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Few if any of the 65,906 fans who made their way into Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., Saturday afternoon knew who knew who Nathaniel Dell was before the 77th Magic City Classic  kicked off. But by the time the game ended, the freshman wide receiver from Daytona Beach, Fla., was all anyone could talk about.

Dell lit up Alabama State for 204 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just six catches to lead Alabama A&M to a 27-13 victory over arch SWAC rival Alabama State. Dell, who has been hampered by injuries most of the season, entered the contest with six catches for 95 yards in three games.

“Like my teammates say, I’m always open,’’ Dell said following his breakout performance. “To have a game like this, on a stage likes this, that’s what it’s all about,” Dell said. “These are the kind of games you sign up for.’’

Dell staked Alabama A&M (4-3, 3-2 SWAC) to a 7-0 lead when he got behind the Alabama State secondary for a 56-yard touchdown reception. He scored again in the third quarter when he caught a short pass from Aqeel Glass and sprinted 81 yards to the end zone to give the Bulldogs a 20-10 lead.

“Our guy is a playmaker,’’ Glass said. “Get the ball in his hands, and more times than not, he’s going have a chance to break a big play.’’

Glass completed 17 of 30 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns as Alabama A&M gained 463 total yards.

Alabama State squandered a pair of early scoring opportunities. The Hornets drove to Alabama A&M’s six yard line on their opening possession after holding the Bulldogs to three-and-out. However, a third-and-goal pass into the end zone was incomplete and Hunter Hanson missed a 24-yard field goal attempt.

Later in the first period, the Hornets drove to Alabama A&M’s 10, On third down quarterback KHA’Darris Davis kept the ball to the one yard line, where he fumbled while trying to reach the ball into the end zone. The Bulldogs recovered.

Alabama A&M  never trailed in the contest as first-year coach Connell Maynor came away a winner in his Magic City Classic debut.

“Since the day I got here, the one thing I’ve heard more than anything else is just how important the Classic is,’’ Maynor said. “This game is a big deal, so to see our players celebrate this victory tonight is huge. I’m proud for our team.’’

KEY RESULTS

Central State 40, Tuskegee 36 – The Marauders defeated the Golden Tigers for the first time since 1948 and ended the defending SIAC champions’ 15-game conference road winning streak. Tuskegee (5-4, 3-2 SIAC) squandered a 14-point third-quarter lead and trailed 33-28 entering the fourth quarter after quarterback Trent Mays hit Kevin Greenhow with a 32-yard touchdown pass with 1:07 left in the third quarter.

Tuskegee regained the lead, 36-33, on quarterback Ahmad Deramas’ 13-yard touchdown pass to Javarrius Cheatham at the 8:59 mark and Justice Owens’ two-point conversion.  The lead was short-lived, however. It took Central State (4-5, 2-3 SIAC) just two plays to score what proved to be the winning points as Mays connected with running back Terraris Saffold on a 68-yard touchdown pass.

Mays finished with the game with a career-best 376 passing yards and three touchdowns. Deramus had a career high 300 passing yards and three touchdowns for Tuskegee. The Golden Tigers entered the contest ranked No. 6 in Division II in total defense, having allowed 241 yards a game. The Marauders shredded the Golden Tigers for 435 yards.

Albany State 21, Benedict 0 – The Golden Rams clinched the SIAC East championship with a road victory while extending their winning streak to six consecutive games. Albany State (6-3, 5-0 SIAC) will play the winner of this weekend’s Tuskegee-Miles game in the SIAC Championship Game on Nov. 10. Albany State, No. 10 in the NCAA Division II Super Region Two, held its opponent without a touchdown for the second straight game.

The Golden Rams held Benedict (5-3, 3-2 SIAC) to 169 total yards. Albany State grabbed a 14-0 first quarter lead on a Kalias Williams’ 26-yard touchdown pass to Eric Crawford and a 13-yard run by Williams; Williams’ second touchdown pass of the game in the second quarter put the game out of reach.

Alcorn State 27, Prairie View A&M 13 – The Braves were Homecoming spoilers once again as the SWAC East leaders knocked of the Panthers and sent their alums home disappointed. It was the third Homecoming win for Alcorn State (7-2, 5-1 SWAC). The Braves also defeated Alabama A&M and Southern on their Homecoming. Alcorn’s defense did a number of Prairie View (3-5, 2-2 SWAC).

The Braves limited the Panthers to 235 yards total offense – including only 61 on the ground; they also sacked quarterback Jalen Morton five times, intercepted him twice and held the Panthers without a touchdown. Prairie View’s only touchdown came on Bernard Good’s 81-yard kickoff return that gave the Panthers a 10-7 lead in the first quarter.

Alcorn overpowered Prairie View with its running game. Running back De’Shawn Waller gained 120 yards on 20 carries as the Braves piled up 249 yards on the ground. Quarterback Noah Johnson added 81 on 12 carries.

Grambling 45, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 38, OT – The G-Men stayed alive in the SWAC West championship race with a home overtime win. The lead changed hands 10 times before Marc Orozco kicked a 20-yard field goal for Grambling (4-4, 2-2 SWAC) with 46 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime. Geremy Hickbottom connected with Darrell Clark on a 25-yard touchdown on the first play in overtime to give Grambling its final lead. Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s bid to send the game into a second overtime period failed when Skyler Perry’s apparent seven-yard pass to Kolby McNeal was overturned by the replay officials.

The Golden Lions (1-7, 0-4 SWAC) had kept the drive alive thanks to a pass interference penalty against Grambling. Taeylor Porter was the offensive star of the game. Porter rushed for 238 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. Grambling escaped with the win despite allowing 478 total yards and being penalized 11 times for 200 yards.

Fayetteville State 45, Livingstone 7 – The Broncos clinched the CIAA South Division title with a Homecoming victory. Fayetteville State (6-1, 5-0 CIAA) rolled up 410 yards total offense. Livingstone (2-6, 0-5 CIAA) only managed 129 total yards, including 35 on the ground. Fayetteville’s Collyn Anderson completed 13 of 23 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns.

OTHER RESULTS

 MEAC

Nebraska 45, Bethune-Cookman 9

Delaware State 28, North Carolina Central 13

Florida A&M 38, Morgan State 3

Savannah State 32, Norfolk State 3

South Carolina State 27, Howard 21

SWAC

Southern 41, Jackson State 7

Texas Southern 42, Mississippi Valley State 14

CIAA

Bowie State 31, Lincoln (Pa.) 14

Chowan 45, Virginia State 38

Johnson C. Smith 31, Saint Augustine’s 3

Shaw 26, Winston-Salem State 21

Virginia Union 53, Elizabeth City State 0

SIAC

Fort Valley State 27, Morehouse 22

Lane 34, Kentucky State 23

Miles 38, Clark Atlanta 17

OTHERS

Fairmont State 41, West Virginia State 12

Hampton 51, Virginia-Lynchburg 28

Langston 64, Texas College 45

Missouri S&T 45, Lincoln (Mo.) 7

Southeastern 44, Edward Waters 0

TOP PERFORMANCES

 

  • Hampton QB Delmon Williams completed 24 of 30 passes for 371 yards and three TDs.
  • Chowan QB Bryce Witt had 350 yards total offense – 136 and 234 passing – and accounted for five TDs.
  • Johnson C. Smith QB Antonio Wallace completed 22 of 33 passes for 332 yards and two TDs.
  • Bowie State QB Amir Hall completed 24 of 42 passes for 306 yards and four TDs.
  • Virginia Union RB Tabyus Taylor rushed for 231 yards and four TDs on 24 carries.
  • Hampton RB Will Robinson rushed for 165 yards and two TDs on 21 carries.
  • Texas Southern WR Bobby Hartzog had nine catches for 148 yards and two TDs.
  • Florida A&M RB Deshawn Smith rushed for 116 yards and one TD on 14 carries.
  • Howard RB Dedrick Park rushed for 112 yards and two TDs on 13 carries.
  • Howard QB Caylin Newton rushed for 109 yards on 17 carries.
  • Bethune-Cookman WR Steffon Francois had three receptions for 105 yards and one TD.
  • Hampton WR Byron Barney caught seven passes for 108 yards and one TD

 

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