreed to play two 10-minute quarters in the second half.
“It was good to get a win after two straight losses,” Prairie View A&M head coach Willie Simmons said. “It’s good to end the game on the positive side of the scoreboard as opposed to the negative. I’m happy about that, but we have to play a lot better. Again, poor execution across the board. Special teams made some plays, but again allowed a kickoff return for touchdown. That’s definitely something we have to fix. The defense held up in the first half. I thought in the second half, we played some younger guys and gave up some plays. Offensively, after halftime we only scored three points.”
Prairie View A&M scored on five of its seven first-half possessions, including touchdowns on the first two drives. Following a forced three-and-out by the Panthers’ defense, it took only three plays to score. McCray’s 54-yard scoring run on the third offensive play gave PVAMU a 7-0 lead less than 90 seconds into the game.
After the defense forced a second straight three-and-out, Markcus Hardy blocked a punt which was recovered by RB Caleb Broach at the Bacone nine-yard line. Hodge caught a touchdown pass from Hollins on the ensuing play to give PVAMU a 14-0 lead with 12:08 to play in the first quarter.
Later in the quarter, a 54-yard punt return by Darius Floyd set up a 45-yard Zach Elder field goal for a 17-0 lead with 2:27 to play in the first quarter.
Just over a minute into the second quarter, Parker’s 44-yard interception return extended the PVAMU lead to 24-0.
On the Panthers’ next offensive possession, it took PVAMU only two plays to score. Hollins and Hodge connected on a 30-yard scoring pass for a 31-0 lead with just over 11 minutes to play until halftime.
“(Bacone Head) Coach (Lawrence) Livingston and I got together at halftime,” Simmons said of the decision to shorten the game. “He wanted to make sure his guys got out of the game healthy. He felt like the game was getting out of hand, and we made the decision to shorten the game. They don’t have a big roster numbers-wise. Of course, we’re a bigger, faster, stronger team and we wanted to allow them to finish out their season strong, so we made the decision to go to the 10-minute quarters for the second half.”
--Prairie View A&M Sports Information