BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – As the clock tlicked down to triple zero, the 14th-ranked Tuskegee University football players ran around the Legion Field turf. Some were hugging fans, others were jumping around with teammates and one was even doing a snow angel around the hash marks near the Tuskegee sideline.
The reason? The Golden Tigers battled back from a deficit they faced for the first 58 minutes of the contest to turn back Miles and hush the home stands with one big play after another, punching the ball in with 1:15 remaining on the clock and defeating Miles 13-10 Saturday night in a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) contest.
After Nick Christiansen missed his fourth field goal of the game, a 49-yard attempt, the Golden Tigers took possession of the football with 2:54 remaining and no timeouts. And the offense responded quickly. After a first down catch was ruled incomplete on the Tuskegee sideline, Kevin Lacey hit Javarrius Cheatham for a 12-yard gain and a first down at their own 39-yard line. The next play, Lacey hit senior Dekendrick Moncrief on the sideline for a 14-yard gain to the Miles 47-yard line which forced a Miles timeout with 2:24 to play. [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” cart=”y” identifier=”B00IX08NN0″ locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]
The Golden Tigers faced a second down after an incomplete pass when Lacey hit Moncrief for 14 yards to the Miles 33. On the next play, senior tight end Leo Gilbert ran across the field and caught his lone pass of the game. He turned the pass and catch into a 23-yard gain and set Tuskegee up at the Miles 10-yard line. After a false start call pushed the ball back to the 15, senior fullback Jerome Lewis caught a 13-yard pass from Lacey and set the Golden Tigers up first and goal at the two-yard line with just over 90 seconds to play. On the very next play, senior fullback Branden Wilson sent the crowd into mass histeria with a two-yard plunge that gave the Golden Tigers the lead.
However, there was still time on the clock when Miles got the ball back – only the Golden Bears were out of timeouts which forced them to play quickly.
After an incomplete pass from David Whipple, the All-SIAC quarterback found Mitchell Parker for a 12-yard gain and then on third down hit William Kelly for a three-yard gain with 33 seconds remaining. On fourth and seven, Whipple’s pass short hopped the receiver and all Tuskegee had to do was kneel the football for the victory.
For the ninth time this season, the Tuskegee (8-1) defense kept an opponent from 300 yards of total offense as they held Miles to 283 (187 passing and just 96 rushing). It was also the sixth time this season that the Golden Tigers have held an opponent under 100 yards rushing in a contest. Junior Kalil Gray led the Tuskegee defense with nine tackles, while junior Osband Thompson finished with eight. Fellow linebacker Quavon Taylor finished with six tackles.
The defense recorded three sacks and nine tackles for loss, while recording three pass breakups.
Lewis led the Golden Tigers offensively with 41 yards rushing on just three carries, while catching two passes for 29 yards. The Golden Tigers rushed for 100 yards as a team, with Brandon Gainer picking up 35. Lacey finished with 201 yards passing on 15-of-32 passing with a pair of interceptions. Meanwhile, Desmond Reece led the team with five catches for 63 yards.
Tuskegee returns to action next weekend on the road against Albany State, with kickoff time to be announced this week. The game will be carried on the Tuskegee Digital Network.
Courtesy: Tuskegee Athletics