Columbia, SC- The Albany State University football team extended their win streak to six games with a 21-0 shutout of Benedict College Saturday afternoon at C.W. Johnson Stadium.
It is ASU’s first shutout since their 38-0 Homecoming win over Morehouse in 2015. The Golden Rams move to their SIAC record to 5-0 (6-3 overall) and wins the 2018 Eastern Division Championship.
They have now solidified a spot in the SIAC Championship on Nov. 3, marking their first appearance in the title game since the 2015 season. The game will be played at the SIAC West Division Champion’s campus, which will be the winner of next week’s Tuskegee vs. Miles game.
As for Saturday’s matchup Albany State, ranked 10thin the latest NCAA Super Region Two poll, played spoiler on Senior Day at Benedict College. Additionally, it is the second time in as many weeks that their opposition was held without a touchdown. The Golden Rams’ defense limited the Tigers to just 169 yards of total offense including a tepid 65 yards through the air.
Benedict (5-2, SIAC 3-2) entered the contest ranked second in the SIAC in scoring, averaging 25 points per outing.
Albany State scored on the game’s opening drive when Kelias Williams found Eric Crawford on a 26-yard strike with 12:26 left in the first quarter. On the ensuing possession, the Tigers tested the Golden Rams defense by going for it on 4thand 10 from their own 48-yard line. That play proved to be disastrous for the Tigers as they were ultimately tackled for a loss of 35 yards, giving the Rams the ball at the Benedict 13.
One snap and six seconds later, Williams called his own number, scampering to the end zone for his eighth rushing touchdown of the season. After the converted PAT, the Golden Rams extended their lead to 14-0 at the 7:20 mark.
The game’s final score would come late in the second quarter. Williams put the Rams in striking distance with a 53-yard carry down to the Benedict 33-yard line. He then connected with Mike Green on back-to-back receptions, the latter which was hauled in from 10 yards out for a TD with 1:08 left in the opening half.
In the second half, the Golden Rams’ defense only allowed the Tigers into their territory once; that came on the third quarter’s opening drive which was halted when Tori Sapp, Jr. forced and recovered a fumble at the ASU 25. That was one of three second half takeaways for Albany State.
The Golden Rams ground attack faired fine against the Tigers’ #1 ranked SIAC rushing defense. The ASU backfield gained 256 yards on the afternoon (200 net) to add to their league best average of 188.2 yard per game.
The Golden Rams regular season final will take place next Saturday at the 29thAnnual Fountain City Classic. Kickoff is scheduled for 2pm at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Georgia. CLICK HEREfor tickets and more information on this year’s festivities.