Albany State hits the road to take on an in-state foe Savannah State Saturday in a matchup of teams looking to bounce back from losses.
Savannah State (3-4, 2-3) enters this SIAC Eastern Division matchup fresh off a defeat at the hands of Clark Atlanta The Savannah State offense was only able to muster a season-low 12 points against a Panthers defense that has surrendered at least 35 points in four of their first seven games of the season.
On the season, the Tigers are averaging 17 points and 263.1 yards of total offense per contest, numbers which rank in the bottom half of the conference.
The Savannah State defense surrenders 21.71 points and 312.7 yards per game, good for third and fourth, respectively, in the SIAC. Freshman linebacker Tavare Brewton leads the team in tackles with 40 stops and junior defensive end Makenly Newbill paces the unit with four sacks.
Scouting Albany State
Albany State also comes into the hoping to wash the bitter taste of defeat out of their collective mouths, too. Last week, Benedict College spoiled homecoming for the Golden Rams, handing them a 24-20 setback.
The Tigers were able to hold a run game that is second in the SIAC — at 185.9 yards per game — to just 90 yards. It was the first time Albany State had been held under 100 yards on the ground since Morehouse limited them to 86 last season.
The Albany State defense was uncharacteristically forgiving, allowing 404 yards, the most an opponent has had all season Benedict defensive end Loobert Denelus, who was awarded SIAC Defensive Player of the Week, wreaked havoc against the Rams, recording 10 tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack.
Why Albany State will win
Savannah State’s offense has not been its most productive unit, averaging 17 points per game, the second-lowest in the SIAC.
Facing the staunch Albany State defense will only exacerbate the offensive shortcomings. Savannah State has the second-best pass defense in the SIAC but is only ninth-best against the run. This is where Albany State should attack the Tigers. The physical offensive line of the Rams could win the battle in the trenches, opening up holes for ball carriers but also will keep quarterback Dionte Bonneau clean.
With the Tigers focused on the Golden Rams’ rushing attack, things could open up for the passing game. If Savannah State falls behind, they are in the danger zone as their offense, particularly their passing game, hasn’t shown to be prolific enough to pull them out of a hole.
Why Savannah State will win
Due to the deficiencies of the Savannah State offense, they will have to keep it close by controlling the clock. Jadon Adams will have to be more than up to the task of getting key yards and extending drives. If the Tigers hold a decisive possession advantage, Albany State may look to throw the ball more to keep up. While the Savannah State defense will not consistently get pressure on Bonneau, they do have the second-best passing defense in the conference, which will be on full display against the Golden Rams.
Albany State 31
Savannah State 6