by Stanley McCormick
Junior quarterback Frank Rivers completed 18 of 36 for 209 yards, but the Albany State University Golden Rams lost to the Tuskegee University Golden Tigers 19-13 in clash of the SIAC’s preseason favorites. With the loss, ASU falls to 0-2 on the season, while Tuskegee improves to 2-0.
The first half was a defensive battle between the two SIAC perennial powers. Neither team could get much going on offense in the first quarter. Tuskegee scored the first points of the game with a 32-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 7:31 remaining in the first period.
The Golden Rams took the lead in the second quarter when Rivers scored on a 1-yard run to give ASU a 7-3 advantage with 7:02 left before halftime. Tuskegee closed the gap to 7-6 a 34-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
In the third quarter, Albany State was able to increase its’ lead thanks to solid kicking by Zachary Gayden-Holley. The sophomore made an 18-yard field goal with 9:48 remaining in the period to give the Golden Rams a 10-6 lead. Gayden-Holley made another field goal at the 7:13 mark to put ASU in front 13-6.
The Golden Tigers made a crucial play in the game when they blocked a punt by ASU’s Ryan Latner and recovered the ball at the Golden Rams’ 2-yard line. It took TU one play to score a touchdown and tie the score at 13 with 4:14 left in the third quarter.
Tuskegee took the lead for good in the fourth with an 8-yard touchdown with 5:31 remaining in the game.
Kaream Hess, who has been riddled with injuries during his Albany State career, had a breakout game with 94 rushing yards on 10 carries. Phillip Moore rushed for 73 more yards on 12 carries. Atkins led the ASU receivers with four catches for 52 yards.
Junior linebacker Larry Whitfield led the “Dirty Blue” Defense with 13 tackles (12 solo and four for eight yards lost), a forced fumble and a pass breakup. Senior safety Dexter Moody added five tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception.
The Albany State Golden Rams will once again be at home on September 21st when they face the Elizabeth City State University Vikings. Kickoff is slated 7 p.m.