Southern University ended three years of frustration against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and continued its march toward the SWAC West Division championship with a 29-21 road victory against the Golden Lions.
Southern (4-3, 4-1 SWAC) had lost three consecutive times to the defending SWAC champions, who are winless in seven games this season. The Jaguars, last in the SWAC in rushing at 92.1 yards a game, took advantage of the Golden Lions’ run defense, which is also last in the conference and allows 309 yards a game. They ran for 163 yards; redshirt freshman running back Lenard Tillery had a career-high 136 yards on the ground and was the workhorse of the Jaguars’ offense with 32 carries. Tillery scored Southern’s first touchdown on a 26-yard run in the first quarter.
The victory keeps Southern in first place in the SWAC Western Division, a game ahead of second-place Prairie View A&M. The Jaguars have the tie-breaker advantage with Prairie View on the strength of its 62-59 victory against the Panthers last month.
“This is an overall great win for our team,” Southern coach Dawson Odums said. “It was a hostile environment against a winless football team that was desperate for a win, and we are just happy it didn’t happen tonight against us.”
The game featured a head-to-head matchup between two of the top quarterbacks in the SWAC, Benjamin Anderson for Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Dray Joseph for Southern. Anderson, No. 3 in the conference with 1,682 passing yards and nine touchdowns coming into the game, was magnificent in defeat as he out-dueled Joseph. Anderson passed for 266 yards and two touchdowns while completing 24 of 28 attempts, and he rushed for 99 yards and another score. Joseph, who started the day No. 2 in the conference with 1,918 passing yards and 14 touchdowns, threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff erased Southern’s 8-0 first-quarter lead as Anderson led the Golden Lions on back-to-back scoring drives of 75 and 77 yards. Anderson scored the Golden Lions’ first touchdown on an eight-yard. He threw a 21-yard scoring strike to Isiah Ferguson with 31 seconds left in the first period to put the Golden Lions out front 14-8.
Joseph countered with a pair of second-quarter touchdown passes – a 32-yarder to Willie Quinn and a 16-yard toss to Nico Talbert – to give Southern a 22-14 lead at the half. Anderson’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Jamie Smith late in the third period pulled the Golden Lions to within a point of the Jaguars, 22-21. Joseph’s one-yard quarterback sneak with 8:34 left in the game. Arkansas-Pine Bluff threatened to score again and possibly tie the game when it got the ball with 4:31 remaining in the fourth quarter. However, Drayton Willis lost a fumble at Southern’s 35-yard line at the end of a five-yard run with 2:25 remaining. Dionte McDuffy recovered the loose ball for the Jaguars, and they held on to it for all but the final 14 seconds of the contest.
Bethune-Cookman 48, Savannah State 21 – Isiadore Jackson and Cary White each scored three touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to an easy MEAC home victory and set the stage for their showdown Saturday with South Carolina State for first place in the conference. The Wildcats (6-1, 3-0 MEAC) have won 17 consecutive conference games and are tied with South Carolina State for first place in the MEAC. Bethune-Cookman scored on six of its first seven possessions en route to its 14th straight victory against Savannah State (1-7, 0-4 MEAC). White scored on runs of one, 24 and 12 yards; Jackson scored on a 16-yard pass from quarterback Quentin Williams and a pair of two-yard runs.
Alcorn State 20, Texas Southern 13 – The Braves came up with a pair of fourth-quarter turnovers to preserve their third consecutive victory, a SWAC road win Houston. Alcorn (6-2, 6-1 SWAC) went ahead on quarterback John Gibbs’ 39-yard touchdown pass to LaDarrien Davis with 9:48 remaining in the game. Texas Southern (1-6, 1-6 SWAC) threw an interception following the ensuing kickoff. The Tigers had another opportunity to tie the score when they got the ball with 4:47 remaining in the game. They drove from their 10-yard line to Alcorn’s 33, but Deion McNair sacked quarterback Homer Causey on a second-down-and-five play, and Causey fumbled the ball. William Thomas pounced on it for the Braves to kill the drive with 1:40 left on the clock. Alcorn gained 441 yards total offense, and running back Arnold Walker ran for 130 yards. But a pair of fumbles helped keep Texas Southern close.
Howard 21, Florida A&M 10 – The Bison were unwelcome homecoming guests in Tallahassee, Fla., for the second consecutive time as they defeated the Rattlers. Running back Anthony Philyaw rushed for a career-high 121 yards for Howard (2-5, 1-3 MEAC), which ended a four-game losing streak. The Bison, who also beat Florida A&M on its homecoming 29-28 two years ago, scored on its first three possessions and took a 21-3 lead in the second quarter. William Parker scored on a one-yard run for Howard, and Philyaw scored on runs one and 10 yards. The Bison have won the last three times the teams have played. Florida A&M (2-5, 1-2 MEAC) scored its only touchdown on a two-yard run by Lemond Buice late in the first half. Howard’s defense dominated the second half and held Florida A&M to only one first down.
Tuskegee 35, Stillman 7 – The Golden Tigers broke open a tight game with three second-half big plays rolled to a home SIAC victory. Tuskegee (6-0, 6-1 SIAC) was nursing a 14-7 third-quarter lead before hitting Stillman with a trio of quick strikes on a pair of touchdown passes and an interception return for a touchdown. Quarterback Rashard Burkette connected with Marquel Gardner on a 37-yard scoring pass with 7:54 remaining in the period. Running back Christopher Anderson toss a 73-yard bomb to Larry Cobb midway through the fourth period, and Michael Robinson ran an interception back 84 yards for the Golden Tigers’ final points with 4:13 left in the game. Burkette threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Kalee Williams for Tuskegee’s first touchdown, and he also tossed an 18-yard scoring pass to Gardner in the second quarter. Stillman (4-3, 3-2 SIAC) scored its only touchdown on a two-yard pass from Torrance Moise to Reese Sturgis in the second quarter.
Albany State 42, Morehouse 20
Benedict 24, Clark Atlanta 0
Central State 37, Lane 34
Charleston (W. Va.) 31, West Va. State 9
Delaware State 12, North Carolina A&T 7