FRANKFORT, Ky. – In what’s becoming a season motif, Savannah State football struggled down the stretch against Kentucky State on Saturday, but a heavy-handed first half carried them to yet another Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) victory.
The Tigers moved to 4-1 and 3-0 in SIAC play with the 21-17 win over the Thorobreds at Alumni Stadium in Frankfort, Kentucky on Saturday in front of 921 fans.
Just like Savannah State’s win over Morehouse College and Benedict College, the final minutes of Saturday’s game were tense.
With only three minutes to play, Kentucky State drove to the Tigers’ 15-yard line, threatening to take the lead and their third SIAC win of the season. Otis Odom rushed for a touchdown that would have lifted the home team to a possible win, but a costly holding penalty called it back, giving the Tigers’ defense a second chance.
Out of a timeout, Daniel Dorsey snagged a key interception, giving Savannah State the ball with 3:16 to play. On 3-and-10 with minutes left, Jamurian Hartage completed a pass to Andunte Deveraux for a Tigers’ first down. The new set of downs gave Savannah State their fourth win and first road win of the 2021 season.
Both Kentucky State and Savannah State put the triple option to work on Saturday with the Thorobreds winning the stats game. Kentucky State rushed for 323 yards and passed for 69. Savannah State rushed for 224 and passed for 71, racking up 212 total offense to Kentucky State’s 392.
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But the Thorobreds committed more mistakes, with five fumbles that the Tigers turned into points and seven costly penalties. This was the first game this season which Savannah State won without scoring first.
Kentucky State opened the game with the first possession after the Tigers’ won the coin toss and deferred. The Tiger defense quickly forced a three and out in a commanding shut down of the Thorobreds’ offense.
On the Tigers’ first possession, D’Vonn Gibbons fumbled the ball on second down, leaving Kentucky State on Savannah State’s 10 yard line. Shaquin Oliver rushed for 7 yards and Brett Sylve finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run, lifting the home team to a 7-0 lead early on.
The Tigers answered at the 7:03 mark of the first quarter. On third down from their own 36-yard line, D’Angelo Durham broke free and sprinted for a 64-yard touchdown, tying the game.
Kentucky State was stopped on their fourth possession of the first quarter, when Cameron M. Brown forced a fumble and Jordan Grant picked it up, setting SSU on their own 45-yard line. At the 4:33 mark, Einaj Carter broke two tackles and then set into a full gallop down the edge for a 55-yard touchdown.
Savannah State pushed out to a 21-7 lead at the 12:00 minute mark of the second quarter. Shamarcus Poole capped a six-play, 75-yard drive by the Tigers with an 11-yard rushing touchdown. But the home team wasn’t down and out.
Kentucky State got some offense rolling towards the end of the quarter. They pushed into Savannah State’s redzone for only the second time, but the Tiger defense held them at bay with a goal-line stop. With 6:04 until half, on fourth down, Gerardo Baezo kicked a tiny 20-yard field goal.
Following a scoreless third quarter, early in the fourth quarter, Oliver broke free from Kentucky State’s 46-yard line for a 54-yard touchdown dash, putting the Thorobreds less than a score from Savannah State’s lead at 17-21 with 14:33 to play. The score would hold through the final 14 minutes.
Durham led the Tigers in the rushing stats with 106 yards on 14 carries with one touchdown. Carter racked up 40 yards on three carries with a touchdown and Poole had 38 yards on four carries with a touchdown.
Savannah State returns home next week as they take a break from SIAC action for a non-conference bout with Erskine College. Kickoff at Theodore A. Wright Stadium is set for 6 p.m.
Courtesy: SSU Athletics