After falling behind with 2:26 seconds left in the game, the Hornets (4-4, 3-3 SWAC) still had a chance to win the game as they moved to ball to the AAMU 13 yard line only to see Preston Clark’s 30 yard field sail wide left with 12 seconds left and the Bulldogs escaped with the win.
“Being a part of this game is a great atmosphere and it’s always a pleasure to play in it and obviously you want to win it, but I commend Alabama A&M for the grit they competed with us today and they got the victory,” Head Coach Reggie Barlow said. “I commend our guys, and although we didn’t win I saw passion and guys really playing and trying to make plays.”
ASU finished the game with 504 total yards and held AAMU (3-5, 2-3 SWAC) to 469, but it was mistakes that kept the Hornets on the short end. Two touchdowns were called back due to penalties with the final one coming with 44 seconds left in the game when Cyrus scored from 15 yards out which looked like the go-ahead score, but the points were taken off the board due to a holding penalty.
The high point of the game was Cyrus becoming the 11th player in ASU history to surpass the 1,000 yards in a single season mark. He entered the game with 912 yards and his 148 yards now has him at 1,060 yards. The rush to put him over the mark was a 19-yard run in the third quarter.
Cyrus lone touchdown came in the third quarter with 49 seconds left in the third quarter and pushed the Hornets lead to 33-21, only to see the Bulldogs come back from a two-score deficit. In fact AAMU came from a two-scored deficit twice in the second half to complete the comeback win.
The Hornets dominated the first half on their way to building a 20-7 lead to go into the locker room at the half. The lead could have been even greater except for several ASU mistakes.
One ASU scoring pass was called back due to a penalty and Duhart had two passes intercepted in the end zone. On top of that the Hornets had an extra point blocked and missed a field goal, but ASU’s defense held strong.
Duhart scored twice in the opening quarter rushing in from three yards out on the Hornets opening possession and again on a one yard run with less than a minute left in the quarter.
After the Bulldogs took advantage of a long kick return they were able to score a touchdown on a Harvey Harris two yard run to cut the lead to 13-7.
ASU took advantage of an AAMU miscue when the Bulldogs had a high snap on a punt and DeMario Bell was able to pick up the loose ball and get into the endzone to put the Hornets up 20-7.
The Hornets had 243 yards of offense in the opening half with Malcolm Cyrus gaining 58 and Duhart passing for 164 yards. The Hornets defense made it hard on the Bulldogs holding them to only 46 yards rushing and 141 total yards.
“All of the losses are frustrating and even more so because it’s the Magic City Classic and it means so much too so many people,” Barlow said. “I’ve been around football long enough to know a lot of times a loss has to do more with the other team than it does with yourself. We will go back and watch the film and re-evaluate our guys and try to move away from it. Obviously it’s a tough loss for us.”