NORMAL – Not since the 2005 season has an Anthony Jones led squad won five straight games. On Thursday night, October 13, the Alabama A&M Bulldogs won their fifth straight contest of 2011 with a 24-21 victory over the Tigers of Texas Southern University Live on ESPNU.
Once again the Maroon & White allowed an opponent to open a 14-0 lead after one quarter of play. From there the Bulldogs scored a 22 yard Chance Wilson field goal, his fifth of the season. Then Bessemer, Alabama native Bryan Nelson scored his first career touchdown on his first career carry. That brought A&M within four 14-10. On the next drive junior quarterback Deaunte Mason hit redshirt freshman Terrance Pride on a 43 yard touchdown for Pride’s second of the season. That score gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game going into halftime up 17-14.
The A&M defense held the Tigers to three punts, a turnover on downs twice and a fumble recovery by Corey Hart to hold Texas Southern to 150 yards on the ground and 152 yards passing in the first half.
The second half saw a combined 14 points by the conference opponents and turned into a defensive struggle.
Texas Southern posted a 10 play, 65 yard drive that ended in a junior Joshua Udeh interception his first of his career. TSU then posted two straight eight play drives that finished in a missed field goal that was blocked by Theron Rice, his first of the year, and a fumble that was recovered by Wille Fuller, his second of the year.
On TSU’s next drive they once again had to punt away the ball but freshman Rashad DeJarnett muffed it giving it back to Texas Southern at their own 18 yard line. The game’s rushing leader, TSU’s Martin Gilbert, ran in for an 18 yard TD giving the Tigers there second lead of the game.
“I told DeJarrnett that he would have to make that up and we were coming right back to him,” said head coach Anthony Jones. “He did that on our next offensive play”
And he did as Mason connected with DeJarnett for a season high 70 yard game winning touchdown pass to give A&M the lead and fifth straight victory of the season.
On TSU’s final drive, senior Rico Porch intercepted his third pass of the season ending TSU’s pursuit at winning the game and giving Jones his 69th career A&M victory.
Junior Kaderius Lacey led the Bulldogs with 95 yards rushing. Mason ended the game with a season high 289 yards passing including a season best 70 yard pass and catch for a touchdown to Dejarnett. Mason also rushed for 29 yards. Montaurius Smith led all receivers with three catches for 114 yards and added 62 yards on kick returns for 176 all-purpose yards.
The Tiger’s Gilbert led all rushers with 188 yards on the ground while quarterback Riko Smalls ended the game 15 of 32 with two interceptions on 265 yards passing. Richard Samuel was the QB’s favorite target as he completed the contest with five receptions for 118 yards.
The Bulldogs will get 16 days off before their next contest which will be the 70th annual Magic City Classic set for Saturday, October 29, at 2:30 p.m.