NOTE: We start coverage of Black College football this year with the season already in progress.
MOBILE, Ala. – Tuskegee and Florida A&M, two of the most storied programs in Black College football, renewed their rivalry which began in 1908, last Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in the inaugural Fifth Quarter Classic. It was their first meeting since 1996, when the Rattlers hung a 56-0 beat down on Tuskegee for their fifth straight victory in the series.
That was then. Twenty years later, the outcome was vastly different as the Golden Tigers hung on for a 20-17 victory that kept them undefeated (3-0) and continued winless Florida A&M (0-3) in a downward spiral.
Tuskegee won despite committing four turnovers, turning the ball over on downs after botching a fourth-down punt attempt and being guilty of a number of mental errors.
“I thought our guys played extremely hard,’’ said Tuskegee coach Willie Slater. “I was disappointed in a lot of the mental stuff. I don’t think we played very smart.’’
Quarterback Kevin Lacey went from potential goal to hero as he led the Golden Tigers on a two-play, 33-yard scoring drive for the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Lacey, who completed 13 of 25 passes for only 147 yards, was pulled for two series in the third quarter in favor of freshman Jamarcus Ezell after throwing a pair of interceptions and making couple of mental errors. Lacey was the SIAC Offensive Player of the Week and the BOXTOROW National Offensive Player of the Week for Week 2 after he completed 11 of 19 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns in s victory against Albany State.
He sealed the win against Florida A&M with a 23-yard touchdown pass toss to Desmond Reece with 2:21 on the clock. The scoring strike came after Lacey scrambled for a 10-yard gain.
“He was putting a little pressure on himself and made a couple of mental errors,’’ Slater said. “I decided to let the freshman get a little bit. But I knew he was ready to come back in and do a good job.’’
Florida A&M was driving for the potential tying touchdown when Kevin Troutman fumbled the ball away at Tuskegee’s 35 with 1:28 remaining following a 15-yard pass reception.
Tuskegee led most of the first half. The Golden Tigers were on top 6-0 thanks to first-quarter field goals of 32 and 31 yards by Dalton Hall. Florida A&M surged ahead briefly midway through the second quarter when quarterback Kenneth Coleman connect with Brandon Norwood on a 28-yard touchdown pass for a 7-6 lead. The score came after Tuskegee punter John Pecaro couldn’t handle a high center snap and fell on the ball at the Golden Tigers’ 28.
Tuskegee responded with a nine-play, 65-yard scoring drive that ended with Jayjerien Craig scooting into the end zone on a 19-yard run. The run allowed the Golden Tigers to take a 13-7 halftime lead.
Florida A&M grabbed a 17-13 third-quarter lead by converting a pair of Tuskegee fumbles into a field goal and a touchdown.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 45, Alcorn State 43 (3 OT) – The Golden Lions pulled of an early season SWAC upset with a road victory against the two-time defending conference champion Braves. Quarterback Brandon Duncan passed for a school record 505 yards and four touchdowns for the Golden Lions (1-2, 1-0 SWAC) as Arkansas-Pine Bluff rallied from a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit. Duncan connected with Willie Young on a 25-yard touchdown pass on the Golden Lions’ first play in the third overtime period. He completed the comeback with a pass to John Hawkins for the winning two-point conversion. Young had 13 receptions for 232 yards and two touchdowns.
The win was just the third in the last 14 games for Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Alcorn (1-1, 1-1 SWAC) got an impressive performance from true freshman quarterback Noah Johnson, who got the start when Lenorris Footman sat out the contest with a foot injury. Johnson passed for 353 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 62 yards and three touchdowns. Two of Johnson’s touchdowns came in overtime, the second coming in the third extra period on a four-yard run that put Alcorn ahead 43-37.
However, the Golden Lions stopped Johnson short of the end zone on the ensuing two-conversion attempt and set the stage for Duncan’s end of game heroics. Alcorn scored four straight touchdowns to grab a 30-14 lead with 12:50 left in the fourth quarter. The Golden Lions came back with a vengeance, scoring two touchdowns in the final 5:55 and making two two-point conversions, to send the game into overtime. Dante McDonald scored on an 11-yard run with 58 seconds remaining and Duncan completed a pass to Cody Swain for the two-point conversion that tied the score at 30-all and sent the game into overtime.
Tenn. State 31, Bethune-Cookman 24 – The Tigers overcame three turnovers and more than 150 yards in penalties and remained unbeaten with a victory in Daytona Beach, Fla. Tennessee State (3-0), among the most penalized teams in the FCS with 12 per game, was flagged 15 times for 160 yards. The teams traded scores throughout the game, which featured four lead changes and two ties. Tennessee State took the lead for good on backup quarterback Ronald Butler’s seven-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Smith 3:55 left in the fourth quarter.
However, the outcome wasn’t decided until Terrell Bond intercepted a tipped pass with just over two minutes remaining. Both teams were forced to rely on backup quarterbacks. Bethune-Cookman (0-2) went with junior college transfer Anthony Cruz after Larry Brihm suffered a leg injury in the fourth quarter. Butler came after O’Shay Ackerman-Carter also went to the sidelines with an injury in the second quarter. Tennessee State running game was the difference in the contest. The Big Blue rushed for 200 yards on 44 attempts. Earl Harrison ran for 110 yards on 13 carries, including a 46-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Hampton 34- Howard 7 – The Pirates went on a 24-point third-quarter scoring binge en route to an MEAC victory in the Nation’s Capital Classic at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Hampton (1-2, 1-0 MEAC) led 7-0 at the half before breaking the game open in the third period. The Pirates scored in quick succession on a 31-yard field goal by Anthony Provost and Bruce Perry’s 27-yard return of blocked punt for touchdown. Brandon Cox ended the scoring splurge with a two-yard scoring run, capping a 60-yard drive. Quarterback Jaylian Williamson accounted for the Pirates’ final points and a 31-0 lead with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Yahkee Johnson. Howard (0-3, 0-1 MEAC) avoided being shutout when Anthony Philyaw scored on a three-yard run with 13 seconds remaining.
Clemson 59, S.C. State 0
North Carolina Central 65, Saint Augustine’s 7
Tulsa 58, North Carolina A&T 21
William & Mary 35, Norfolk State 10
Southern 64, Ala. State 6
Grambling State 35, Jackson State 14
Prairie View 41, Ala. A&M 20
Texas Southern 31, Miss. Valley State 0
Central Conn. State 44, Bowie State 35
Chowan 35, West Florida 28
Davidson 38, Livingstone 12
Elizabeth City State 35, Morehouse 30
Elon 26, Fayetteville State 3
Indiana (Pa.) 55, Cheyney 0
Morehead State 56, Lincoln (Pa.) 6
UNC Pembroke 38, Shaw 19
Wofford 59, Johnson C, Smith 0
Virginia State 20, Kentucky State 7
Virginia Union 37, Winston-Salem State 14
Albany State 24, Southeastern 2
Benedict 42, Central State 6
Fort Valley State 37, Clark Atlanta 31 (3 OT)
Lane 46, Langston 44
Jacksonville 41, Edward Waters 7
McMurray 63, Texas College 6
Quincy 40, Lincoln (Mo.) 14
West Virginia Wesleyan 35, West Va. State 14