Alabama State holds off Tuskegee, 30-21, to win 88th Turkey Day Classic
Courtesy: ASU Sports Information
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Tim Clark rushed for a career high 143 yards and one touchdown in leading Alabama State to a 30-21 victory over Tuskegee in the 88th Turkey Day Classic.
Leading 23-21 late in the fourth quarter, Clark’s 39-yard run into Tuskegee territory set up his game-clinching one-yard scoring run with 1:20 remaining.
“I played to the best of my ability, for the coaches, for the team and the rest of the seniors,” said Clark, who also scored on a 17-yard scoring pass to earn Offensive MVP honors. “It’s our Super Bowl. It’s huge. We wanted to go out strong and finish.”
Alabama State (8-3) led 23-7 at halftime, and withstood a late rally by the Golden Tigers. Tuskegee (4-6) scored second-half touchdowns on an Adam Lucus 31-yard interception return and DeMario Pippen 11-yard touchdown run to cut its deficit to two points.
“I’m proud of our guys today,” head coach Reggie Barlow said of his Hornets won the Turkey Day Classic for the first time since 2008. “We have nine seniors that have been here with us and they fought hard. We wanted to win it for them and it’s a big win for us.”
On a day in which Alabama State honored its 1991 SWAC and HBCU National Championship team, Alabama State came out swinging in the first quarter.
The Hornets got off to their best start of the season, scoring a season-high 17 first quarter points. A Bobby Wenzig 29-yard field goal ended a 14-play, 82-yard drive that gave the Hornets a 3-0 lead with 7:47 to play in the opening quarter.
WR Nick Andrews’ nine-yard touchdown catch on the next drive was the 200th reception of his career and gave the Hornets a 10-0 lead.
FS Kejuan Riley’s ninth interception of the season set up Alabama State’s third score of the opening period, a one-yard touchdown run by Greg Jenkins to give the Hornets a 17-0 lead. Riley added seven tackles and was named Defensive MVP.
After a two-yard touchdown run by Pippen got Tuskegee on the board in the second quarter, Alabama State extended its lead. Devin Dominguez, filling in for Jenkins who suffered a hand injury and did not return, threw a 17-yard scoring pass to Clark to give the Hornets a 23-7 lead they would take to halftime.
• Riley’s interception of the season was also the 17th of his career, tying him with Emmanual Martin for the most in Hornets’ history since 1970.
• WR T.C. McWilliams had season highs in receptions (six) and receiving yards (106).
• Andrews’ touchdown catch was the 27th of his career, extending his career high. He also moved to second in single season receiving yards (1,095) and tied for third in touchdown catches in a season (10).
• Clark scored seven touchdowns in the final three games.
• The interception extended Alabama State’s streak to 30 consecutive games with at least one takeaway. ASU has forced 81 turnovers in that time (34 fumble recoveries/47 interceptions).
• The victory total is the most by the Hornets since 2004 when they went 10-2 and won the SWAC Championship. ASU last had an eight-win season in 2003.
• Three losses in a season is the fewest since the 2004 title campaign. It was the first three-loss season for the Hornets since 1995.
• Alabama State improved to 5-0 this season when scoring 30+ points. The Hornets have now won 12 straight games and are 32-4 since 2003 when scoring at least 30 points.