LIVINGSTON, Ala. – A week after accumulating just 115 yards of total offense, Miles spent the first half against West Alabama moving the ball up and down the field with relative ease.
But a small halftime deficit mushroomed after two quick scores to open the third quarter as the No. 11 Tigers (2-0) pulled away from the Golden Bears (0-2) with a 37-21 win at Tiger Stadium Thursday night. Daniel Smith threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns, both to Leonard Tyree, who had eight catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns – all career highs.
The game started nearly 90 minutes late because of inclement weather and the Golden Bears were playing without starting tailback Justin Hardy, who was injured in last week’s loss to Alabama A&M. But the offense showed immediate signs of life once the game started.
Miles recovered a muffed punt after its first possession of the game and converted it into a touchdown when Smith connected with Tyree on a 29-yard scoring pass less than three minutes into the game. But UWA came right back, with Christian Saulsberry returning the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was missed and Miles held a 7-6 advantage, which it held at the end of the first quarter.
The teams went back and forth in the second. UWA scored on a 4-yard pass from Harry Satterwhite to Qua Boyd but the Golden Bears answered when Smith and Tyree connected again – this time from 20 yards – as they regained the one-point lead. The Tigers would score once they got the ball back when Satterwhite hit Bayley Blanchard for a 20-yard score to take the lead for good. Miles had a chance to score right before the half but Bradley Hammel missed a 33-yard field goal and Miles went into the half trailing 20-14.
UWA got the ball to start the second half and scored in less than two minutes. Saulsberry got free after a defender slipped and fought his way into the end zone on a 43-yard scoring pass. On the next possession, He got loose for a 38-yard touchdown catch that put the Golden Bears in a deep hole from which they would not escape. Miles did manage a highlight in the fourth quarter when defensive tackle Jaylun Thomas picked up a fumble and rumbled 96 yards for a touchdown to close out the scoring.
Santee Marshall got his first start and ran for a team-high 45 yards and LeAnthony Robinson added eight catches for 74 yards. Defensively, Austin Stephens had 12 tackles, Rodney Coleman added eight stops and N’Ktavious Floyd finished with six tackles for Miles, which plays next Saturday against Fort Valley State in the Prince Hall Americanism Classic at Sloan-Alumni Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Courtesy: Miles Athletics