Growing up, there were only two days – Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Now, there is Grandparents Day, Siblings Day, Aunt and Uncle Day, and Cousins Day. I’m all about family but when did all these people get a day. Not to be out done, there is now Donut Day, Pizza Day, Beer Day, and Tequila Day. Now these are some days I can appreciate, especially the last one. The month of September is filled with its share of days as well. There is Make Your Bed Day, Blueberry Popsicle Day, Crush a Can Day, and Tailgating Day (this should be every Saturday and Sunday during football season). By the authority of myself and the state of Alabama I now announce that September 10th will be Tiger Day. Why?
September 10th marked the playing of the third annual White Water Classic football game between the Albany State Golden Rams and the Tuskegee Golden Tigers. The game was played in Phenix City, AL at Garrett-Harrison Stadium. The 15th ranked Tigers started out slow, giving up an early field goal to the Rams. They did answer with a 76-yard touchdown drive. It was the second game of the season for both teams, and it showed early on. Both offenses struggled getting into a rhythm, with neither team scoring in the second quarter. The Tigers led 7-3 at halftime. The Rams took the opening possession of the third quarter and moved down the field, only to be stalled by a missed field goal. They turned to their defense for a momentum swing. They got pressure on quarterback Kevin Lacey, causing a fumble at the Tigers 3-yard line. On the very next play, Jarvis Small scored, giving the Rams a 10-7 lead. This is the point when the Tigers decided to play football. Lacey would get the offense going on another 76-yard touchdown drive to take a 14-10 lead in the third quarter. This apparently inspired the defense, which held the Rams to three-and-out. Lacey wasted no time scoring after the ensuing punt. He threw a 41-yard touchdown to Leo Gilbert to lead 21-10 at the end of the third quarter. If that wasn’t enough, Lacey answered in the fourth quarter with a 51-yard pass to Desmond Reece to give the Tigers a 28-10 lead. The Tigers proved to be more golden than the Rams, as they would score 21 unanswered points in 12 minutes for a 28-18 victory. Lacey finished 11-of-19 for 250 yards passing and three touchdowns, and was named SIAC (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) Player of the Week.
As one Tigers game was ending, another was beginning 30 miles down the road. The Auburn Tigers were playing the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, AL. Both teams were coming off losing efforts from last week. The Wolves were 31-10 losers to Toledo, and Auburn was 19-13 losers to Clemson. No team wants to start the year 0-2. The Tigers defense was great last week and was looking to duplicate that effort. All the questions were about the offense and head coach Gus Malzahn’s play calling. Would he continue to use three quarterbacks in the game, even on the same drive? Thankfully the answer was no. Quarterback Sean White was the starter and only came out of the game when his helmet came off and the game was out of reach. He was 17-of-23 for 244 yards passing and three touchdowns. The Tigers got back to their identity, running the football. They rushed for 462 total yards. Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson rushed for 152 and 124 yards respectively. The Tigers put up 706 total yards of offense, 7 yards shy of breaking a school record against Western Carolina in 2013. They would take a 38-7 lead into halftime, even scoring a touchdown on a fake field goal by kicker Daniel Carlson. In the second half the Tigers would dial it back a little, by outscoring the Wolves 13-7. They never punted in the game, which led to a 51-14 final. It’s amazing the confidence White showed when he could get into a rhythm and not worry about being shuffled in and out of the game every other play. He even commented, “There’s confidence, because (Malzahn) believed in me. He’s seen enough football and a lot of quarterbacks and you know if he’s putting his full trust in me that gives me an extra confidence boost. And it lets the team kind of know that, ‘OK, Sean is our guy.’”
This week, go ahead and enjoy Eat a Hoagie Day, Double Cheeseburger Day, and Step Family Day. Don’t forget to mark your calendars next year for September 10th on Tigers Day.