PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Linebacker Brennan Gordon recorded his first career interception and touchdown return as his 79-yard runback sealed a 21-7 victory for Prairie View A&M over Arkansas-Pine Bluff before a nationally televised ESPNU audience on Thursday night in Pine Bluff, Ark.
The scoring was minimal in the first half as UAPB took advantage of a Prairie View fumble and claimed an early 3-0 lead as kicker Chris Ewald nailed a 45-yard field goal for the only score of the half.
On Prairie View’s first drive of the second half, the Panther offense clicked into high gear and marched 74 yards in seven plays as senior tailback Donald Babers rushed it in from five yards out. UAPB answered on the ensuing drive and drove 66 yards to the Prairie View 2 but the Panther defense answered with their backs against the wall and held UAPB to a field goal and a 7-6 advantage. Prairie View’s offense continued to march on the following possession but missed a key opportunity to put UAPB away as a bad exchange between the quarterback and the center put an end to a promising drive on the UAPB 2 to close the third quarter.
The Panther defense forced UAPB to punt on the quarter’s initial drive and was due for a much-needed rest after the punt landed at the PV 49. Unfortunately, the rest never came as the Panthers fumbled following an eight-yard rush on the first play on the drive. Once again, Prairie View’s defense came up big and forced another three-and-out and the offense took a huge chunk of time off the clock as UAPB regained possession at its 11 following a Pedro Ventura punt.
On the first play of UAPB’s drive, senior defensive end Quinton Spears picked up his second sack of the evening and threw UAPB quarterback Josh Boudreaux for a loss to the UAPB 2. Immediately thereafter on second down, junior cornerback JohnMark Henderson tipped Boudreaux’s pass and redshirt freshman Raheem Cardwell was there for the taking as the Panthers regained possession of the ball on the UAPB 5. Two plays later, the Panthers moved ahead 13-6 as quarterback K.J. Black found wideout Michael Benson for a 5-yard touchdown reception. Kyle Mathews’ PAT was good as Prairie View claimed a 14-6 lead with slightly more than two minutes remaining.
UAPB went to the air on its next drive and was successful as they marched all the way to the PV 39. Once again, the Prairie View defense came up big for its most important turnover of the night as Gordon picked off Boudreaux’s pass for his first career interception and touchdown.
As a team, the Panthers totaled 324 (199 P, 125 R) yards while UAPB’s vaunted offense was held to only 199 yards. Prairie View’s Donald Babers had another monster game with 24 carries for 138 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Shaun Stephens also had a career night as the senior caught a career-high 12 receptions for 114 yards while Black threw for 199 yards and a touchdown on 24-of-32 passing. Linebacker Max Sencherey led the Panthers with 10 tackles while Spears had a solid night with five tackles and two sacks.
Prairie View returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 16 against Lincoln University for its homecoming festivities at 2 p.m. in Prairie View.