“Just win, baby’’ was the mantra of Al Davis, the late owner of the Oakland Raiders, and it pretty much sums up Tuskegee coach Willie Slater’s sentiment after his Golden Tigers escaped with a hard-fought 24-17 SIAC road win against winless Clark Atlanta Saturday night.
The Golden Tigers (2-1) were guilty of enough miscues to cost them the victory. They gave up a safety, lost a pair of fumbles – one on Clark’s goal line and one that was returned for a touchdown – and they committed numerous mental gaffes.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it,’’ Slater. “We were our worst enemy, but we kept fighting back.’’
The Golden Tigers spotted Clark an 8-0 lead after the Panthers (0-3) took the opening kickoff and drove 71 yards on nine plays for a touchdown and made a two-point conversion. Quarterback Charles Stafford was 4-for-4 passing for 46 yards on the drive. Clark was aided by a 15-yard personal foul penalty against Tuskegee on third down after the Golden Tigers had denied the Panthers a first down.
Tuskegee’s defense regrouped after the first series and didn’t allow any points the rest of the game.
“They caught us by surprise with some of the things they were doing,’’ Slater said. “We had to make some adjustments.’’
The Golden Tigers had to adjust their offense as well going into the game. Junior quarterback Ahmad Deramus made his third career start, replacing Jamarcus Ezell. Ezell underwent season-ending shoulder surgery earlier in the after he was injured last week against Albany State.
Deramus had an up-and-down performance. He completed 10 of 17 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns. But he also lost a fumble on a first-and-goal play at the Clark one yard line when the Golden Tigers were in position take a two touchdown lead. In addition Deramus was sacked three times. At least twice he was out of the pocket and could have avoided being sack had he thrown the ball away.
“He’s our guy,’’ Slater said. “He had some big plays, and he had some bonehead plays. We’ve got to iron out the bonehead plays. He’s a winner. We got to make sure we don’t put him in situations he can’t handle.’’
The Golden Tigers didn’t lead until Deramus came up with on of the big plays Slater referred to. He connected Peyton Ramzy on 55-yard touchdown with 8:16 left in the game. The score gave Tuskegee its first lead of the contest, 24-17, and provided the margin of victory. Earlier Deramus found Javarrius Cheatham for a 42-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the first half that tied the score 10-10.
Jackson State 18, Florida A&M 16 – Special teams rose to the occasion Tallahassee, Fla., as the Tigers claimed an inter-conference victory for their fist win of the season. Christian Jacquemin booted four field goals, and Khalil Johnson blocked a 30-yard Florida A&M attempt with four minutes left in the game that would have given the Rattlers (1-2) the lead. Florida A&M gained 463 total yards – 340 passing – but the Rattlers only put the ball in the end zone twice. Their other points came on a 98-yard point after touchdown return by Terry Jefferson. Jackson State (1-1) forced three fumbles to help keep the Rattlers at bay.
Fort Valley State 21, Miles 19 – The Wildcats worked some fourth-quarter magic to pull out an SIAC road win – their first victory of the season – in Birmingham, Ala. Quarterback Slade Jarman found Jaylen Lowder along the right side line with 21 seconds left in the game to give Fort Valley (1-2) the win. The scoring drive consumed 6 minutes, 5 seconds and covered 65 yards. The Wildcats’ first lead came with 7:25 remaining in the fourth quarter when Lorenzo Smothers scored on a six-yard run that put Fort Valley on Top 14-13. Miles (0-3) responded with a five-play, 80-yard that gave the Golden Bears a 19-14 lead after their two-point conversion attempt failed.
Bowie State 47, McKendree 41 – The Bulldogs built a 22-point first half lead and coasted to a road victory in Lebanon, Ill. Quarterback Amir Hall threw for 352 yards and pair of touchdowns for the Bulldogs (2-1). Hall completed 41 of his 52 throws. He also ran for 95 yards and two scores. Bowie State led 35-13 at the half.
Hurricane Florence wreaked havoc on the Black College Football schedule, causing 11 games to be postponed or cancelled. MEAC had three games involving five conference members postponed. The Thursday night ESPN matchup featuring North Carolina Central at South Carolina State was postponed until Nov. 24. South Carolina State President shutdown the campus and sent students home on Monday ahead of the storm. Howard’s home game against Savannah State was postponed. No makeup date has been announced.
Norfolk State’s contest at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., has been tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 1, pending Norfolk State postseason status. If the Spartans win the conference championship and the accompanying berth in the Celebration bowl or qualify for the FCS playoffs, the contest will be cancelled.
The CIAA was hit hardest with six games involving 10 schools being cancelled. Tennessee State’s contest at Hampton was cancelled and will not be rescheduled. It is the second consecutive week that weather has wiped out a Big Blue contest. Its game against Jackson State on Sept. 8 was cancelled due to lightning. Allen’s game at Brevard (N.C.) was also cancelled.
Florida Atlantic 49, Bethune-Cookman 28
Jackson State 18, Florida A&M 16
Albany 30, Morgan State 27
Western Michigan 68, Delaware State
Alcorn State 27, Texas Southern
Cincinnati 49, Alabama A&M 7
Kennesaw State 62, Alabama State 13
UNLV 46, Prairie View A&M 17
Southern 33, Langston 18
South Dakota State 90, Mississippi Valley State 0
Bowie State 47, McKendree 41
Clarion 44, Lincoln (Pa.) 7
Fort Valley State 21, Miles 19
Kentucky Wesleyan 19, Kentucky State 13
West Georgia 45, Albany State 21
Newberry 27, Virginia-Lynchburg 14
Notre Dame (Ohio) 33, West Virginia State 31
Texas Wesleyan 36, Texas College 7
Wisconsin-Oshkosh 17, Lincoln (Mo,) 7
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