Kentucky State has experienced nothing but frustration against Tuskegee since the Thorobreds joined the SIAC in 1997. That changed Saturday, however, as they handed the nationally ranked Golden Tigers their first loss of the season, a 10-9 Homecoming defeat.
The Thorobreds (4-4, 3-0 SIAC West) emerged with the win when junior defensive lineman Rodriguez Jones blocked an 18-yard field goal attempt by Dalton Hall as time expired. Kentucky State defensive lineman Donovan Cecil blocked an extra point attempt that would have tied the score at 10-all with 1:25 remaining in the game.
The Golden Tigers’ were in position to kick the winning field goal after they held Kentucky State to three-and-out in the final minute. The Thorobreds got off a short punt that was returned 25, and they were also hit with a penalty. That turn of events gave Tuskegee the ball at the eight-yard line. The Golden Tigers, who used their three timeouts on defense, gained five yards on two running plays. Quarterback Kevin Lacey spiked the ball on third down, setting the stage for Hall’s ill-fated field goal attempt.
The victory for Kentucky State was just its second in the last 19 games against Tuskegee (6-1, 1-1 SIAC West). But it assures them of their first division championship and an opportunity to win their first conference title.
“This game was unbelievable,’’ said first-year Kentucky State coach John L. Smith, who previously was head coach at Michigan State and Louisville. “I’ve been a part of some monumental wins, but I’ve never been a part of a team that defeated a top-five ranked opponent on the road. Plus we blocked two field goal attempts to do it; you have to give it up to our special teams and our defense.’’
Tuskegee entered the game ranked fifth in Division II with an undefeated season, the conference championship and a third consecutive NCAA playoff berth within its grasp. However, the Golden Tigers played sluggishly throughout the day. They only managed 261 yards total offense, 98 rushing.
The Thorobreds will play the Eastern Division champ in the conference title game on Nov. 12 in Montgomery, Ala. Albany State is the current leader in the East.
“No doubt this win feels good right now,” said Smith. “But we have to take care of business next week against Lane College on our home field. Our goal remains the same; we want a conference title.”
Hall staked Tuskegee to a 3-0 lead with a 26-yard field. However, Kentucky State led 7-3 at the half thanks to freshman quarterback Jules St. Gere’s two-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Bill Rose kicked a 29-yard field goal late in the third quarter to increase the Thorobreds’ lead to 10-3. Tuskegee was able to stay within striking distance of the lead on the strength of its defense, which limited Kentucky State 194 total yards.
Grambling State 59, Mississippi Valley State 10 – The Tigers showed no signs of rust following a two-week layoff as they cruised to a SWAC road win and their fourth straight victory. Quarterback Devante Kincade passed for 356 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half for the Grambling (5-1, 4-0 SWAC). Kincade threw scoring passes of 40 and 47 yards to Dominique Leake. Martez Carter was on the receiving end of a 25-yard touchdown pass and Devante Davis caught a 26-yard scoring pass as the G-Men led 35-3. Donovan McCray and Joseph Williams each blocked a punt for a touchdown in the second half. Grambling held Mississippi Valley (0-8, 0-6 SWAC) to minus 35 yards rushing.
North Carolina A&T 34, Howard 7 – Running back Tarik Cohen reached another milestone while leading the Eagles’ to their fourth straight win and spoiling the Bison’s Homecoming in the process. Cohen, who broke the MEAC career rushing record a week ago, ran for 133 yards and became the 26th back in FCS history to run for 5,000 career yards. Cohen has rushed for 5,005 yards and 1,033 yards this season.
Cohen got the Aggies (6-1, 4-0 MEAC), ranked No. 1 among HBCUs, on the road victory as he carried the ball on their first four plays of their first possession. The drive ended with him scoring on a 16-yard run. Cohen also scored on 45-yard pass play. Meanwhile, the Aggies defense held Howard (1-7, 1-4 MEAC) to 50 yards on the ground. Bison running back Anthony Philyaw, who entered the game as the No. 2 rusher in the MEAC behind Cohen with 126.2 yards a game, only gained 27 yards on 17 carries.
Virginia Union 42, Bowie State 35 – The Panthers rallied from a 21-point first-quarter deficit for a home victory that propel them into a tie with the Bulldogs atop the CIAA Northern Division. William Stanback ran for 194 yards and three touchdowns, and quarterback Shawheem Dowdy passed for three scores and Virginia Union (5-3, 4-1 CIAA) ended a three-game losing streak to Bowie State (5-3, 4-1 CIAA).
The Panthers went ahead 35-28 on Dowdy’s 72-yard touchdown pass to Lavatiae Kelly in the third quarter. However, Bowie State drew even again on Robert Chesson’s touchdown run. Dowdy’s two-yard touchdown pass to Aaquil Ingram-Harrow early in the fourth quarter proved to be the margin of victory. Bowie State drove to Virginia Union’s 33 on its final possession of the game. However, the Bulldogs were unable to convert on fourth-and-one, and Virginia Union ran out the clock.
Bethune-Cookman 21, Norfolk State 14
Florida A&M 31, Hampton 14
North Carolina Central 21, Morgan State 17
South Carolina State 30, Delaware State 3
Jackson State 21, Texas Southern 13
Southern 49, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 17
Rice 65, Prairie View A&M 44
Elizabeth City State 40, Chowan 21
Fayetteville State 39, Saint Augustine’s 16
Shaw 11, Johnson C. Smith 8
Virginia State 69, Lincoln (Pa.) 7
Winston-Salem 40, Livingstone 21
Albany State 17, Clark Atlanta 7
Benedict 13, Morehouse 10
Fort Valley State 30, Central State 28
Miles 28, Lane 14
Glenville State 43, West Virginia Stare 26
Indianapolis 38, Lincoln (Mo.) 7
Langston 63, Southwest Assemblies 10
Vanderbilt 35, Tenn. State 17
Wayland Baptist 41, Texas College 14
West Chester 46, Cheyney 12