WILBERFORCE, Ohio – The 17th-ranked Tuskegee University football team rebounded from last week’s loss, and rebounded in a big way as they ran away from Central State University 42-14 on Saturday afternoon.
Tuskegee (7-1, 5-1 SIAC) used a 21-point third quarter and 304 yards of total offense to continue their push for a spot in the NCAA Division II playoffs, currently sitting third in the Super Region 2 standings this past week.
After a slow start on their first possession, the Golden Tigers drove down the field on their second possession. They used just 2:14 and six plays to drive 61 yards for the game’s opening score, culminating with an 11-yard burst from fullback Branden Wilson for the 7-0 lead. [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” cart=”y” identifier=”B01KKXKA9M” locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]
Central State tied the game on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that used 5:29 to open the second quarter. The Marauders used a mix of run and pass to drive the field, until Lavon Meeks ran into the end zone from six yards out to the game at 7-all with 9:38 remaining in the opening half.
But from there, the game belonged to the Golden Tigers.
Tuskegee reeled off 35 consecutive points to run away from Central State. The first of those points came when Tuskegee took advantage of a special teams miscue by Central State as the ball was downed at the seven after a bad snap on a punt. The Golden Tigers took advantage of the miscue and punched the ball into the end zone when Jamarcus Ezell hit Javarrius Cheatham from four yards out for a 14-7 lead with 4:53 to play in the half.
The lead did not stay at seven for long; it grew … and grew in a hurry.
On the Marauders next possession, Tuskegee safety Jonah McCutcheon stepped in front of a Meeks pass at the 45 and outran the quarterback to the end zone. The score was the second touchdown of the year for Tuskegee – the first since opening week – and gave the Golden Tigers a 21-7 lead heading into the locker room.
The second half was much the same, as Tuskegee drove down the field time and time again to extend the lead.
Tuskegee scored on their opening possession when they drove 61 yards in seven plays, using 3:33 on the clock. The drive was highlighted by 23-yard run from fullback Jerome Lewis, who was rewarded and scored on a 1-yard run with 11:27 remaining in the third quarter. The touchdown extended the lead to 28-7.
The final two touchdowns came via the ground and came from two players scoring their first collegiate touchdowns. Kenny Gant went up the middle, broke a couple of tackles and found the end zone with 7:01 remaining to give Tuskegee a 35-7 lead. And with 2:40 remaining in the third quarter, Eric Bright, Jr. scored his first career touchdown from a yard out to give Tuskegee a 42-7 lead.
Central State added a touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter for the final margin.
Gant led Tuskegee with 61 yards on just five carries, while Ezell added 56 yards on five carries and Lewis 53 on eight carries to pace Tuskegee. Senior Desmond Reece was one of three receivers with a catch on Saturday, hauling in six catches for 61 yards.
Quavon Taylor paced a Tuskegee defense that allowed less than 300 yards of total offense once again this season, finishing with 15 tackles. He finished with eight solo tackles and two tackles for loss in the win. Fellow linebacker Osband Thompson finished with 14 tackles, while Brandon Griffin – in his first start – finished with 13 tackles and a sack.
Julian Morgan and Kali James paced the Golden Tigers with 1.5 sacks each on the afternoon, while Morgan finished with seven tackles.
Tuskegee returns to action next Saturday on the road against Miles in a SIAC West Division contest. The Golden Tigers and Miles will kick off at 5 pm on Saturday at Legion Field in Birmingham. The game will be shown on the ASPiRE Network, and can also be heard on the Tuskegee Digital Network with pregame beginning at 4:30 pm.
The Golden Tigers will now wait on their seeding when the new Super Region 2 poll is released Monday afternoon.
Courtesy: Tuskegee Athletics