Courtesy of Fort Valley State Athletics
MACON, Ga. – In one of the toughest endings in recent seasons, the Wildcats celebrated and moments later had it taken away. With 18 seconds left in the game from the Savannah State 32-yard line, Fort Valley State quarterback Kelvin Durham connected with Fralon Warren in the back right of the end zone and moments later had the play overturned. Following a defensive pass interference in the end zone on the next play, FVSU had one last pass attempt fall short and allowed Savannah State to escape with the 28-24 football win in the Central City HBCU Classic Saturday night.
After the Tigers (4-5/3-3 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference East) defense raced a fumble 34 yards to rush into the lead, 21-17, with 10:09, the Wildcats (7-2/4-2 SIAC East) answered right back. FVSU drove 66 yards on 10 plays with Emanuel Wilson taking care of the final 35 yards on four-straight carries, including the final 10 yards for a 21-17 advantage with 5:22 remaining.
Savannah State, though, had its own response. On the 10th-play of the drive, Jadon Adams leaned forward enough to break the plain of the goal line on 3rd-and-goal with 1:03 left for a 28-24 advantage.
Taking over on their own 35-yardline, Durham hit Hakeem Ellington over the middle and targeting flags flew from the Tigers secondary. After a lone conference, the targeting was taken away, as well as, the catch. Durham, though, hit Wilson and Warren on back-to-back passes totaling 43 yards to the SSU 27-yard with 34 seconds still left. Following a offensive line false start and a short incompletion, the Durham to Warren reversed continued the final trio of tough plays to end the FVSU night.
After only having only two yards rushing in the first half, the SIAC’s leading back, Wilson ran for 117 yards in the final 30 minutes to finish with 119 on 25 carries and scoring runs of 20 and 10 yards. He also pulled in four passes for 52 yards.
Durham completed 12 of 25 pass attempts for 146 yards and an 11-yard scoring strike to Warren in the second frame and rushed for 54 yards on six carries. Warren finished with two catches for 35 yards, while Corintheus Edmonds totaled 34 yards on three passes and Shaw Robinson added 25 yards on two receptions.
Kentrell Lawson paced the FVSU defense with 13 tackles and Adeon Farmer had eight stops with both having 1.5 tackles for loss. Deon Andrew and Tyler Moore chipped in seven and six tackles. Amaury Hutchinson and Lataj Wright picked off Tiger passes in the first half.
Savannah State outgained FVSU by a 372-330 margin. Quarterback Adams ran 109 yards on 11 carries with the majority coming from the game’s first score coming on 60 yards. Shamarcus Poole finished with 81 yards on 20 carries with a two-yard score.
FVSU did have its first-half chances to get points and establish control in the first half. Following a SSU punt on the game’s opening drive, Durham raced 43 yards down the right sideline on the second FVSU offensive play to the 11-yardline. Wilson carried the ball to the Tiger two-yardline on the next three plays, but the back was stopped on 4th-and-two for no gain.
The Wildcat defense saw Hutchinson pick off a pass batted at the line of scrimmage on the visiting five-yard line with 5:00 left in the first period. Wright made it two FVSU interceptions on the first play of the second quarter. The Wildcats were forced to punt after both interceptions and kept the Tigers close and in the game.
Tied at 7-7 at intermission, FVSU went ahead for the first time right away on only four plays having the ball first in the third quarter. Wilson ran for the first 20 yards on the opening two carries and rumbled in from 20 yards to finish the 55-yard drive and first lead of the night, 14-7, only 1:39 into the half. Five minutes later, Rodney Williams connected on a 29-yard field goal for the largest lead of the night for either team, 17-7.
FVSU will aim to rebound in its biggest rivalry game next Saturday, Nov. 5. The Wildcats head to Columbus, Ga., for the 32nd Annual Fountain City Classic against the Golden Rams of Albany State in a 2 p.m. kick-off.
Next Game: vs. Albany State University 11/5/2022 | 2 p.m.
|06:15 – SSU – Adams,Jadon 60 yd run (Tome,Henry kick), 7 plays, 95 yards, TOP 03:15||0||7|
|03:55 – FVU – Warren,Fralon 11 yd pass from Durham,Kelvin (Williams,Rodney kick) 4 plays, 26 yards, TOP 02:11||7||7|
|13:21 – FVU – Wilson,Emmanuel 20 yd run (Williams,Rodney kick), 4 plays, 55 yards, TOP 01:32||14||7|
|08:03 – FVU – Williams,Rodney 29 yd field goal 7 plays, 43 yards, TOP 03:56||17||7|
|11:48 – SSU – Poole,Shamarcus 2 yd run (Tome,Henry kick), 12 plays, 43 yards, TOP 06:09||17||14|
|10:09 – SSU – Jackson,Marlon 34 yd fumble recovery (Tome,Henry kick)||17||21|
|05:22 – FVU – Wilson,Emmanuel 10 yd run (Williams,Rodney kick), 10 plays, 66 yards, TOP 04:39||24||21|
|01:03 – SSU – Adams,Jadon 1 yd run (Tome,Henry kick), 10 plays, 65 yards, TOP 04:19||24||28|