There seems to something about the Magic City Classic and close games that’s to Alabama A&M’s liking.
The Bulldogs took down Alabama State 42-41 in overtime Saturday at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., for their seventh straight Magic City Classic victory in games decided by three points or less.
The Bulldogs scored the winning points on De’Angelo Ballard’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Dorsey and Nick Carden’s extra point. The Bulldogs were in position to win the game in regulation, but Roderick Henderson blocked Carden’s 33-yard field goal attempt with 1:12 remaining in the fourth quarter and the game went into overtime tied 35-all.
Alabama State had the first possession in the extra period, and the Hornets on Marquell Beckwith’s 14-yard run. However, David Albert missed the extra point, leaving the door open for Alabama A&M to grab the win.
“We will fight you until the en,’’ said Alabama A&M coach James Spady.
The game was an offensive showdown matching Alabama A&M’s balanced attack against Alabama State’s running game. Ballard threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran the ball 19 times for 101 yards and was named MVP of the game. The Bulldogs finished the game with 555 yards after gaining 258 yards on the ground. Freshman Jordan Bentley led Alabama A&M ball-carriers with 80 yards on 15 carries. Bentley scored a pair of touchdowns.
Alabama State rushed for 391 yards but only generated 60 yards passing as Hornets quarterback only completed four of 15 attempts. Running back Khalid Thomas led Alabama State with 170 yards on 24 carries. Thomas’ rushing total moved him into a tie with Keldrick Williams (2003-2005) for fifth place on the Hornets’ career rushing list with 2,632 yards. Quarterback Quinterris Toppings had 127 yards on six carries, including a 73-yard touchdown run, but he was just 3-for-10 passing.
Alabama State took an early 14-3 lead on Thomas’ 16-yard touchdown run and a 73-yard scoring run by Toppings. Thomas returned a punt 54 yards to set up his first quarter score. Thomas also had a 61-yard punt return and accounted for 285 all-purpose yards.
Bentley scored on a 22-yard run and Carden added a 30-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to cut the Hornets’ lead to 13-10.
Alabama State led 35-27 in the fourth quarter but Tevin McKenzie scored on a one-yard run and Ballard connected with Kalias Robertson on the two-point conversion to tie the score at 35-all.
The loss clinched the Hornets’ first losing season since 2009 and the first of Brian Jenkins’ seven-year head coaching career at Bethune-Cookman and Alabama State.
Hampton 28, South Carolina State 26 – The Pirates stopped a two-point conversion attempt to secure a Homecoming victory while dealing the Bulldogs their first MEAC loss of the season and damaging their chances for the conference championship. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for Hampton (4-4, 4-2 MEAC) to South Carolina State (3-4, 3-1 MEAC), which entered the game trying to keep pace with North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central who are unbeaten in the conference. Jaylian Williamson’s 57-yard touchdown pass to Twarn Mixson at 7:04 of the fourth quarter gave Hampton a 28-20 lead. Hampton return man Ronald Bell muffed a punt at the Pirates’ 18 yard line, giving South Carolina State an opportunity to draw even. Dondre Brown scored on a one-yard run with 2:30 remaining in the game. However, quarterback Adrian Kollick Jr. was stopped on the conversion attempt. Hampton made its two-point advantage stand up by gaining two first downs and running out the clock. Williamson threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns for Hampton, and Mixson and Rashawn Proctor each went over the 100-yard receiving mark. Mixson had six catches for 130 yards, and Proctor caught seven balls for 124 yards. Each scored one touchdown. Williamson also threw a touchdown pass to Jack Willenbrock.
Southern 41, Alcorn State 33 – Running back Lenard Tillery broke the SWAC career rushing record as the Jaguars picked a conference road victory. Tillery ran for 195 yards, one shy of his career and three touchdowns to surpass Destry Wright, who ran for 4,050 yards at Jackson State from 1997-99. Tillery has 4,132 yards with at least four games remaining his career. The victory was the first for Southern coach Dawson Odums against Alcorn (3-4, 3-3 SWAC) after five straight losses to the Braves. It enabled the Jaguars (5-2, 5-0 SWAC) to remain tied with Grambling atop the West Division standings. Alcorn quarterback Lenorris Footman was a one-man wrecking crew against Southern for the second straight year. Footman ran for 146 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 300 yards and two more scores. In two games against the Jaguars, he has passed for 371 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 420 and seven scores.
North Carolina A&T 42, Florida A&M 14 – Tarik Cohen continued to run roughshod as he rushed for 145 yards and three touchdowns to keep the Aggies unbeaten in the MEAC with a Homecoming victory. Cohen, who also caught three passes for 65 yards, scored on runs of 83, seven and 19 yards. Quarterback Lamar Raynard completed 20 of 27 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns for North Carolina A&T (7-1, 5-0 MEAC) as the Aggies compiled 543 total yards. The Aggies’ defense held Florida A&M (3-6, 3-3 MEAC) to 288 yards total offense.
Bethune-Cookman 41, Delaware State 10
Norfolk State 27, Morgan State 14
Savannah State 31, Howard 27
Grambling State 70, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 0
Prairie View A&M 28, Jackson State 14
Sam Houston State 66, Texas Southern 17
Bowie State 41, Lincoln (Pa.) 23
Elizabeth City State 24, Virginia Union 21
Fayetteville State 43, Livingstone 28
Johnson C. Smith 34, Saint Augustine’s 8
Virginia State 49, Chowan 21
Winston-Salem State 30, Shaw 23
Albany State 34, Benedict 7
Fort Valley State 24, Morehouse 16
Lane 35, Kentucky State 21
Miles 34, Clark Atlanta 17
Tuskegee 42, Central State 14
Edward Waters 29, Ave Maria 17
Langston 70, Texas College 3
McKendrie 55, Lincoln (Mo.) 3
Millersville 34, Cheyney 6
Murray State 38, Tennessee State 31
UNC-Pembroke 44, West Virginia State 14