Jackson State, the defending SWAC Eastern Division champion, made it known Saturday that it has no intention of abducting the throne as the Tigers defeated preseason division favorite Alabama State 30-23 in the W. C. Gorden Classic at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Miss.
Jackson State unleashed a devastating running game that wore down Alabama State’s defense, gaining 203 yards. Running back Rakeem Sims led the Tigers with 92 yards on 16 carries; quarterback Clayton Moore, who made his first start of the season after missing the Tigers’ opener with back problems, added 67 yards on 22 carries, and Tommy Goodson chipped in with 45.
Goodson and Moore each scored a touchdown. Goodson scored on a two-yard run 2:36 of the first quarter to the score at 14-all after Alabama State (0-2, 0-1 SWAC) had taken a 14-0 lead Moore’s three-yard run with 14:35 remaining in the game put the Tigers (1-1, 1-0 SWAC) ahead 21-17.
“The running backs ran,’’ Jackson State coach Rick Comegy said. “Rakeem Sims ran hard, and the kids up front blocked.’’
Moore, who threw for 281 yards while completing 14 of 36 attempts with one interception, connected with Zach Pendleton on a 56-yard touchdown pass for Jackson State’s first score.
“We could’ve controlled the ball a little more,” Comegy said “I’ll take what he gave us.. When he moved the ball, when he hit Pendleton on some big plays, I’ll accept that.’’
Jackson State’s ground attack seemed to get stronger as the game wore on, producing 126 yards in the second half..
Alabama State appeared to be on its way to an easy victory as the Hornets scored on each of their first two possessions. They drove 61 yards in five plays for their first score, a 21-yard pass from quarterback Daniel Duhart to Marcus Gamble.
After the Hornets forced Jackson State to punt, running back Isaiah Crowell broke an 84-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 Alabama State lead. Crowell finished the game with 179 yards on 18 carries.
The loss puts a damper on Alabama State’s hopes of winning the division championship even though the season is just two weeks old. The Hornets play at defending SWAC champion Arkansas-Pine Bluff Saturday and are in jeopardy of starting the season 0-2 in conference play.
“It’s definitely not a popular place to be in,” Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow said, “and I imagine there will be some heads dropping, but at the end of the day, it’s still early in the season and we still have a lot of games to play. Who knows what might happen?”
Tenn. State 27, Florida A&M 7 – A suffocating defense and a pulverizing running game keyed the Tigers’ victory in their first game against the Rattlers in Tallahassee, Fla., since 1997. Tennessee State (1-1) held Florida A&M (1-1) to just 156 yards total offense – 22 rushing on 244 carries – and forced two turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Safety David Van Dyke returned an interception 46 yards for the Big Blue’s first touchdown. Running back Tim Broughton led the running game with 124 yards on 17 carries, and Telvin Hooks had 77 on 12 carries. Broughton scored on a 10-yard run that capped a 65-yard drive. Hooks scored on a 14-yard run. Tennessee State also scored on a 95-yard kickoff return by Martine Stevenson.
North Carolina A&T 24, Appalachian State 21 –The Aggies built an 18-point lead midway through the third quarter and then held on to beat the Mountaineers, No. 21 in the FCS rankings, in an intrastate contest in Boone, N.C. The Aggies’ victory was their first against a ranked opponent in 10 seasons, and it ended a 32-game home winning streak versus instate opponents for Appalachian State. It was also North Carolina A&T’s first victory at Kidd Brewer Stadium, Appalachian State’s home field, and their first win against a non-HBCU since they defeated Elon in 2004. The Aggies led 24-6 with less than nine minutes remaining in game. The Aggies spotted Appalachian State an early 6-0 before scoring 24 straight points, highlight by 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and D’Vonte Graham’s 57-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Tuskegee 23, Alabama A&M 7 – The Golden Tigers converted a pair of first-quarter turnovers into touchdowns as they stunned the Bulldogs in the fourth annual Louis Crews Classic in Huntsville, Ala. Alabama A&M return man Derrick James fumbled a punt after the Bulldogs held Tuskegee on the Golden Tigers’ first possession. Quarterback Justin Nared, who threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns, connected with Crist Anderson on 23-yard scoring play. Lawrence Barnett fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Golden Tigers pounced on it once again. This time, Nared hit Lawrence Cobb with a 27-yard scoring strike for a 14-0 with 9:05 remaining in the first quarter. Alabama A&M kept its hopes for victory alive on Barrington Scott’s two-yard touchdown at 1:38 of the third quarter that cut the lead to 17-7. But Nared dashed them with a 56-yard touchdown pass to Marques Gardner. Alabama A&M was coming off an impressive season-opening victory against Grambling State, but the Bulldogs’ offense never got untracked against Tuskegee. They only generated 79 total yards in the first half and 284 for the game.
Benedict 42, Central State 9
Bethune-Cookman 66, Virginia Union 7
Bowie State 42, Saint Anselm 28
Clemson 52, South Carolina State 13
Delaware 42, Delaware State 21
Delta State 24, Miss. Valley State 14
William & Mary 31, Hampton 7
Howard 27, Morehouse 16
Incarnate State 69, Texas College 0
Johnson C. Smith 34, Livingstone 17
Kentucky State 42, Kentucky Wesleyan 6
Lane 38, Virginia Lynchburg 13
Lincoln (Pa.) 33, Cheyney 28
Lindenwood 24, Lincoln (Mo.) 0
Lock Haven 31, West Va. State 13
Louisiana-Monroe 48, Grambling State 10
McNeese State 58, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 14
Mississippi State 51, Alcorn State 7
Newberry 35, Elizabeth City State 32
North Alabama 42, Miles 7
North Carolina Central 23, Saint Augustine’s 20 (2 OT)
UNC-Charlotte 47, Chowan 7
UNC-Pembroke 25, Winston-Salem State 34
North Greenville 26, Albany State 24
Northwestern State 55, Southern 14
Point University 35, Edward Waters 22
Robert Morris 31, Morgan State 14
Rutgers 38, Norfolk State 0
Shaw 44, Charleston (W.Va.) 14
Stillman 52, Concordia-Selma 0
Texas State 28, Prairie View A&M 3
Troy 66, Savannah State 3
Valdosta State 36, Fort Valley 21
Virginia State 29, Fayetteville State 28
West Alabama 42, Clark Atlanta 6