The Prairie View A&M University football team lost its season opener to Sam Houston State in a hard-fought 44-31 contest Thursday night at Panther Stadium.
The Panthers rolled up 499 yards total offense against the third-ranked team in FCS football, 334 of those on the ground. QB Lavell McCullers (14-106-1) and Dawonya Tucker (13-101-3) each posted career highs in rushing as the Panthers held a 36:51 — 23:09 time of possession advantage.
McCullers completed 17 of 31 passes for 165 yards in his first career start. Defensively, the Panthers held Sam Houston St. to 412 total yards, more than 250 less than the Bearkats gained last week against #7 Richmond.
“In football, there are no A’s for effort,” said third-year PVAMU head coach Willie Simmons. “We didn’t do enough to win the football game. I’m proud of the guys’ effort. I’m proud of the way they competed, but we have to clean some things up to accomplish our goals. I think we have a chance to. We have to take a couple of days and regroup this week and get ready to go.”
Prairie View A&M fell behind 24-3 in the first half before the offense got going. The Panthers scored on three consecutive drives to make it a one-score game in the third quarter. The first two of those scoring drives came in the final 2:46 of the second quarter. The first of Tucker’s three touchdown runs, this from 34 yards out, put the Panthers in the end zone for the first time in 2017.
Following a Sam Houston St. touchdown drive with less than a minute to play in the first half, Prairie View A&M drove 66 yards in four plays and 38 seconds. McCullers, who initially bobbled the snap, scored from a yard out just before the half to make the score 30-17 at halftime.
Prairie View A&M opened the second half with a 15-play, 90-yard touchdown drive, consuming nearly nine minutes off the clock. The Panthers converted a pair of fourth-down plays to make it a one-possession game. Tucker’s 19-yard scoring run made it a 30-24 game with less than six minutes to play in the quarter.
However, the Bearkats returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to push their lead back to double-digits.
Prairie View A&M returns to action Saturday, September 16 in a 6 p.m. game at Nicholls St.
Courtesy: PVAMU Athletics