Courtesy: Alabama A&M Sports Information
NORMAL – The Bulldogs kept their championship hopes alive with a 24-23 overtime win over Southern University on senior day.
Seniors Terrell Badie, Jared Bing, Cedric Clayborn, Denzel Cotton, Joaquenssi Eugene, Bobby Goldsby, Chris Hall, Kenneth Harris, David Isabelle, Jamaal Johnson-Webb, Kaderius Lacey, Dee Lett, Vernon Marshall, Deaunte Mason, Preston Nelson, Melvin Payne, Bryant Ross, Montay Rover, Torey Smith, Tim Tillman, Joshua Udeh, Julius Williams and Chance Wilson were honored before the start of the contest.
Running back Kaderius Lacey rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Deaunte Mason rushed for 14 yards for a score and threw another touchdown on 11 of 22 passing for 96 yards.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 10-0 lead on a Chance Wilson 33 yard field goal and a three yard rush by Lacey. They would go into half-time with that lead looking for their first victory on senior day since 2009.
The Jaguars came out and scored 17 straight points in the second half with a 20 yard pass and catch from Dray Joseph to Lee Doss. On SU’s second drive of the third quarter kicker Matthew Hill connected on a 45 yarder to even the score at 10 all.
Southern then scored seven more with a one yard rush by fullback Brian McCain to give the Blue & Gold a 17-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
With 10,208 fans in attendance Alabama A&M was not about to go down without a fight. After six first downs, a personal foul penalty by SU and 12 plays, Mason found Montaurius Smith open for a seven yard touchdown to put the game in overtime which is a Louis Crews first since November 3, 2007 when Jackson State defeated AAMU 43-40.
In the extra time A&M won the toss and chose to play defense first. After four plays Joseph found Rashaun Allen in the right corner of the end zone to give the Jags a 23-17 lead. But Hill then missed the extra point which opened the door for AAMU if they scored.
With the win only 25 yards away the Bulldogs needed help and prayer as they came face to face with a fourth and 11 situation. Mason lined up in the shotgun and found Terrance Pride who then dove for the first down giving the Bulldogs new life. After a two yard Lacey run Mason punched the ball in tying the score at 23-all. Senior Chance Wilson then hit his biggest kick of his career, the extra point, to give A&M their first win since October 6.
“I was really excited and nervous but I’m glad it went through the uprights,” said Wilson. “I was joking before the game saying I was going to kick the winning score.”
“The guys kept fighting and they gave us the strength to keep fighting which allowed us to stay together and win,” head coach Anthony Jones mentioned. “Big time play for the guys on the overtime possession.”
“The kick was huge for the team as a whole,” said Jones.
Jones improves to 1-1 in one point games in 2012. The win was a senior day first since 2009. The victory allows A&M to stay tied with Alabama State as both teams have one conference contest remaining on their schedule. The 96 yards is a season low for Mason who averages 198.9 a game. Senior defensive back Vernon Marshall posted 13 tackles and tied his career high.
Up next the Bulldogs will travel to Jackson, Miss. to face the Tigers whom they haven’t defeated since 2009. The game is scheduled for Saturday, November 10th at 2 p.m. in Veterans Memorial Stadium.