Tuskegee University and Morehouse College will meet for the 80th time in the Tuskegee-Morehouse Classic Saturday.
Tuskegee (4-1, 1-0 SIAC) comes into the game after suffering their first defeat of the season to UNC Pembroke last week.
“We are coming off of a loss so we are not happy,” Tuskegee head coach Willie Slater said. “Now we have to focus our attention to Morehouse, which says enough in itself. We had good days at practice the week, and I think we will be ready.
“I expect the guys to be ready to go,” Slater said. “We are young so our guys may not really understand what the rivalry is all about. It is not in them yet, but we have some that have been here and those are the guys that are running around getting ready.”
The Golden Tigers have had the run of the series lately in the series, winning eight of the nine games in the series under Slater, including winning the last three in the series.
Morehouse (3-2, 1-0 SIAC) is a much different, more hungrier team that in years past.
“They are a different team than they have been in the last years,” Slater said. “They were able to get their fill on scholarships so they have a much better team, so it is going to be tough especially with us being so young. They have some guys coming back who played against us last year so that gives them a little bit of an edge.”
The Golden Tigers hold a 54-20-5 series advantage in the games played in Columbus, Georgia
“This is a big for the fans and for the alumni,” Slater said. “As far as we go, it is a big game for us anyway. The game last week was a big game and the game after this is going to be a big game. The fans let the players know how big this game, and builds up the momentum.”
Although the Golden Tigers lead the all-time series, this year’s game will be a match of the one of the SIAC’s most productive offenses in Morehouse and one of the best defenses in Tuskegee.
Morehouse leads the conference in scoring at 29.6 points per game, which ranks them 68th in NCAA Division II. The Tigers are led by junior quarterback Monqavious Johnson, who leads the conference in five different categories, and freshman Amyr Smith, who has been named the SIAC Newcomer of the Week several times this season.
“They have guys who have been in the system,” sophomore safety Jonah McCutcheon said. “Their quarterback has been in the system for three years now, and they have some great receivers that we have to be ready for in the secondary.”
Meanwhile, Tuskegee ranks as one the best defensive units in the SIAC.
The Golden Tigers currently are allowing 14 points per game, which is tops in the conference and is 10th in the nation. They also rank third in the country in red zone defense and 23rd in rushing defense.
Tuskegee vs. Morehouse
1 p.m. Saturday • A.J. McClung Stadium
TV/Streaming: ASPIRE (check local listings), Tuskegee Sports Network
Radio: HSRN XM 204/Sirius 126