By Edythe Bradley
Albany State quarterback Stanley Jennings threw four touchdown passes, including three to receiver Ronnie Tubbs, to lead the No. 7 Golden Rams to a 49-28 home-opening victory over No. 23 Wingate on Saturday night in the Dr. Joseph Winthrop Holley Memorial Game in Albany. The win gives Albany State a 2-0 record, while Wingate falls to 0-2 on the season.
Late in the first quarter, Jennings led ASU on a 13-play, 81-yard drive that was finished off with a 1-yard plunge by running back Luther Edwards to take an early 7-0 lead. After a Bulldog fumble in the second quarter, ASU running back Nathan Hoyte, who led ASU rushers with 53 yards, finished off a three-play, 30-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run. On ASU’s next possession, Jennings hit Octavius Staton with a 20-yard touchdown pass to give the Golden Rams a 20-0 halftime lead.
Tubbs caught a 6-yard pass from Jennings early in the third quarter to cap off an eight-play, 75-yard drive to up ASU’s lead to 27-0. Wingate got on the scoreboard when quarterback Cody Haffly hit Chris Bowden with a 29-yard touchdown pass with 9:41 on the clock. About four minutes later, Haffly and the Bulldogs marched 70 yards on five plays and scored on a 20-yard pass from Haffly to Marquise Allen to cut the Golden Ram lead to 14. Albany State answered late in the third quarter when Jennings found Tubbs again for a 28-yard touchdown pass to give the Rams a 34-14 lead.
Albany State added more points on the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter when Jennings hit Tubbs with a 53-yard touchdown pass, their third connection of the game. Three minutes later, Golden Ram Jamarkus Gaskins scooped up a Haffly fumble and returned the ball 67 yards for a touchdown to give ASU a 46-14 lead with 10:41 remaining in the game. On the Bulldogs’ next possession, ASU linebacker A.J. Cunningham intercepted a Haffly pass and raced 40 yards to get the Rams in field goal position. Tory Torstenson kick a 40-yarder to up ASU’s score to 49-14.
The Bulldogs would not give up and answered with a pair of touchdowns late in the fourth quarter. Haffly threw an 11-yard pass to Chuby Uwadie to make the score 49-21 in favor or the Rams. With just 40 seconds on the game clock, backup quarterback Robbie Nallenweg connected with James Holston on a nine-yard pass.
Jennings completed 17 of 30 passes for 307 yards and four touchdowns while Tubbs was ASU’s top receiver with six passes for 136 yards and three touchdowns. Stanton recorded 87 yards on four receptions, and Michael Nelson caught four passes for 55 yards. ASU defender Larry Whitfield led the Golden Ram defense with nine tackles and a sack. Gary Howard had seven tackles and Rashad McRae had six tackles and forced two fumbles. The Golden Rams finished with 427 yards of total offense.
Haffly passed for 257 yards, anc completed 22 of 44 passes, with three touchdowns and an interception, while Nalleneg completed seven of 11 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. Andrew Nallenweg led Bulldog rushers with 62 yards, while Bowden caught seven receptions for 85 yards and a score. Jarvis Smith led the Bulldog defense with nine tackles.
Next weekend, the Golden Rams will take on the No. 14 Valdosta State University Blazers, who beat narrowly Wingate 34-28 in double overtime on Sept 3. The Golden Rams and Blazers will kick off at 7 p.m. at the ASU Coliseum. Tickets, which are $20 for adults and $7 for kindergarten through 12th-grade students, are on sale at the Albany State Business Office in ACAD Building, Odyssey Records, Connie’s Corner, June Bug’s Grocery and the Radium Springs Petro Store.
Albany State University quarterback Stanley Jennings threw four touchdown passes Saturday in the Golden Rams’ 49-28 home victory Saturday over Wingate. The Rams host Valdosta State on Saturday. (PHOTO BY REGINALD CHRISTIAN)