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The 4th annual Whitewater Classic was billed as preview of the SIAC Championship game with East Division preseason favorite Albany State taking on Tuskegee, the West favorite, in a matchup of Division II Top 25 teams. But what was supposed to be a marquee matchup ended up being a mismatch as No. 20 Albany State thrashed the Golden Tigers, No. 22, 20-7 in Phenix City, Ala., for its second consecutive victory against a Division II Top 25 opponent.

The Golden Rams opened the season with a 29-12 victory over No. 11 Valdosta State. The win for Albany State (2-0, 1-0 SIAC) ended a five-game losing streak against Tuskegee (1-1, 0-1 SIAC).

Albany State controlled the game with its methodical, balanced offense, which produced 459 yards and had a time of possession of 43 minutes, 56 seconds. Redshirt freshman quarterback Chancellor Johnson was 20 of 21 passing and gained 209 yards through the air. Johnson threw three touchdowns. He completed his first 15 attempts. Running back McKinley Habersham bullied his way for 144 yards with most of them coming between the tackles. Kelan Fraise chipped in with 80.

Meanwhile, Tuskegee’s offense was stuck in reverse as it was ineffective for the second consecutive week. The Golden Tigers could only muster 119 total yards after generating 192 in their opening win against Alabama State. They only managed two first downs against Albany State, one on in the first quarter on Hoderick Lowe’s 71-yard touchdown run at the 5:59 mark that gave them a 7-0 lead and one in the fourth quarter.

Johnson threw two second-quarter touchdown passes that capped a pair of long, time-consuming drives to put Albany State on top 13-7 at the half. Johnson’s first scoring pass was a 13-yard toss to Jalen Bush. The score ended a 12-play, 87-yard drive that consumed 7 minutes, 58 seconds. He connected with Quadrey Simmons on a 21-yard strike as the Golden Rams moved the ball 78 yards in 16 plays while taking 9:17 off the clock.

Albany State iced the win on Johnson’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Mike Green with 18 seconds left in the third quarter.

Key Games

Bethune-Cookman 28, SE Louisiana 23 – If the Wildcats aren’t doing back flips following their come-from-behind road victory, it’s because they have more pressing issues on their minds in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Bethune-Cookman interim President Hubert Grimes Tuesday shut down the school and ordered that the campus be evacuated. The football team remained on campus and flew to Louisiana Friday for its game in Hammond on Saturday. The Wildcats’ 145-person traveling party is scheduled to in Baton Rouge, La., until Tuesday when it will return to Daytona Beach.

The team’s return is contingent on the conditions in Daytona Beach at that time. “We’re on hold right now,’’ said Bethune-Cookman Athletic Director Lynn Thompson. Thompson, who is an ordained minister, conducted church service for the Wildcats at the team’s hotel Sunday. The squad practiced at Southern University, where former Bethune-Cookman assistant coach Dawson Odums is head coach.

Dillard University offered to provide food for the Bethune-Cookman entourage, and Southeastern Louisiana officials also offered assistance. A number of team members and coaches are from the Tampa area, which was expected to be hit hard by Irma. Thompson said “a major concern is that many of our kids may not have anything to go back home to.’’ Thompson also said that numerous parents have called to thank him for the decision to play the game because doing so took team members “out of harm’s way. They would have been trying to get back home. They know (their kids) are safe.’’

The status of the Wildcats next game, a road contest against Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, is unclear. Boca Raton was also in Irma’s path. Florida Atlantic played at Wisconsin Saturday and remained in Madison. Quarterback Larry Brihm Jr. engineered two fourth-quarter scoring drives to lead the Wildcats to victory. Brihm’s two-yard touchdown pass to Jawill Davis gave the Wildcats (1-1) a 21-16 lead with 11 minutes remaining in the game.

However, Juwan Petit-Frere returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown to put Southeastern Louisiana ahead 23-21. Brihm responded by taking the Wildcats 72 yards in 11 plays to regain the lead with 6:04 left. Brihm finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown run, throwing for 354 yards and two touchdowns. Davis had seven receptions for 138 yards, and Keavon Mitchell caught six passes for 125 yards.

Bowie State 31, Winston-Salem State 13 – The Bulldogs avenged last year’s 43-33 loss to the Rams in the CIAA Championship Game with a road victory in a potential preview of the 2017 conference title game. Both teams are picked to win their respective conference crowns. Running back Robert Chesson rushed for 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns on runs of two and 19 yards for Bowie State (2-0). The Bulldogs led 24-0 in the third quarter. Defensive back Taylor Johnson scored Bowie State’s final points when he returned a fumble recovery 85 yards for a touchdown with 6:48 remaining in the game. Winston-Salem (1-1) was ranked No. 19 in Division II after upsetting previous No. 19 UNC Pembroke in its season opener

 Tenn. State 17, Jackson State 15 – Patrick Smith’s 58-yard punt return for a touchdown with just over five minutes sealed a win for the Big Blue in the 28th Southern Heritage Classic at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. Smith’s touchdown gave Tennessee State (2-0) a 17-9 lead. Jackson State (0-2) matched Smith’s score with when Terrell Kennedy returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown.

Laquarius Cook broke up a pass on Jackson State’s two-point conversion attempt to keep the Big Blue ahead. Jackson State attempted a 47-yard field goal with two seconds remaining, but Christian Jacquemin’s kick was wide right as time expired. The win was the sixth in a row for Tennessee State against Jackson State and gives the Big Blue a 17-11 edge in the Southern Heritage Classic. The game was played in front of a crowd of 47,407.

Grambling State 23, Northwestern State 10 – The one-two punch of quarterback Devante Kincade and running back Martez Carter led the Tigers to a home victory. Kincaid threw for 231 yards and one touchdown, a 24-yard hookup with Darrell Clark, and Carter ran for 138 yards, including a two-yard touchdown run on Grambling’s first possession. The G-Men (1-1) held Northwestern State to 42 rushing yards and forced two turnovers.

Other Results:

MEAC

Albany 26, Morgan State 0

Appalachian State 54, Savannah State 7

Hampton 28, Delaware State 15

Kent State 38, Howard 31

North Carolina A&T 56, Mars Hill 0

North Carolina Central 41, Shaw 0

South Carolina State vs. Charleston Southern, postponed (Hurricane Irma)

William & Mary 20, Norfolk State 6

SWAC

Akron 52, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 3

Florida International 17, Alcorn State 10

Houston Baptist 24, Texas Southern 17

Sam Houston State 44, Prairie View A&M 31

Southern Illinois 56, Miss. Valley State 3

Southern Miss. 45, Southern U. 0

Troy 34, Ala. State 7

Vanderbilt 42, Ala. A&M 0

CIAA

Carson-Newman 41, Saint Augustine’s 14

Delta State 42, Chowan 13

Kentucky Wesleyan 33, Livingstone 13

UNC Pembroke 66, Elizabeth City State 14

Virginia State 44, Johnson C. Smith 6

Virginia Union 31, Newberry 23

Wingate 31, Fayetteville State 21

SIAC

Clark Atlanta 55, Central State 14

Fort Valley vs. Valdosta State, cancelled (Hurricane Irma)

Limestone 20, Benedict 17, OT

McKendree 50, Kentucky State 0

Morehouse 24, Lane 10

West Georgia 45, Miles 7

 

Others

 Bluefield 19, Edward Waters 0,

California (Pa.) 54, Cheyney 14

Hardin Simmons 74, Texas College 0

Langston 41, Lyon College 14

Virginia-Wise 34, West Va. State 24

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