MOBILE, Ala. — The comeback fell one play short.
With an opportunity to tie the game and force overtime, Aqeel Glass was tackled one yard short of the goal line.
And Southern left Ladd-Peebles Stadium with the first Gulf Coast Challenge trophy.
Southern held off a late Alabama A&M comeback as the Jaguars topped the Bulldogs 29-27 Saturday night to open SWAC play in Mobile.
“It’s a tough loss,” Alabama A&M coach Connell Maynor said. “Our guys fought hard to give us a chance at the end.”
The game was filled with momentum swings.
After watching Southern piece together a touchdown drive on the opening possession, Alabama A&M (1-3, 0-1 in SWAC) responded with 21 unanswered points to take a 15-point lead by the end of the first quarter.
Jordan Bentley ran for a 49-yard touchdown before Aqeel Glass threw a 36-yard touchdown to Kendric Johnson. Glass threw a 17-yard touchdown to Bentley to give the Bulldogs a 21-6 lead.
“We made some plays early,” Maynor said. “I like the way our guys responded. But we’ve got to be able to play four quarters and learn how to finish games.”
Southern (2-2, 1-0) rallied back.
After pinning Alabama A&M on its own 1-yard line with a punt, Southern tackled Bentley in the end zone for a safety. A few minutes later, Southern quarterback John Lampley threw an 11-yard touchdown to Devon Benn to pull the Jaguars within 21-15 at halftime.
Southern used two third-quarter touchdowns to take the lead for good.
Lampley finished with 204 passing yards and two touchdowns, and he rushed for 99 yards on 21 carries.
Trailing by eight with less than four minutes remaining in the game, Alabama A&M gave itself a chance on its final possession.
After a couple of big plays from Gary Quarles in the running game, Glass ran two yards for a touchdown, but Southern stopped the Alabama A&M quarterback on the potential game-tying 2-point conversion.
Bentley led Alabama A&M with 96 rushing yards with a touchdown. Glass passed for 210 yards and two touchdowns.
“This is a game we can learn from,” Maynor said. “Southern perennially is one of the top teams in our conference, and we proved that we can play with anyone in this league. This loss doesn’t define our season. There still are more league games on the schedule, and we’ve got a shot in our division.”
Courtesy: AAMU Athletics