TUSKEGEE, Ala. – In their previous two home games this season, the Tuskegee University Golden Tigers had allowed just 13 combined points, and although they allowed three touchdowns on Saturday, they flexed their muscles against one of the best offenses in the SIAC.
Tuskegee (23rd AFCA/22nd D2football) held Stillman College to just 165 total yards offensively en route to a 49-20 SIAC victory Saturday afternoon at Cleve L. Abbott Memorial Alumni Stadium.
The Golden Tigers’ defense struck early as they put Tuskegee (6-1, 5-0 SIAC, 2-0 West) on the board first when sophomore linebacker Osband Thompson picked off his first pass and went down the sideline untouched for a 65-yard interception return just three minutes into the game.
Although that was the only touchdown on the day for the Golden Tigers, they still struck early and often. Senior linebacker Jewell Ratliff had a touchdown (his second of the season) called back due to a penalty, but he finished with 10 tackles including a tackle for loss.
Although Ratliff finished with double-digit tackles for the sixth consecutive game for Tuskegee (1st HSRN/6th BOXTOROW/6th SBN), it was Julian Morgan who made a difference after missing three games earlier this season. The junior defensive end finished with a game-high 11 tackles, including a career-high four sacks and seven tackles for loss. He also forced two fumbles and recovered two fumbles in the victory.
“The defense played great today,” Morgan said. “I love my brothers. We all sold out for the team and I can’t ask for anything more than that. If we keep playing like this, we’ll keep winning.”
Thompson ended the day with eight tackles, one forced fumble and two interceptions – almost returning his second for a touchdown.
“We don’t feel like we’re on top of the world as a defense,” Thompson said. “There are some things that we need to improve on, but today, we just competed hard. We just have to play smarter.”
As a defensive unit, the Golden Tigers gave up just 84 yards on the ground, and forced Stillman to change their quarterback in the second half – giving up just 11 yards through the air. They also recorded nine tackles for loss and forced four Stillman (3-3, 2-2 SIAC, 1-1 West) turnovers.
“Our defense was awesome today,” Tuskegee University head coach Willie Slater said. “They have us some short fields to work with today, and we expect to score with that kind of field position.”
Offensively, the Golden Tigers put up big numbers as they totaled up 428 yards of total offense and 225 of those on the ground.
Senior Dennis Norfleet carried the ball four times for 74 yards, including a long run of 59 yards; while senior Tyree Brooks added 53 yards on seven carries and two touchdowns. Branden Wilson added 42 yards and a touchdown, while Cameron Nash tacked on 38.
Kevin Lacey finished the day 8-for-13 passing with 170 yards and a touchdown, while junior tight end Leo Gilbert caught a pair of touchdown passes. Marquel Gardner led four receivers with a pair of receptions in the game.
The Golden Tigers jumped out to a quick 29-0 lead with three touchdowns and a field in the second quarter alone, before scoring three more times in the second half – highlighted by an 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Devozea Gaines.
Tuskegee returns to action on the road in a pivotal SIAC West Division matchup against Kentucky State in Frankfort. The game kicks off at 1 pm (est) and will be carried by the Tuskegee Sports Network.