26 Central State (1-2)
19 Clark Atlanta (0-3)
Charles Stafford threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough as the Clark Atlanta University Panthers fell to Central State University 26-19 Saturday at CAU Panther Stadium.
Clark Atlanta (0-3, 0-1 SIAC) chipped away at an 11-point deficit – 23-12 – midway through the third quarter when Stafford threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Drakar Jerry to pull CAU to within four of Central State (1-2, 1-0 SIAC) at 23-19.
CSU countered early in the fourth quarter with a Joshua Nunes 26-yard field goal to make the score 26-19.
Six Stafford passes, along with a 23-yard trick play in which Stafford caught a 23-yard pass from Makel Young, got CAU down to the Central State one-yard line with a chance to tie the game. But the drive stalled after a personal foul penalty pushed them back to the 15-yard line and a fourth down pass to Felix Jonesfell incomplete with 9:38 remaining.
The CAU defense then stiffened, forcing a Central State punt on the next possession. But after Clark Atlanta got into Central State territory with just over three minutes left, a Stafford pass was picked off by CSU’s Kailen Abrams, ending the drive.
Clark Atlanta got one more chance with 1:01 left. Stafford completed passes of 11 yards and 23 yards to Drakar Jerry, and then another pass to Caleeb Roberson that got the Panthers down to the CSU 42-yard line. But Stafford’s next pass inside the Central State 10-yard line was picked off by CSU’s Devon Cunningham to put the game away.
Stafford was 26-of-46 for 306 yards and three touchdowns, but with three interceptions. His main target was Jerry, who finished with nine catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. Darrell Nichols had five catches for 66 yards and a touchdown, while Trey Wilson caught two passes, one a 29-yard TD.
Central State was led by Terraris Saffold, who rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
The Panthers are back home next weekend when they host Albany State University at 2 p.m. at CAU Panther Stadium