Greene County News
WILBERFORCE — Ranked in the top 20 in the American Football Coaches Association and NCAA Division II national polls, the Golden Tigers of Tuskegee University lived up to their billing against the Marauders of Central State University with a convincing 42-14 victory, Saturday Oct. 29 at McPherson Memorial Stadium.
TU opened the scoring with a six-play, 61-yard drive, capped off by a Brandon Wilson touchdown run from 11 yards out at the 7:17 mark of the first quarter. The Marauders managed to pull even with the Tigers, 7-7, thanks mostly to the legs of quarterback Lavon Meeks. The junior quarterback had runs of 17, 12 and 8 yards to lead his team on a 75-yard touchdown drive with 9:38 left in the first half.
Midway through the second quarter, a high snap on a CSU punt attempt resulted in a first-and-goal situation for Tuskegee. The Golden Tigers took advantage as 6-foot-4 receiver Javarius Cheatham hauled in a pass in the corner of the end zone to put his team up, 14-0. On the ensuing possession, Jonah McCutcheon picked off a Meeks pass and returned it 45 yards for another TU score. A stunned Marauder team entered the break trailing 21-7.
The decision to defer until the second half paid off for the Golden Tigers, who took their first possession of the second half 61 yards for another score and a 21-point lead. Trailing 28-7, the Marauders attempted to catch TU off guard with a fake punt, but the Golden Tigers quickly diagnosed the play for a loss of 7 yards. Taking over on the CSU 24 yard line, TU’s Kenny Gant ran in for the score to balloon the Tuskegee lead to 35-7. A poor punt gave TU excellent field position again as quarterback Jamarcus Ezell and the offense set up on the CSU 27 yard line. Ezell picked up 15 yards on the first play and power back Eric Bright finished the drive with a TD as TU put the game out of reach, 42-7.
The Marauders manufactured a 75-yard touchdown drive to start the fourth quarter, sparked by a 30-yard screen pass to junior Darrien Nelson. Senior D’Michael Jackson capped off the drive from 2 yards out to narrow the gap, 42-14. CSU threatened on its next offensive possession, but a Kali James sack backed the Marauders out of the red zone and resulted in a turnover on downs. With complete control of the game, Tuskegee managed to run down the clock on the way to the team’s fourth-straight win over the Marauders.
Tuskegee improved to 7-1 overall with a 5-1 mark in Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play. They also improved to 2-1 in the SIAC West Division. TU combined for 227 yards on the ground in the victory. Gant led the rushing attack with 61 yards and one score. TU quarterbacks only passed the ball 20 times completing eight passes for 77 yards. Desmond Reece hauled in a game-high six receptions for 61 yards. The TU pass rush combined for six sacks for a cumulative loss of 30 yards. Tuskegee travels to Fairfield, Ala. to take on Miles College next week.
The Marauders fell to 1-7 on the season. CSU sits in fifth place in the SIAC West with a 1-6 conference mark and a 1-3 divisional record. Meeks led all players on the afternoon with 107 yards on the ground and 119 yards through the air. Jackson carried the ball 20 times for 54 yards and a touchdown. Nelson led the CSU receivers with four catches for 47 yards. Defensive back Nehemiah Coward led the team with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery. Clim Robbins and Devon Cunningham each had one interception.
The Marauders conclude the 2016 season against Southwest Baptist at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5.