Pine Bluff, Ark. – It wasn’t pretty, but Alabama A&M will take it. The Bulldogs opened SWAC play on the road Saturday and came away from Arkansas-Pine Bluff with a hard-fought 23-17 victory. A&M scored all its points in the first half, building a 23-10 cushion by the intermission, and then held on for the second straight victory of the season. Ulysses Banks and Anthony Green each rushed for a touchdown, and Nate Baxter caught his first score of the season. Jeremy Licea made his eighth straight field goal to begin the season.
On a night when first-year starting quarterback Keving Atkins looked like a rookie at times throwing three interceptions, the A&M defense was stingy all game long. UAPB’s Mickey Dean entered the game leading the SWAC in rushing and left with just three yards to his credit.Â The Golden Lions managed just 133 total yards in what was by far the best defensive effort of the season for the Bulldogs. Alabama A&M scored just before the end of the first quarter (or so we think). Neither the game clock or play clock was functioning in the stadium, so time was kept on the field.Â Officially, though, Banks gave A&M the lead with a one-yard run with :50 to play in the first. Green answered a UAPB field goal with a 20-yard touchdown runÂ at the 12 minute mark of theÂ first half.Â Five minutes later, BaxterÂ hauledÂ in a six-yard score from Atkins to make the scoreÂ 20-3.
TheÂ Lions’ lone big play of the night against the BulldogÂ defense came with just over three minutes to play in the half, a 57-yard touchdown pass that cut the A&M lead to 20-10.Â However, without the aid of a clock, the Bulldogs worked the two-minuteÂ drill to perfection at the end of the half and Licea added three points fromÂ 40 yards on the half’s final play. Pine Bluff would mount a charge in the second half, only to be thwarted by the maroon and whiteÂ swarming defense. Banks, Atkins, andÂ Green finished with 45, 43, and 42 yards on the ground, respectively, in a balanced offensive attack. Thomas Harris caught three balls forÂ 57 yards.