Alabama A&M Upsets Rivals at Magic City Classic
Written by Roscoe Nance, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com Monday, 31 October 2011 05:28
Alabama A&M flipped the script on top-ranked Alabama State in the 70th Magic City Classic Saturday in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Hornets came into the game leading the nation in turnovers forced. But it was Alabama A&M that won the turnover battle – and the game – at Legion Field. The Bulldogs, who have a six-game winning streak, had three takeaways and came away with a 20-19 victory that puts them in control of the race for SWAC East Division championship.
Alabama A&M (6-2, 5-1 SWAC) can win the division title by winning its remaining games against Alcorn State, Jackson State and Prairie View A&M. Alabama State (6-2, 6-1), which would have clinched the division title with a win against Alabama A&M, has to beat Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff and have the Bulldogs lose at least once to win the division and a return trip to Legion Field for the SWAC Championship Game on Dec. 10.
“All that does is keeps us in control of our destiny," Alabama A&M coach Anthony Jones said. “This thing is a long way from over. We’ve got a tough row to hoe. There’s still a lot of work to be done."
Alabama A&M controlled the contest with its running game, piling up 281 yards on the ground. Junior running back Kaderius Lacey, the game’s MVP, had a career-high 189 yards on 38 carries.
“We punished them running the football and jumped out on top," Jones said. “Our defense took over after that, but they made some plays, but we were able to hang on for the victory."
Alabama A&M jumped out to an 17-0 lead in the first half, with the help of Alabama State turnovers. Chance Wilson booted a 19-yard field goal on the Bulldogs’ first possession. Later in the period, Terrence Pride scored on 17-yard pass on the Bulldogs’ first play after Melvin Payne recovered a fumble by Hornets backup quarterback Devin Dominguez, who gave the ball up when Tim Tillman sacked him.
Dominguez entered after starting quarterback Greg Jenkins, on the Hornets’ second offensive series, aggravated a hip injury that he suffered earlier in the season.
Lacey made the score 17-0 when he scored on a 17-yard run that capped a 13-play, 69-yard drive.
The Hornets battled back in the second half. Bobby Wenzig kicked field goals of 48 and 46 yards in the third quarter to make the score 17-6. After Chance kicked a 22-yard field to push the Bulldogs’ lead to 20-6, Dominguez scored on a one-yard run.
Dominguez, who completed 15 of 30 passes for 206 yards and rushed for 82 yards in relief of Jenkins, got the Hornets in position to tie the game. Dominguez scored on a 59-yard run with 10:18 left in the fourth quarter. However, Wenzig, who missed a 46-yard field goal in the first quarter and had a 43-yarder blocked in the third quarter, had the extra point blocked. That left the Hornets down 20-19.
Alabama State’s offense was under pressure the entire game. The Bulldogs sacked Hornets quarterbacks four times and held their running game to just 84 yards, in addition to forcing the three turnovers.
“We had to come up with a terrific effort to beat the No. 1 team in black college football, and we did that," Jones said.
In addition to being No. 1 in the Black College polls, Alabama State was No. 16 in the FCS. The loss was the first for the Hornets against an FCS team this season. It also ended their streak of nine straight regular season SWAC victories that dated back to last season and their five-game winning streak this season.
“We didn't do a good job of getting these guys ready to go," Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow said. “We had everything in front of us, and we didn't take advantage of it. We just picked a bad time to have our worst game. It's an awful thing to play your worst game in the Magic City Classic, which is the biggest game of the year, but we've got to go back to the drawing table and encourage these guys that it's not over."
The only bright spot for Alabama State was the performance of senior receiver Nick Andrews. He had nine catches for 134 yards to become the Hornets' career leader for receiving yards with 2,563 yards. He surpassed Barlow, who had 2,536 yards for the Hornets from 1992-95. Andrews also holds the career records for receptions (187) and receiving touchdowns (26).
Norfolk State 14, North Carolina A&T 10: Norfolk State’s defense stood tall as the Spartans emerged with a homecoming victory in a showdown between MEAC teams with one conference loss apiece. The Spartans (7-2, 5-1) had a season-high seven quarterback sacks, and they broke up three North Carolina A&T passes in the end zone in the final 45 seconds after the Aggies had the ball with first-and-10 at Norfolk State’s 13-yard line. The victory keeps Norfolk State in first place in the MEAC, a half game ahead of Morgan State. Norfolk State’s defense held Aggies running back Mike Mayhew to 83 yards on 25 carries.
Grambling State 27, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 20: The G-Men stayed alive in the SWAC West championship victory with a come-from-behind road victory. The win for Grambling (4-4, 3-3 SWAC) coupled with Jackson State’s 44-14 victory against Prairie View A&M leaves the G-Men, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (4-4, 3-3 SWAC) and Prairie View (4-4, 4-3 SWAC) each with three conference losses. Edward Patterson returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown with 2:25 left in the game to seal the victory for Grambling, which trailed 14-0 in the first quarter.
Miles 9, Stillman 7: The Golden Bears used a stifling defense to come up with a road victory and clinch the SIAC West Division title and a berth in the inaugural conference championship game in Atlanta on Nov. 12. Miles (6-3, 5-1 SIAC) held Stillman (6-3, 4-2 SIAC) to 210 total yards and came up with three interceptions, two of them coming in the fourth quarter.
Miss. Valley State 12, Texas Southern 9: The Delta Devils ended their 19-game losing streak with a homecoming victory against the reigning SWAC champions. The Delta Devils (1-8, 1-7 SWAC) sealed the victory when they intercepted a pass with 35 seconds left in the game. Both teams were ineffective on offense as neither gained 200 total yards. Mississippi Valley had 101; Texas Southern gained 165 yards. The Delta Devils were penalized 11 times while the Tigers were 2-for-15 on third down conversions.
Albany State 37, Benedict 13
Bacone 45, Texas College 0
Bethune-Cookman 34, NC Central 6
Central Missouri 49, Lincoln (Mo.) 6
Central State 36, Kentucky Wesleyan 0
East Stroudsburg 10, Cheyney 6
Elizabeth City State 26, Chowan 9
Fayetteville State 44, Johnson C. Smith 23
Grambling State 27, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 20
Hampton 22, Savannah State 5
Jackson State 44, Prairie View A&M 14
Kentucky State 17, Lane 6
Morehouse 49, Fort Valley State 12
Morgan State 12, Delaware State 0
Norfolk State 14, North Carolina A&T 10
South Carolina State 31, Howard 0
Saint Augustine's 45, Livingstone 14
Shepherd 38, Bowie State 17
Shorter 44, Edward Waters 21
Southern 30, Alcorn State 14
Tuskegee 24, Clark Atlanta 3
Virginia State 39, Virginia Union 14
Virginia University of Lynchburg 18, Lincoln (Pa.) 2
West Virginia Wesleyan 42, West Virginia State 6
Winston-Salem State 21, Shaw 14
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