Tuskegee kept its Division II playoff hopes alive with a stirring 13-10 come-from-behind victory against SIAC rival Miles Saturday at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala.
The Golden Tigers (8-1, 6-1 SIAC) never led until Branden Wilson plunged into the end zone from the two-yard line for the winning score with 1:15 remaining in the game. The touchdown capped an eight-play, 73-yard drive that consumed a minute and 39 seconds.
Tuskegee mounted its winning drive after Miles kicker Nick Christiansen missed a 49-yard field goal attempt with 2:54 left on the clock. It was Christiansen’s fourth miss of the game. He missed from 42, 44 and 50 yards earlier before making a 40-yarder with 6:25 left in the fourth quarter. The kick gave Miles a 10-6 lead.
Miles (5-4, 4-3 SIAC) took a 7-0 first-quarter lead when Cedric Poole returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdown at the 9:34 mark. Tuskegee trimmed the margin to 7-6 with 33 seconds remaining in the half on quarterback Kevin Lacey’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Desmond Reece.
The Golden Tigers were poised to take the lead early in the third quarter. They faced second-and-goal from the one-yard line. However, they were penalized five yards, pushing them back to the six. Lacey fumbled on the next play and Jourdan Walker recovered the ball for Miles.
Tuskegee got another stellar performance from its defense. The Golden Tigers held Miles to 283 total yards – 187 passing and 96 rushing. It was the ninth time in nine games they held an opponent to fewer than 300 yards. It was also the sixth time an opponent has failed to rush for 100 yards. In addition, the Golden Tigers had three quarterback sacks and nine tackles for loss.
Tuskegee is No. 14 in the Division II national rankings and No. 4 in Super Region 2. The Golden Tigers need to finish the season in the top seven in their region to qualify for the playoffs. They can assure themselves of their fourth consecutive playoff appearance with a road victory against Albany State this Saturday in a game that was added to the schedule at the last minute. A news release stated that the Golden Tigers would play the loser of the Fort Valley State-Albany State game for the East Division championship, which Fort Valley won.
The additional game enables Tuskegee to meet the NCAA’s requirement of a 10-game regular season schedule to be eligible for the playoffs. The Golden Tigers were left with a nine-game schedule when Stillman discontinued its football program during the offseason and athletic director Curtis Campbell was unable to schedule opponent to fill the opening.
North Carolina A&T 30, South Carolina State 20 – The Aggies staged a fourth quarter rally on the road to extend their winning streak to six straight games and remain unbeaten in the MEAC. North Carolina A&T (8-1, 6-0 MEAC) trailed 20-16 going into the fourth quarter. Quarterback Lamar Raynard put the Aggies ahead 23-20 with a ninth-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Bell at the 5:25 mark. They sealed the victory when Marquis Ellis returned an interception for a touchdown with 2:32 left in the game. North Carolina A&T led 10-0 in the first quarter on Tarik Cohen’s 15-yard touchdown run and a 21-yard field goal by Cody Jones.
South Carolina State (3-5, 3-2 MEAC) got into the scoring column in the second quarter as quarterback Adrian Kollick scored on a 17-yard run that trimmed the Aggies’ lead to 10-6. Raynard’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Bell extended the Aggies lead to 16-6 early in the second quarter. However, the Bulldogs responded with a 13-play, 88-yard drive that ended with a 41-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Caleb York to De’Montrez Burrough that made the score 16-13 at the half.
York scored on a one-yard run with 1:36 remaining in the third quarter that put South Carolina State ahead 20-16. The victory enabled the Aggies to remain tied with North Carolina Central atop the conference standings with two games remaining. The intrastate rivals play each other in the final game of the season on Nov. 19
Fort Valley State 21, Albany State 17 – The Wildcats erased a 17-0 halftime deficit to win the 27th annual Fountain City Classic in Columbus, Ga., and capture the SIAC East Division championship. Fort Valley (4-6, 4-3 SIAC) will face West Division winner Kentucky State in the SIAC Championship Game Saturday in Montgomery, Ala. The Wildcats captured the title on the strength of their 3-1 East Division record. Albany State (5-4, 3-2 SIAC) appeared headed for a rout and a date in the title game early on. The Golden Rams took the opening kickoff and drove 67 yards for a score.
They got into the end zone on Caleb Edmonds’ four-yard pass to Treyvon Vallery. Vallery scored later on a one-yard run, capping a 12-play, 61-yard drive. Fort Valley stormed back with a vengeance in the half. Quarterback Otis Brown and Bodarius Johnson teamed up on an 18-yard touchdown pass with 12:12 left in the third quarter for the Wildcats’ first points.
Samuel Ryan returned a fumble 34 yards for touchdown early in the fourth quarter to put the Wildcats within striking distance of the lead 17-14. Brown and Johnson hooked up again for the winning score with 9:45 left in the game, this time on a 39-yard touchdown pass. Albany State had two scoring threats late in the game but the Golden Rams turned the ball on downs both times.
Tennessee State 41, Austin Peay 40 – Steven Newbold caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ronald Butler with 1.7 seconds to play and Lane Clark kicked the extra point to lift the Tigers to a heart-stopping OVC victory. The touchdown pass was the fourth of the game for Butler, who had 342 yards total offense and rushed for two scores. Newbold caught two touchdown for the Tigers (6-3, 3-2 OVC).
Bethune-Cookman 41, Morgan State 10
North Carolina Central 38, Delaware State 19
Savannah State 31, Norfolk State 14
Alabama State 14, Jackson State 7
Grambling State 56, Alabama A&M 17
Mississippi Valley State 41, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 7
Prairie View A&M 31, Alcorn State 27
Southern 26, Texas Southern 10
Bowie State 56, Elizabeth City State 7
Chowan 73, Lincoln (Pa.) 0
Johnson C. Smith 30, Livingstone 8
Shaw 35, Saint Augustine’s 32
Virginia State 48, Virginia Union 21
Winston-Salem State 28, Fayetteville State 21
Benedict 39, Kentucky State 35
Kennesaw State 56, Clark Atlanta 0
Morehouse 24, Lane 21
Southwest Baptist 54, Central State 34
Kutztown 32, Cheyney 6
Langston 40, Lyon College12
Southwest Assemblies of God 57, Texas College 39
West Virginia State 52, Concord 45
Warner 42, Edward Waters 21
William Jewell 48, Lincoln (Mo.) 17