MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Tuskegee University scored nine points in the final minute to outlast Albany State, 45-41, and capture the 2014 SIAC Football Championship at Cramton Bowl.
TU (9-2) rolled 484 yards of total offense holding ASU (7-3) to 266 yards, including 72 yards on the ground. With 38 seconds left, Michael Thornton scored from three yards and on the ensuing kick-off, a forward lateral gave ASU a penalty and TU a safety to secure the win.
Tuskegee Championship MVP Hoderick Lowe rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns earning 100 yards and both scores in the first half. He tallied 280 all-purpose yards including seven kickoff returns for 109 to fuel the Golden Tigers.
Larry Cobb took the record for most receiving yards in the championship game with five receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown. Kaleep Williams followed with four receptions for 90 yards. Justin Nared tossed 8-of-16 for 230 and two touchdowns with Kevin Lacy adding one touchdown sharing quarterback duties.
ASU jumped out to early when it returned the opening kickoff for 98 yards and a touchdown. Tuskegee replied behind Lowe’s touchdowns of 18- and 56-yards.
Trailing 21-7, ASU found the endzone on three occasions stemming from TU turnovers, to take the lead.
The Golden Rams cut into the deficit before the half on a 14-yard pass from quarterback Frank Rivers to receiver Quadrey Simmons. In the opening minutes of the second half, Tavarius Washington’s sack and fumble recovery closed the game 21-20 before Jarvis Small plunged into the endzone to give ASU a 27-21 lead. ASU’s defense accounted for five sacks and an interception for the game.
Rivers, ASU’s game MVP, tossed 194 yards from 17-of-25 and three touchdowns. Washington gathered 13 tackles and two sacks to lead all defenders. Simmons caught four passes with two touchdowns giving ASU points in the second half.
Five touchdowns were exchanged between the teams to close out the game. The Golden Rams retaliated with a touchdown to make it 34-31, but then Justin Nared found Kaleep Williams on a 42-yard pass to retake the lead, 38-34. Rivers found Simmons again to make it 41-38, on a 10-yard pass play, with two minutes left to play.
In the final drive with 1:42 remaining from the 36-yard line, Nared worked the field using Hoderick Lowe and Williams connecting with both on two passes apiece. Nared added a five-yard rush and Lowe ran out of bounds at the seven-yard line before Thornton scored to seal the win.
Andre Revere helped TU’s defense with a team-high six tackles and a sack.
The Golden Tigers pick up a second SIAC title in the championship game era.