Photo: WAFB-TV

BATON ROUGE, La. – Quarterback Skyler Perry accounted for four touchdowns as the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff football team won at Southern 33-30 Saturday in the 2021 spring football season opener for the Golden Lions.

Perry completed 22 of 37 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns and rushed eight times for 58 yards and two additional touchdowns as UAPB (1-0 overall, 1-0 SWAC) won over Southern (1-1, 1-1) for the first time since 2012.

The UAPB defense forced four turnovers and held off a furious fourth-quarter rally by Southern, as the Golden Lions triumphed in a season-opening game for the first time since 2017 in earning Doc Gamble his first win as UAPB head coach.

Josh Wilkes (4-84-1) and Harry Ballard III (4-19-1) each had touchdown receptions for the Golden Lions, who were led by Tyrin Ralph’s seven receptions for 86 yards.

Kolby Watts and Marcus Askew each had nine tackles to lead the defense, along with Isaac Peppers eight tackles and fumble recovery. Jalon Thigpen, Shawn Steele, and Keyvien Johnson each had interceptions for UAPB, with Johnson’s INT in the final minute of play capping the win.

Trailing 14-10 in the second quarter, the Golden Lion defense pinned Southern inside the 10, leading to a blocked punt by UAPB’s Isaiah Singleton through the end zone for a safety.

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On the ensuing possession, Perry drove the Golden Lions 60 yards on seven plays, ending with a 14-yard touchdown reception by Wilkes to give UAPB the lead for good at 19-14 with 2:38 to play until halftime.

Following another three-and-out forced by the UAPB defense, the Golden Lion offense struck again. Driving 76 yards in eight plays, Perry hit Ballard with a two-yard TD pass in the back of the end zone with two seconds remaining to give UAPB a 26-14 halftime lead.

On the first drive of the third quarter, Perry executed arguably the most important play of the game. Following a sack on second down that gave UAPB a third-and-18 situation from its own 40-yard line, Perry connected with Ralph on a 23-yard completion and first down to the Southern 37-yard line. The possession concluded seven plays later with a two-yard scoring run by Perry to give UAPB a 33-16 lead and proved to be the winning points in the contest.

Southern rallied in fourth, blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown in the first minute of the period, and then scored on its first offensive possession in the stanza to cut the UAPB lead to three points.

However, the Golden Lion defense sealed the win, forcing a Jaguar punt with just four minutes remaining before Johnson’s interception and 45-yard return with 46 seconds remaining clinched victory.

Courtesy: UAPB Athletics



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