By Edythe Bradley
Albany State University’s LiRonnie Davis rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown, and Stanley Jennings passed for 174 yards and touchdown to lead the Golden Rams to a 28-14 victory over the Savannah State University Tigers in the inaugural “Rumble in the Swamp” classic Saturday afternoon.
The No. 16 Golden Rams and Tigers rumbled before a crowd of 9,273 fans at Memorial Stadium in Waycross, Ga.
Late in the first quarter, Davis, whose longest rush of the day was 37 yards, scored first for the Golden Rams on six-play, 68-yard drive, and Brandon Hamilton’s good PAT gave the Rams a 7-0 lead. The Rams scored again when Jennings hit Christopher Oliver with a six-yard pass on their first possession early in the second quarter on a 10-play, 73-yard drive. Hamilton’s PAT gave the Rams a 14-0 lead with 13:44 on the clock. Eight plays and 82 yards later, the Rams upped the score to 21-0 when Robert Welton rushed three yards to the Tiger end zone with 56 seconds before the half. Welton rushed for 75 yards on 15 carries.
The Golden Rams increased their lead to 28-0 when Kareem Hess, who rushed for 76 yards on three carries, scored on a 35-yard rush in the third quarter with 4:53 on the clock.
On Albany State’s next possession, Savannah State’s Rashaud Ferrell forced Welton to fumble for a loss of six yards to ASU 48. Mathew Smith recovered the ball at the ASU 45, setting up a three-play, 45-yard scoring drive for the Tigers. A.J. DeFilippis connected with Dylan Cook for six yards and Derek Williams’ PAT gave the Tigers seven points on the board with 1:29 left in the third quarter.
The Rams were unable to score on a fourth and one early in the fourth quarter. The Tigers, under quarterback Antonio Bostic, took possession and marched 99 yards on 11 plays to score. Sheldon Barnes rushed five yards and Williams’ PAT gave the Tigers 14 points with 5:41 remaining. DeFilippis passed for 153 yards, completing 15 of 24 passes, and Bostic led SSU rushers with 61 yards on six carries to lead the Tigers to a season-high 302 total offensive yards, which included only 78 rushing yards. Simon Heyward had 10 receptions for 104 yards for the Tigers.
Jennings and Davis led the ASU “Gold Rush” offense to 465 total offensive yards, including 291 rushing and 174 passing yards. Octavius Staton led ASU receivers with two catches for 50 yards, and Ronnie Childs had two for 31 yards.
Ernest Seay led ASU’s “Dirty Blue” defense with 10 tackles (six solos), a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry. Gary Howard had four tackles and a sack, and Jacob Hardwick and Justin Blash also had four tackles.
Chris Asbury and J. Vince Cochran recorded 11 tackles each to lead the Tiger defense. Darren Hunter had 10 tackles and an interception for 16 yards.
The classic, sponsored by the 100 Black Men of Southeast Georgia, Inc. and the 100 Black Men of Valdosta, Inc., was the 60th meeting of the schools. ASU leads the series 42-16-2. The Golden Rams improve to 4-0 on the season, while the Tigers drop to 0-4.
The Rams will return home to face the Lane College Dragons on Oct. 2. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at the ASU Coliseum.