The first full weekend of Black college football’s 125th season produced some eye-opening results, none more so than Howard’s 43-40 road victory against FBS opponent Nevada-Las Vegas in Coach Mike London’s debut with the Bison.
The win was the first in program history for Howard against an FBS opponent. The 43 points for the Bison equaled their second-highest total in a game in the last 12 seasons. They also reached that number in a 53-43 loss to Delaware State in the 2010 season finale. Their highest point total in that period came in a 55-9 victory against Savannah State in 2015, their only win that season.
Howard, a 45-point underdog against UNLV, overpowered the Runnin’ Rebels with their running. They gained 449 total yards with 309 coming on the ground. Their running game enabled them to control the ball. Howard had a 32:30-27:30 edge in time of possession.
Freshman quarterback Caylin Newton, the younger brother of NFL quarterback Cam Newton, was the chief architect of the upset. Newton riddle UNLV’s defense for 330 yards total offense, 190 rushing and 140 passing. He ran for two touchdowns, including a 52-yard scamper for a score on the Bison’s first possession. His four-yard touchdown run with 7:34 provided the margin of victory as Howard rallied from a 33-21 third-quarter deficit after 21-19 at the half.
UNLV gouged Howard’s defense for 564 yards, including 344 on the ground. But Bison were opportunists. They recovered three fumbles and converted two of them into touchdowns.
Tuskegee 14, Alabama State 6 – It doesn’t matter when Tuskegee and Alabama State meet or what the game is called, the Golden Tigers seem to always have Alabama State’s number. The traditional intra-state foes Saturday resumed one of the oldest and fiercest rivalries in Black college football after a five-year hiatus, and you can file the results under the more things change, the more they remain the same as Tuskegee walked away with a 14-6 win on the Hornets’ home field. The teams squared of in their season-opener in the Labor Classic rather than in the regular season finale on Thanksgiving Day in the Turkey Day Classic as in the past, and the contest was played at night instead of in the afternoon.
None of that matter though as the Golden Tigers emerged with their sixth straight victory over the Hornets in the series that dates back to 1901. With the victory, Tuskegee has a 62-34-4 edge over Alabama State. Both teams struggled mightily the entire game, which was scoreless until late in the second quarter. Golden Tigers quarterback Jamarcus Ezell and Peyton Ramsey connected on a 55-yard throw and catch with 1:28 remaining in the half. The Golden Tigers built what proved to be an insurmountable 14-0 lead when cornerback Jonah McCutcheon returned an interception 46 yards for a touchdown with 10:57 left in the game.
Both teams squandered scoring opportunities. Hunter Hanson missed a 23-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter for Alabama State and he had a 19-yard try blocked in the second quarter. Dalton Hall misfired on a 34-yard attempt in the second period for Tuskegee. Alabama State finally scored with 2:54 remaining on a three-yard pass from quarterback Kobi Jones to Alex Anderson, but Hanson missed the extra point, and the Hornets were unable to recover the ensuing onside kick. Tuskegee won despite only generating 192 yards total offense.
Winston-Salem State 34, UNC Pembroke 31 – Running back Kerrion Moore ran roughshod in the second half to lead the Rams to an upset road victory that could shake up the NCAA Division II national rankings. UNC Pembroke was ranked No. 19 in preseason polls. Winston-Salem was unranked. Moore ran for 230 yards on 19 carries and scored three touchdowns. He gained 131 yards in the second half. Winston-Salem took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter as Moore scored on a 40-yard run and Farrell Murchison scored on a three-yard plunge.
The Rams led 20-0 at the half as quarterback Rod Tinsley and Canard Brown hooked up a 73-yard touchdown pass. UNC Pembroke battled back and cut the Rams’ lead to 27-24 early in the fourth quarter. However, Moore scampered 59 yards for a touchdown midway through the period to give the Winston-Salem some breathing room at 34-24. EJ Samson, who transferred to UNC Pembroke scored against his former team on a six-yard pass reception, and the Braves only trailed 34-31 following a two-point conversion. Winston-Salem’s defense made the lead stand up and the Rams came away a winner.
Albany State 29, Valdosta State – The Golden Rams stunned the Blazers, ranked No. 11 in Division II, thanks to a strong running game and a ball-hawking defense in Gabe Giardina’s first game as coach. It was only the second win for Albany State against Valdosta State in 19 games. The Golden Rams ran for 212 yards. McKinley Habersham leading all runners with 110 yards and allowed the Golden Rams to have a 10-minute advantage in time of possession.
Albany State’s defense came up with threw interceptions to stymie Valdosta State, which lost its season-opener for the first time since 2012. Albany State dominated the contest from the outset. Nick Scott returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown on the first series of the game. The Golden Rams led 23-0 midway through the fourth quarter.
Tennessee State 17, Georgia State 10 – Dajour Nesbeth’s interception in the final minute preserved the Tigers’ first victory as an FCS program against an FBS opponent. Tennessee State’s defense was largely responsible for the win, which came in Georgia State’s first game at the Georgia State Stadium (formerly Turner Field, former home of the Atlanta Braves). The Big Blue held Georgia State to 273 total yards, including 49 rushing.
Southern 14, S. C. State 8 – The Jaguars remained unbeaten in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge after thwarting a pair of fourth-quarter scoring threats by the Bulldogs. Danny Johnson batted down a pass at the goal line with 19 seconds left to preserve the win. Earlier on the drive, Jermaine Baxley got open behind the Southern secondary, but he dropped a pass from quarterback Duwan Ford inside the 10-yard line.
The Bulldogs squandered another scoring opportunity midway through the fourth quarter. They drove to Southern’s 27.They fumbled the ball on an attempted a trick play – a double-reverse – on first down and Montavius Gaines recovered it for Southern. Southern scored all of its points in the first half on a 27-yard run by Devon Benn in the first quarter and a six-yard run by quarterback Austin Howard in the second quarter. Howard left the game with a leg injury early in the fourth quarter after he was sacked and didn’t return.
Southern led 14-6 at the half after Tyler Scandrett kicked 37- and 35-yard field goals. The Bulldogs scored the only points of the second half on a blocked punt that resulted in a safety. Southern is now 3-0 in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. The Jaguars are the only SWAC team that has a victory in the series. South Carolina State is 3-1. The MEAC leads the series 10-3.
Arkansas 49, Florida A&M 7
Delaware 22, Delaware State 3
Duke 60, N.C. Central 7
Miami (Fla) 41, Bethune-Cookman 13
N.C. A&T 45, Gardner-Webb 3
Ohio 59, Hampton 0
Towson 10, Morgan State 0
Alabama-Birmingham 38, Ala. A&M 7
Alcorn State 50, Miles 21
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 28, Morehouse 10
North Dakota State 72, Miss. Valley State 7
TCU 63, Jackson State 0
Tulane 44, Grambling State 14
Bowie State 48, Seton Hill 7
Catawba 49, Saint Augustine’s 0
Elizabeth City State 34, Central State 23
Fayetteville State 24, Chowan 21
LIU-Post 42, Virginia Union 13
New Haven 31, Shaw 20
Virginia State 14, Norfolk State 10
Wingate 38, Johnson C. Smith 18
Benedict 28, Livingstone 15
Clark Atlanta 32, Mississippi College 29
Lane 40, Texas College 20
Slippery Rock 42, Kentucky State 21
West Georgia 34, Fort Valley State 9
Cheyney 56, Lincoln (Pa.) 28
Florida Tech 44, Virginia-Lynchburg 0
Langston 30, Lincoln (Mo.) 14
West Va. State 51, University of Charleston 28
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