By Edythe Bradley
Albany State University’s Stanley Jennings guaranteed a win over Morehouse College on Saturday. The junior quarterback made good on up his guarantee, rushing for a touchdown and throwing a touchdown pass to lead the Golden Rams to a 13-12 come-from-behind victory to spoil the Maroon Tigers’ homecoming celebration at B.T. Harvey Stadium in Atlanta. The Golden Rams remain undefeated at 8-0 and 7-0 in SIAC play, while Morehouse drops to 6-2 overall and 5-2 in the conference.
Jennings passed for 202 yards and completed 19 of 31 passes, including a five-yard pass to Ronnie Childs with just 18 seconds on the clock to give the Rams the win. Jennings was also the game’s leading rusher with 73 yards on the ground.
After a Golden Rams’ turnover on downs, Morehouse scored first with a six-yard pass from quarterback Byron Ingram to Derrick Hector on an 11-play, 72-yard drive with 10 seconds before the half. Ian Mullen’s missed PAT gave the Tigers a 6-0 lead.
Early in the third quarter, Jennings completed a pass to Octavius Staton on the Rams’ second possession. Stanton fumbled and Tiger Darrius Williams recovered the ball on the Morehouse 39 yard line. The Tigers went three and out, and punted the ball to for a fair catch at the Rams’ six yard line. On the Rams’ next possession, Jennings threw an interception to Charlie Wilson who returned the ball four yards to set up a scoring drive for the Tigers. Three plays and 11 yards later, Donnay Ragland, who replaced Ingram after he suffered an injury, ran four yards to score for the Tigers. Mullen missed his second PAT on the day, giving the Tigers a 12-0 lead with 8:59 left in the third quarter. Ingram passed for 167 yards and completed 17 of 28 passes, and Ragland, who rushed for 10 yards on six carries, completed two of three for 25 yards.
Morehouse held Albany State scoreless until the fourth quarter, marking the first time this season the Golden Rams have gone scoreless in the first half. Jennings scored on a 12-yard rush on ASU’s first possession on a three-play, 60-yard drive. Junior kicker Tory Torstenson, five-for-five and playing his third game of the season, kicked a successful PAT to bring the Rams to within six points of the Tigers. Torstenson had the only successful PAT attempt of the game.
Jennings masterminded ASU’s third possession of the quarter and marched the Rams 87 yards on 11 plays to score. Jennings rushed for 45 yards during the drive, and completed four passes, including a 22-yard pass to freshman Orion Ponder and two passes to junior Octavius Staton, the second of which put the Rams on the Morehouse 11 yard line. Childs caught the winning touchdown with 18 seconds to seal ASU’s victory. The Rams went for two points on the PAT, but LiRonnie Davis was stopped outside the end zone. The Maroon Tigers picked up 18 yards on their final possession in an attempt to score, but Millen’s 61-yard field goal attemped failed.
The ASU “Dirty Blue” defense held the Maroon Tigers to just 51 rushing yards, including a 44-yarder by David Carter. Senior Ernest Seay led the “Dirty Blue” with 11 tackles, including eight solos and senior Frederick Green added eight tackles with a sack. Senior Jacob Hardwick had five tackles, 2.5 sacks, one quarterback hurry, and forced a fumble. Junior Rashad McRae had an interception return for 29 yards.
The Maroon Tiger defense was led by Darrius Williams with nine tackles, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Brandon Cunningham added six tackles. Olajuwaun Good and Charlie Wilson had interceptions for the Tigers.
The undefeated Golden Rams will face the Stillman College Tigers on Saturday, Oct. 30 in the Prince Hall Shriners Diabetes Classic and ASU’s final home game of the season. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at the Albany State University Coliseum.
Jennings is a nominee for the Heritage Sports Radio Network’s national football fan poll award. Jennings was selected as one of four nominees for the National Player of the Week award for his outstanding performance against Morehouse.
A junior from Marietta, Ga., Jennings orchestrated ASU’s fourth quarter 13-12 come-from-behind win over Morehouse. He completed 19 of 31 passes for 202 yards, including the game winning five yard pass with 18 seconds on the clock. He also led the Golden Rams in rushing with 73 yards on 15 carries, including a 12 yard TD run. Jennings finished the game with 253 yards of total offense.
HSRN honors the top-performances on the gridiron for Division I FCS and Div. II each week. To add to the excitement, fans across the country can be a part of the action by casting votes for the player they think had the top performance in HBCU football. Fans can cast their votes for Jennings by visiting www.HSRN.com. Voting will be available on the HSRN.com home page (Fan Poll) until Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m.
Other nominees this week, who are all from Division II programs, are Kevin Atkins, quarterback at Shaw University, Kameron Smith, quarterback at Winston Salem State University, and Walter Sanders, running back at St. Augustine’s.
Jennings, meanwhile, was named the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s Newcomer of the Week, and junior offensive lineman Ricory Green received Offensive Lineman of the Week honors.
An Albany native, Green was a key anchor on the ASU “Gold Rush” offensive line that helped lead the Golden Rams to 334 total offensive yards, including 202 passing and 132 rushing yards on 59 total plays. He graded out at 92 percent.
Three other Golden Rams received honorable mention recognitions for their performances against the Maroon Tigers: Childs, Hardwick and Torstenson.