COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Benedict College Tigers are off to their best start since resuming their football program in 1995 with a 24-6 victory over the Savannah State Tigers on Thursday night in Charlie W. Johnson Stadium in front of a national ESPNU television audience.
Benedict improves to 3-0 on the season and 1-0 in the SIAC. Savannah State falls to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in the SIAC. Records and scores prior to 1966, when Benedict ended its football program for 28 years, are incomplete, but there is no historical record of a Benedict football team ever starting the season 3-0.
After a scoreless first half, the Tigers got on the board on a 35-yard field goal by John Diaz with 9:46 left in the third quarter. The key play on the drive was a 43-yard pass from Eric Phoenix to Reginald Harden.
Benedict’s Loobert Denelus, the reigning SIAC Defensive Player of the Week, came up big for the Tigers again with a strip sack of Savannah State quarterback JT Hartage to give Benedict the ball at the SSU 29-yard line. The Tigers kept the ball on the ground, running eight rush plays before Noah Zaire Scotland busted into the end zone from the 1-yard line. Diaz added the extra point to give Benedict a 10-0 lead with 5:04 left in the third quarter. Scotland led the Benedict rushing attack with 112 yards on 22 carries.
Savannah State scored on an 11-yard run by Jadon Adams with 12:18 left in the game, but the extra point was blocked by Denelus.
Benedict added another score on an 11-yard pass from John Lampley to Christopher Williams III with 9:19 left in the game to cap off a nine-play, 83-yard drive. The Tigers took advantage of several penalties by Savannah State and an 18-yard run by Tayven Grice on that drive.
Deondra Duehart added an insurance touchdown for the Tigers with 5:01 left in the game on an 11-yard run.
The Benedict offense out-gained Savannah State 356 to 237 yards.
Benedict returns to action with another home game next Saturday, taking on the Kentucky State Thorobreds at 6 p.m. in Charlie W. Johnson Stadium.
Courtesy: Benedict Athletics