Tuskegee stormed back from a14-point third-quarter deficit Saturday to defeat Miles 48-33 in Fairfield, Ala., and win the SIAC West Division championship. It was the eighth straight victory for the Golden Tigers (8-2, 7-0), who will play Albany State in the SIAC Championship Game next Saturday in Montgomery, Ala. The win avenged Tuskegee’s 41-36 home loss to Miles last season that cost the Golden Tigers the division title.
Tuskegee took an early 3-0 lead on Trevor Wylie’s 36-yard field goal with 10:32 left in the first period. After finding themselves on the short end of a 27-13 score at 9:51 of the third quarter, the Golden Tigers used a punishing running game and a big play in the kicking game to get the win.
The Golden Tigers, who scored 22 points in the fourth quarter ran for 274 yards and averaged 6.7 per rushing attempt. Hoderick Lowe started the Golden Tigers’ comeback with a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that made the score 27-20 after Mike Christiansons’ 42-yard field goal had given the Golden Bears (6-4, 5-2) a 14-point lead. It was the second of three touchdowns for Lowe of the game.
He had a 43-yard scoring run in the second quarter and a 48-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter en route to gaining a career-high 150 yards on the ground. Lowe finished the game with 254 all-purpose yards.
“What a night. He doesn’t ever seem to get tired either,” Tuskegee coach Willie Slater said. “He’s kind of like a deer. You put him right back out there and he’ll run it again. He had a heck of a night.”
Michael J. Thornton complemented Lowe with 79 yards on just 10 carries, and he scored three touchdowns. Thornton’s 10-yard touchdown run at 3:45 of the third period cut Miles’ lead to a point, 27-26. Lowe’s 48-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion put the Golden Tigers on top 34-27. Miles answered Tuskegee’s touchdown with a seven-yard touchdown run by quarterback Demetric Price.
However, the Golden Tigers blocked Christianson’s extra point to preserve the lead. Thornton sealed the victory for the Golden Tigers with a pair of late touchdowns on runs of 33 and one yards.
It was the third time in the last three years that this matchup has decided the East Division champion with the visiting team winning each time.
Alcorn State 41, Alabama A&M 14 – Quarterback John Gibbs Jr. rushed for 155 yards and scored two touchdowns as the Braves clinched their first SWAC Eastern Division championship with a road victory. Gibbs scored on runs of 58 and 31 yards as the Braves (8-2, 6-1 SWAC) raced to a 35-0 lead. Alcorn, the highest scoring team in the FCS (45.1 points a game) broke the game open with 21-points in the second quarter. Alcorn held Alabama A&M (4-6, 3-4 SWAC) to just 16 yards rushing, intercepted Bulldogs quarterbacks three times and had seven sacks. The Braves didn’t allow Alabama A&M to cross midfield until midway through the second period, and the Bulldogs only ran five plays on Alcorn’s side of the 50-yard line in the first half. The Braves won despite going 0-for-10 on third down conversions and trailing in time of possession by more than 16 minutes.
Alabama State 26, Jackson State 10 – The Hornets came alive in the second half for a win in a game that featured a pair of embattled coaches and was marred by a wild melee between the teams before the start of the third quarter. The victory for the Hornets (5-5, 5-4 SWAC), which snapped a four-game losing streak, ended a bad week for Coach Reggie Barlow. Athletic Director Melvin Hines asked for Barlow’s resignation on Tuesday even though Barlow was given a contract extension prior to the season. Alabama State, ahead 3-0 at the half, scored on four of its first five possessions in the third quarter. The Hornets scoring came on the heels of fight between the teams that erupted as Jackson State started warming up in the Alabama State end zone while the Hornet band was finishing its halftime performance on the field. Four players, two from each team, were ejected.
The loss was the fifth in a row for Jackson State under first-year coach Harold Jackson, the former All-Pro wide receiver who is one of Jackson State’s all-time greats. Jackson has come under fire from alumni, who have been circulating a petition via e-mail – with the subject line “I Have Seen Enough’’ – calling for the firing Jackson and Athletic Director Vivian Fuller.
North Carolina A&T 45, Morgan State 0 – The Aggies rolled to an easy home victory to retain a share of the MEAC lead while knocking the Bears out of what had been a five-team tie for the top spot in the conference. Quarterback Kwashaun Quick threw for a career-high 249 yards and four touchdowns for the Aggies (8-2, 5-1 MEAC), who are No. 1 in the Black College rankings and tied with South Carolina State and Bethune-Cookman for first place in the MEAC. The Aggies’ defense stopped Morgan State (5-5, 4-2 MEAC) three times after the Bears reached the red zone.
Bethune-Cookman 13, Norfolk State 7 – The Wildcats relied on their defense for a hard-fought road victory Thursday night and remain tied for a share of the MEAC lead. The Wildcats (7-2, 5-1 MEAC) registered two safeties, both by defensive tackle Rony Barrow, and held Norfolk State (4-6, 4-2 MEAC) to three first downs. The Spartans, who had been one of five teams tied for the conference lead before the loss, only generated 63 total yards. Their defense limited Bethune-Cookman to 217 yards and forced three turnovers.
Virginia State 33, Virginia Union 12 – The Trojans captured their second consecutive CIAA Northern Division title with a stellar defensive effort in a road victory against their archrival. Virginia State (8-2, 7-0 CIAA) came up with six turnovers, including four pass interceptions, and held Virginia Union (7-3, 5-2 CIAA) to just 88 yards rushing. The Trojans will face three-time CIAA champion Winston-Salem State in the conference championship game. Their matchup in last year’s title was called off following a bathroom fight during a luncheon the day before the game when Winston-Salem quarterback Rudy Johnson was attacked by Virginia State players.
Howard 51, Savannah State 21
North Carolina Central 47, Hampton 13
South Carolina State 34, Florida A&M 17
Grambling State 38, Mississippi Valley State 13
Prairie View A&M 51, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 23