TUSKEGEE, Ala. – The 24th-ranked Tuskegee University Golden Tigers used all three phases of the game to beat Winston-Salem State 28-13 at Cleve L. Abbott Memorial Alumni Stadium in front of a national audience.
Winston-Salem State (0-3) struck first in the contest as they drove the ball down the field in 11 plays. The drive took 77 yards and used 6:21 of the first quarter, when it ended with a Tyree Massey eight-yard touchdown run. However, the drive stalled after three plays and the Rams were bailed out with a roughing the kicker penalty that allowed the drive to continue.
Although the Rams scored first, it was the last they scored until the fourth quarter.
Tuskegee (3-0) used a stingy defense to allow just two field goals late in the game, and finished by allowing just 152 yards over the next three quarters to Winston-Salem.
Winston-Salem State held the lead through the first quarter, the first time this season that the Golden Tigers have trailed after the opening stanza. But it didn’t take long for Tuskegee to respond.
The Golden Tigers got the ball with 11:14 to play in the half and marched down the field in just four plays. The drive covered 42 yards and ended with a touchdown pass, but not from the quarterback. Facing a second down from the Winston-Salem 24 yard line, quarterback Kevin Lacey tossed the ball back to Dennis Norfleet who then in turn launched a pass in which freshman Javarrius Cheathem out jumped the defender for the touchdown.
The touchdown was the first of Cheatham’s career and tied the game up with 9:11 remaining in the half.
After the defense stuffed a Winston-Salem drive again, the offense got the ball on their own 42-yard line and marched down the field. This time Lacey hit senior Marquel Gardner over the middle, and the senior bounced off a tackle and ran into the end zone for an 18-yard score. The touchdown gave Tuskegee a one-touchdown lead heading into halftime, 14-7.
The Golden Tigers outgained Winston-Salem State 180-47 in yards in the second quarter to grab the lead.
Tuskegee didn’t waste any time coming out in the second half putting points on the board as they drove 75 yards on the opening drive for a score. The Golden Tigers used a mix of run and pass to get down inside the five-yard line before Jerome Lewis dove in from a yard out to give the Golden Tigers an insurmountable 21-7 lead early in the second half.
After a pair of field goals trimmed the lead to 21-13, the Golden Tigers were forced to punt the ball with less then three minutes to play. The punt by Kemuel Lawrence hit at the one-yard line where Reggie Wilkins attempted to field it. However, the ball bounced off of his hands into the hands of Tuskegee’s Travis Hawkins for an apparent touchdown. After the referees deemed the ball down at the one, Lewis ran in for his second touchdown of the game, and the final score of the contest.
Tuskegee dominated the game as they outgained Winston-Salem State 368-229 on offense and picked up 22 first downs.
Lacey led the way for Tuskegee with 78 yards on the ground, on just nine carries, and completed 13 of his 26 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown. Norfleet finished the day with 52 yards on eight carries and added a 24-yard scoring strike through the air. Desmond Reece led all receivers with three catches for 38 yards, while three others each picked up a pair.
Senior Jewell Ratliff paced the defense with 15 tackles, including a sack and a pair of tackles for loss. Michael Robinson added nine tackles, Jason Ashley and Osband Thompson each added eight, and safety Jonah McCutcheon picked up an interception in the victory.
Lawrence had another outstanding day kicking the ball as he finished with five punts for an average of 45 yards, and also connected on all four of his extra points.
Tuskegee returns to action next weekend as they open up conference play in Jackson, Tenn. against Lane. It will be first of three consecutive games on the road for the Golden Tigers.