Albany State v Benedict College Preview and Prediction

Saturday is the biggest and most anticipated matchup, up to this point, in the SIAC this season when the undefeated Benedict Tigers head to Albany, GA to battle the defending conference champions the Albany State Golden Rams. 

Image via the Albany Herald

Albany State was not a good guest on their first visit to Nathaniel Glover Community Field as they administered a 55-7 donkey-kicking to Edward Waters. SIAC Offensive Player of the Week, quarterback Dionte Bonneau, posted his season high in passing yards with 293 and tied the same mark with two touchdown passes. The passing game also produced three receivers- Ralph Lovett III, Jamil Williams, and Rashad Jordan- that had at least 64 receiving yards. Running back Marcuis Fulks continued to pull himself out of the mini-funk he was in with 61 yards and a touchdown on 11 attempts. Kamran Ward also contributed a strong game out of the ASU backfield, getting 63 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just 6 carries. 

Defensively, the Golden Rams held the Tigers to just 94 yards of total offense and recorded 8 tackles for losses. The seven points surrendered did not come at the hands of the Edward Waters offense; Ahmaud Jordan capitalized on the one big mistake Bonneau made, intercepting a pass and taking it 70 yards to the house. 

Image via Benedict Athletics

Benedict enters the matchup fresh off a 20-3 smothering of Miles College, despite only generating 132 yards of total offense themselves. The game was the latest instance of the defensive dominance the Tigers have displayed so far this season. Benedict ranks No. 1 in the SIAC in total defense, allowing 211.2 yards per game, and third in scoring defense surrendering a scant 8.3 points per contest. Benedict boasts SIAC 5th leading rusher and leading scorer Noah Zaire Scotland has run for407 yards on the season. 

Why Benedict will win: 

Image via Benedict Athletics

The Tigers have the number one scoring offense in the SIAC, averaging 32.5 points per game, eclipsing the 40-point barrier in half their games this season. Though they possess a fairly prolific offense, the key to Benedict leaving Albany, GA undefeated will reside on the defensive side of the football. Benedict allows the third-fewest points per contest in the SIAC, allowing just 8.3 points per contest. When playing conference foes, the Tigers’ defense gets even stingier giving up only 7.2 points. Loober Denelus leads the SIAC in sacks and the Benedict defense as a unit is second in the conference with 17.0 sacks. As their defense has a penchant for getting to the quarterback and Golden Rams signal Dionte Bonneau will squarely be in their crosshairs. Bonneau will spend the afternoon under constant duress from Tigers defenders and when a quarterback is not comfortable, offenses do not flow well and such will be the case for Albany State. Unable to score the Rams’ offense will find themselves in a hole they are unable to climb out of, no matter how well their defense plays. 

Why Albany State will win: 

Image via Albany State Athletics

Benedict’s defense ranks third in the SIAC; one of the two teams ahead of the Tigers is Albany State, whose “Dirty Blue” defense allows a scant 6.3 points per game and is even stingier to SIAC opponents, giving up just 3.3 points in conference games.  The physical and tough Golden Rams defense will wreak havoc on the Benedict offense, getting to quarterback Eric Phoenix with frightening regularity, and severely limiting the high-scoring Benedict offense. Falling behind, the Tigers will be forced to put the ball more in their quarterback’s hands, which will play right into Albany State’s hands. The Albany State offensive line will be up to the challenge as they make holes for the number one running attack in the SIAC at 201.8 yards per game. They will open up lanes for Marcuis Fulks and Kamran Ward all afternoon. They are also just as adept at pass protection, having given up just 3 sacks on the season, which is the fewest in the SIAC. Behind this wall of protection, Dionte Bonneau will have time to progress through reads and find his receivers for big chunks of yards. 


Albany State 20
Benedict 13

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