JACKSON, Tenn. — The Central State Marauders lost to the Dragons of Lane College, 28-20, in the final game of the 2017 season Nov. 4.
The loss dropped the Marauders to a final overall record of 1-9 with an 0-6 mark in Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play. Lane concluded the year with a 2-8 mark with a 1-5 mark in conference play.
In a back and forth first half, the Dragons went 75 yards for a touchdown on the opening drive of the game. The Marauders tied the game early in the second quarter when junior running back Terraris Saffold broke away for a 39-yard touchdown run.
LC immediately responded as quarterback Marcus Reynolds connected with Aaron Thomas for a 51-yard touchdown pass to put the Dragons up, 14-7. CSU answered with an 11-play, 77-yard drive ending with a 13-yard touchdown run by Darian Nelson to knot up the score, 14-14 with 4:43 left in the second quarter. Lane drove the ball into field goal range, but its 3-point attempt from 42 yards out sailed wide left as time expired.
Lane College relied heavily on the running attack in the second half. LC runners accounted for 48 of the offense’s 12-play, 55-yard touchdown drive midway through the third quarter as the Dragons took a 21-14 lead.
With the CSU offense struggling to move the ball in the second half, the Marauder defense stepped up when defensive back Blake McEwen stepped in front of a Reynolds pass attempt and ran it back 37 yards for the score. CSU failed to execute to point after attempt and trailed 21-20 with 13:47 remaining.
Lane went back to the running game, calling five straight plays for its premier back Marcus Holiday. With Holiday leading the way, Lane drove down to CSU’s 17-yard line. Facing third down with 10 yards to go, Reynolds found Holiday through the air for 16 yards. Justin Hill scored from one yard out on the next play to give Lane a 28-20 lead with 8:34 remaining.
Lane regained possession after the CSU offense was forced into a quick three-and-out. LC drove the ball down to the 28-yard line, but missed another field goal attempt with 1:50 left on the clock. With one last chance to tie the game, CSU’s last drive stalled at the 50-yard line as quarterback Trent Mays was sacked on the Marauders final offensive play of the season.
Holiday finished the afternoon with 29 attempts for 174 rushing yards. Reynolds threw for 205 yards as the Dragons offense accumulated 412 yards, compared to a 256-yard performance from CSU.
Saffold finished his day with 115 yards on 13 attempts to lead the CSU offense. Saffold finished the year with 869 rushing yards averaging 7.1 yards per carry. Freshman Kailen Abrams capped off his season with a game-high 21 tackles. Abrams finished 2017 as CSU’s leading tackler with 86.
Story courtesy of Central State University Athletics.