ORLANDO, Florida â€“ Hampton defeated Jackson State 17-13 in the 2008 MEAC/SWAC Challenge played Sunday, August 31 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The win gives the MEAC a 3-1 series lead in the four-year challenge series.
For Hampton (1-0), QB Herbert Bynes â€“ named Hampton Most Outstanding Player â€“ finished the game completing 14-of-23 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown. RB Dennis Mathis rushed 15 times for 47 yards while WR Justin Brown caught four passes for 49 yards. Wakeem Goode led the Pirates with 11 tackles (three solo).
For Jackson State (0-1), QB Trae Rutland finished going 14-for-23 for 198 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also led the Tigers in rushing with nine carries for 39 yards. WR Keenan Tillman caught five passes for 59 yards while WR Carlos Simpson had four receptions for 75 yards. LB Marcellus Speaks led the Tigersâ€™ defensive effort with 12 tackles (4.0 tackles for loss) and two forced fumbles. Speaks was named JSU Most Outstanding Player of the game.
After holding Hampton to no score on the opening possession, Jackson State marched 89 yards on nine plays, capping the drive with a 32-yard pass play from Rutland to Rodney Gray. Both teams would struggle for the remainder of the half, with Hampton getting on the board with a 43-yard field goal by Carlos Turavani to end the first half.
A 1-yard plunge by Jerry Cummings gave the Pirates a 10-7 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the third period. The Pirates would push the lead to ten on a Bynes to Jeremy Gilchrist pass early in the fourth period.
The Tigers would continue to fight as backup QB Michael Mosely found Rashad Smith for a 10-yard touchdown completion with eight minutes remaining. JSU would get the ball back, but could not convert on a late fourth-down opportunity with under two minutes remaining in regulation.
While the game started off slow for both teams, Jackson State outgained Hampton offensively 336 to 227. Hampton overcame nine penalties for 126 yards in the game while Jackson State fell victim to an interception and two lost fumbles.
The Tigers now turn their attention to Stillman College in the inaugural W.C. Gordon Classic in their 2008 home opener. The Pirates will travel to Carbondale to face the Salukies of Southern Illinois.