HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Texas Southern’s attempt at its first win of the year fell short in overtime as Alabama A&M squeezed out a 35-28 win at Lewis Crews Stadium.
The Tigers were poised to get on the board on its opening drive but fumbled deep in their own territory. Two drives later, AAMU went up 7-0 behind the strength of a 20-yard touchdown pass from Aqueel Glass to Kendric Johnson.
Early in the second quarter, Devin Williams and Donnie Corley stepped up and led the Tigers on their first scoring drive of the afternoon as Williams capped off a nine-play, 62-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run untouched. TSU would force a punt on the ensuing drive and the offense moved the ball successfully via the air as as they got down to the AAMU 5. However, a first down penalty moved the ball back five yards as the drive would stall but Richard Garcia III moved TSU ahead 10-7 with a 24-yard field goal at the 6:51 mark.
AAMU needed only four plays to regain the lead as Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim caught a short pass from Glass and raced 59 yards after a missed one-on-one tackle for a 14-10 lead after the PAT with 5:10 remaining. The Tigers responded with a nine-play, 66-yard drive as Garcia nailed a 37-yard field goal for the 14-13 score. On the drive, Williams once again did well in the air with 10-plus yard receptions to Roylain Oliver and Corley coupled with big runs from LaDarius Owens and Jacorey Howard.
AAMU attempted to pad its lead entering halftime but its field goal attempt fell short for a 14-13 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs received a dose of momentum to open the second half as Gary Quarles returned the opening kick 40 yards to the AAMU 45. A key third down conversion would extend the drive as it ultimately led to a four-yard touchdown run from Jordan Bentley and a 21-13 deficit.
After a three-and-out by TSU, AAMU struck again on the first play of its next drive as wide receiver Zabrian Moore outjumped the TSU defender and scored on a 73-yard touchdown for a 28-13 lead following the PAT.
Things continued to go south for TSU as an interception was thrown on the next drive but the Tiger defense stepped up at the perfect time with a forced fumble which was recovered by Matthew Stephenson. It didn’t take long for the TSU offense to respond as Corley raced past the AAMU defense for a 50-yard score as the lead was cut to 28-20 midway through the third quarter.
TSU put together a promising drive to begin the fourth quarter as Dominic Franklin and Williams moved the Tigers down the field with several key third down conversions. Williams would make AAMU pay as he found a wide open Ke’Lenn Davis for a 40-yard strike. The ensuing two-point conversion was good as Williams ran up the gut for a 28-28 tie with 11:57 left.
Both teams would trade punts as the quarter would go on but AAMU put together a late drive and drove all the way to the TSU 18 but penalties and stellar defensive play led by Demontario Anderson forced the Bulldogs to punt. However, TSU failed to capitalize on the ensuing offensive possession and was forced to punt the ball back to AAMU with 3:02 remaining.
The Tiger defense once again made it interesting for AAMU as the Bulldogs were faced with a major decision as it was 4th-and-2 at the TSU 34 with 1:12 remaining. Both teams would trade timeouts to extend the decision-making but AAMU opted to punt and give the ball back to TSU with 1:03 left. TSU would punt on its next drive but took alot off the clock as AAMU elected to play overtime on its final drive.
A questionable pass interference penalty called on TSU gave AAMU solid field position on the first possession of overtime and they took advantage as Glass found Fatai-Ibrahim in the endzone for the score. TSU would draw within two yards of the first down but fell a yard short on fourth down as AAMU squeaked out the win.
TSU finished the contest with 464 total offensive yards while Williams passed for 252 yards on 25-of-40 passing with a pair of touchdowns. Corley led all receivers with 104 yards on eight receptions while Patrick Howell and Ike Onwuasoanya finished with eight tackles each.
TSU is back in Texas and at home literally as next week’s homecoming contest versus Missouri S&T will be played at Durley Stadium on campus. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. as tickets can be bought online at tsusports.com.