SAVANNAH STATE 49, CLARK ATLANTA 14
Courtesy of ssuathletics.com
SAVANNAH, GA.— Savannah State University counts on its defense to keep points off the scoreboard, but Saturday the unit did a good job adding points for the Tigers.
And the returning alumni on Homecoming left Theodore A. Wright Stadium happy after a 49-14 victory over Clark Atlanta University.
“Momentum is a funny thing. It can go one way or the other and it went our way in the fourth quarter,” Head Coach Shawn Quinn said. “I was worried about this game all week. A couple of defensive plays reignited us.”
A big crowd of 6,000 was on hand, including Savannah dignitaries Mayor Van Johnson, former Mayors Edna Jackson and Chatham County Chairman Chester Ellis—all graduates of Savannah State—as well as former Savannah mayor and Clark Atlanta graduate Otis Johnson.
Throughout the day, SSU recognized donors who combined to give $717,000 in charitable contributions back to the University.
But a festive day was getting a little too close for comfort. Leading 21-14 early in the fourth quarter, the Tigers punted to Clark Atlanta. A Panther completion picked up first-down yardage, but defensive back Le’Vonte Larry dislodged the ball from the receiver and Timothy Campbell returned the loose ball 18 yards to the Clark 10-yard line.
Two plays later, Malyk Walker scored from the 4 and SSU had some breathing room with a 28-14 advantage.
Walker’s burst began a 28-point fourth-quarter surge for the Tigers, who set a school record with their sixth straight victory of the season.
The defense contributed another fourth-quarter score when 290-pound tackle Salik McCrae returned a fumble 67 yards for a score.
“We want the game to be on us,” said defensive tackle Makenly Newbill, who tied Larry with a team-high five tackles. Newbill also had 1 ½ sacks.
Quinn said the defense used more man-to-man concepts in the second half to slow down Clark Atlanta which had clawed back to one-score deficit after falling behind 21-0.
“I was concerned,” Quinn said. “Midway through the third quarter it didn’t look good. Give credit to our players. They found a way to make some plays and put distance between them and us.”
Savannah State football will host Clark Atlanta during a Homecoming game, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at Theodore A. Wright Stadium in Savannah, Ga. (SSU Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Savannah State, now 6-1 and 4-0 in SIAC, used a quick start and a highlight reel touchdown run from Einaj Carter, nicknamed “Quick Six,” to get the homecoming party started.
The Tigers used big plays to build a 21-0 lead less than two minutes into the second quarter. The option attack, which produced 279 rushing yards, carved out runs of 17, 12 and 14 yards on its first three plays of the game and SSU finished the 5-play, 55-yard TD drive with Shamarcus Poole’s 1-yard run.
On the third possession, Carter had a 73-yard TD run, adding a basketball-like spin to break away from a potential tackler en route to the endzone to make it 14-0.
Why did his coaches start calling him “Quick Six?”
“That’s what they recruited me for, to make plays,” said Carter, who later had an electrifying 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown called back because of a penalty.
Carter finished with a team-high 109 rushing yards on just six carries.
Early in the second quarter, Clark Atlanta decided to punt on fourth-and-2 at the SSU 37. Ny’em Bozeman, a star in the high jump on the school’s track team, registered a blocked punt and, for the third time this season, returned it for a touchdown and the Tigers were rolling, 21-0.
But not so fast.
The Panthers pinned SSU deep in its territory midway through the quarter and Ross Tyrese blocked Kenneth Lockhart’s punt on fourth down.
Clark took over at the 1. After two plays, the Tiger defense pushed the Panthers back to the 4 but, on third down, Clark used some trickery to get on the scoreboard. Quarterback Elijah Odom handed to running back Daquon Kincey who threw back to a wide-open Odom for the touchdown, cutting SSU’s lead to 21-7.
In the third quarter, Odom hooked up with Kendall Wimberly on a 6-yard TD toss and SSU’s lead was trimmed to 21-14.
But the Tiger defense came up big in the fourth quarter and two scoring runs by Walker and a TD throw of 57 yards from JT Hartage to Audunte Deveraux ballooned the final margin of victory.
Finally, the Tigers could turn their attention to next Saturday’s key SIAC showdown on the road against Albany State. Both teams have received votes in the American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches Poll (ASU 11, SSU 1) and the Boxtorow poll tabulated from votes by HBCU football media (ASU is ranked seventh, SSU 10th).
“(Albany State is) playing as well as anyone in the league. It’s a big rivalry for us,” Quinn said
Courtesy of Sneakershoptalk.com
The Albany State Golden Rams(6-1, 3-0) continued their winning ways, hitting the road to take care of the Tigers of Benedict College, (3-4, 0-3) 28-6. What looked like it may be a close battle, was ultimately decidedly rather decisively , by plays from the Albany State running game and their defense.
The Tigers struck first, and it came from their defense. Benedict quarterback Darius Philon’s second pass attempt of the day was picked off by ASU’s Jarre Turner deep in their own territory. The Golden Rams offense was in a giving mood , for on their first offensive play following the turnover, Dionte’ Bonneau’s pass was intercepted by Keevan Ross and taken 52 yards to the house to give the Tigers up 6-0 after the failed PAT.
Albany State would take the lead , 7-6, late in first quarter when Bonneau would atone for his previous mistake by connecting on a 22 yard touchdown pass to Tori Sapp to complete a drive that included a 3rd and 53.
The score would remain 7-6 heading into halftime, as the second quarter was chock full of punts, the second interception of a Rams quarterback ( Fern Romero of Tray Bishop) and an impressive goal line stance by the Benedict defense, stuffing Marcuis Fulks on a 4th and 1 from the 1 yard line.
The Albany State offense got right to work on their first possession in the third quarter, taking it 55 yards in 6 plays and getting in the end zone on a 7-yard Marcuis Fulks to put the Golden Rams up 14-6, following the PAT. ASU’s defense forced a fumble following a sack of Zavien Foster, which they also recovered and Stephan Pierre took it the distance 30-yards to to extend the Rams advantage to 21-7.
A 7 play, 75 yard in the fourth quarter that culminated with Fulks’ second touchdown run of the day, this one from 3 yards out to close out the day’s scoring at 28-6.
It was another strong performance from the Albany State defense, holding Benedict to just 161 yards of total offense and recording 7 sacks among 5 defenders. They have held five of their seven opponents to six points or fewer, including three shutouts.
Albany State returns home next week to host Savannah State; kickoff time is scheduled for 2pm EST. It is homecoming for Benedict and they will play host to the Tigers of Morehouse College. This contest will also Kickoff at 2 pm EST.