HUNTSVILLE, AL – The Jackson State football team outlasted the Alabama A&M Bulldogs and earned a 26-20 win Saturday at Louis Crews Stadium on the Alabama A&M campus. The Tigers clinched their second straight SWAC Eastern Division title. JSU will face Southern for the 2013 SWAC Championship game which will be held on Dec. 7 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.
With the win the Tigers remain undefeated in conference play, posting an 8-0 SWAC record. AAMU falls to a 3-5 SWAC mark.
JSU committed costly turnovers and the Bulldogs dominated the first quarter of play, putting 10 points on the scoreboard. After giving up a 55-yard kickoff return to the AAMU 15 yard line on the opening drive of the game, the JSU defense held and forced a 32-yard field goal. The Bulldogs led 3-0 at the 12:49 mark in the first. With 6:11 left in the first AAMU scored its first touchdown when Montauri Smith hauled in a 21 yard pass from Jaymason Lee. The extra point kick made the score 10-0.
In the second quarter, the JSU shook off the rust and controlled the quarter. After allowing 21 yard field goal to AAMU's Cesar Ramon the Tigers scored 13 straight points. On JSU's first drive of the second quarter the Tigers drove 81 yards in four plays. Clayton Moore opened the drive with a 20 yard strike to Zach Pendleton and a 13-yard pass to Tobias Singleton. More then connected with Michael Perkins for a 23 yard touchdown pass, the first receiving TD of the season for Perkins. Ryan Deising connected on the point after kick to make the score 13-7. At the 4:22 mark Deising connected on a 20 yard field goal cut the AAMU lead to 13-10. With 1:38 left in the first half Deising tied the game 13-13 with another 20 yard field goal.
JSU scored the only points in the third quarter. The Tigers scored on the opening drive of the second half. During the drive Moore connected with three different receivers and was a perfect 4-4 in passing. He hit Pendleton for a 12 yard completion and found Perkins twice – once on a 14 yard strike and then again on a 26 yard play to the AAMU 24 yard line. Moore then connected with Tobias Singleton for a 24 yard touchdown. Deising's kick gave JSU a 20-13 advantage.
JSU added two more field goals in the fourth quarter. Deising connected from 22 yards out at the 10:47 mark and a 39-yarder at the 3:41 mark. The two field goals made the score 26-13. AAMU scored the final touchdown of the game when Smith hauled in a one yard pass from Lee with 1:16 left in the game. On the ensuing kickoff, AAMU attempted an onside kick which JSU recovered and ran the remaining seconds off the clock.
Defensively, the Tigers used a bend but don't break philosophy but made big plays when it counted. Ryan Griffin made one of the key plays of the game that set up a JSU score. With JSU trailing 13-10 late in the second quarter he picked off a Lee pass and returned it 45 yards to the AAMU six yard line. Four plays later Deising connected on a field goal. The Tigers were also able to put pressure on the AAMU signal caller. JSU recorded three sacks (Caleb Lester, Tedderick Terrell and Ariane McCree each recorded a sack) and seven tackles for loss).
The JSU offense out-gained AAMU 476 to 310. The Tigers rushed for 128 yards and passed for another 348. Rakeem Sims led JSU's ground attack with 89 yards. Moore led the passing attack, completing 18 of 31 pass attempts for 311 yards and two touchdowns. Pendleton finished with a game high nine receptions for 193 yards.
In special teams play Darcy Williamson averaged 49 yards per punt and booted a punt 68 yards. McCree led the defense with 11 tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss. John McNabb followed with seven tackles and a tackle for loss.
Jackson State returns to action Saturday, Nov. 16 when the Tigers host Alcorn State at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. Kick-off is set for 2 pm and all JSU fans are asked to "Black Out" Memorial Stadium.
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