JACKSON, Miss. – The Bulldogs shut out Jackson State in the second half and found the end zone twice in the third quarter to grab a 21-16 victory over the Tigers in the 11th Annual W.C. Gorden Classic at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium Saturday.
In the first conference victory for head coach Connell Maynor, the Bulldogs (2-3, 1-1 SWAC) outgained the host Tigers (1-2, 0-1 SWAC), who were competing in their league opener.
“It’s always a great feeling after a win, as it’s so hard to get one in this conference,” Maynor said. “To go on the road and get a win against a good Jackson State football team is very satisfying.”
Trevon Walters ran 15 times for 71 yards and two short touchdown runs against the JSU team. Aqeel Glass didn’t find the end zone, but A&M’s sophomore quarterback from St. Louis did complete 25 of 42 passes for 244 yards and an interception. Perhaps even more important was Glass not getting sacked the entire day due to strong play from the offensive line.
Brian Jenkins Jr. caught 10 passes for 112 yards, but his biggest contribution was an 18-yard touchdown run less than five minutes into the second half to pull the Bulldogs within a score at 16-14. The Bulldogs defense allowed the offense to find its way near the end of the third quarter. Walters scored from a yard out to put the Bulldogs in front for good, and Jackson State was unable to retake the lead despite covering 190 yards in the final two quarters.
“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot, and I told the guys since the second quarter to stop committing penalties and giving them short fields,” Maynor said, as JSU scored on one of its short drives after a blocked punt. “They didn’t really drive the ball on us in the first half, as we were stopping ourselves.”
Jackson State dominated the first quarter with Jordan Johnson’ 4-yard touchdown run and left-footed Christian Jacquemin’s 27-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead after the first 15 minutes. The Tigers extended their lead to 16 on Johnson’s second score from seven yards out. Instead of hanging its collective head, A&M dug deep and realized how numbers could be deceiving due to allowing only 62 yards due to bad field position. Two of the Tigers’ three scores began deep in A&M territory.
Walters gave the Bulldogs some life after scoring on a 3-yard run with 1:30 remaining before intermission.
“I told our guys we’ve got to go one play at a time to come back and win the game,” Maynor said. “I told them we’ve got to believe in ourselves and finish this game.”
The Bulldogs will hit the road again Saturday with a trip to Houston for a 6 p.m. kickoff against Texas Southern.
Courtesy: AAMU Athletics