The small town of Phenix City, Alabama has produced a big time college football game. Albany State University and Tuskegee University have played in the White Water Classic for three years. In this fourth annual classic, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Tuskegee would win again. They have won each meeting, including the last seven seasons, dating back to 2010. In 2010, Albany State won 34-6. This year’s game was nationally televised on the ESPN network. Maybe those extra-long timeouts played a role in this year’s game.
Albany State’s offense was dominant. They had 462 yards of total offense on 68 plays. The Golden Rams attack was balanced as they rushed for 253 yards and 209 yards passing. They also controlled the trenches and its style of play by their 46 minutes in time of possession. If you are quick with math, then you realize that Tuskegee only held the ball for 16 minutes. They only managed 27 plays from scrimmage and a total of 119 yards on offense.
Albany State took the game’s opening drive down the field and stalled near the goal line. It was an impressive 11-play drive that unfortunately resulted in a missed field goal. Tuskegee went on the offense, and with a third and one, Hoderick Lowe broke loose for a 71-yard running touchdown. This gave them a 7-0 lead at the 5:59 mark. This would be one of their only two first downs of the day. The Golden Rams went on another long drive on their next possession. This time it was a 12-play 87-yard drive. The difference, this resulted in points. Ta’Keevian Harris scored on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Chancellor Johnson with 12:54 left until halftime. With the scored tied up, the Golden Rams played ball control on a 16-play 78-yard drive that resulted in touchdown pass from Johnson to Quadrey Simmons. Since the extra point attempt was no good, they would lead 13-7 at halftime.
You could see Tuskegee’s head coach trying to make the second half adjustments to get his offense going. They tried two quick passes but the Golden Rams’ defense was just as dominant as the offense. They were led by Marquez Thomas, who had six tackles and a sack for an 8-yard loss. They made sure Tuskegee never got back on track, forcing three and out on all but one drive after the first touchdown. The Golden Rams did not allow the Golden Tigers to cross the 50-yard line the rest of the game. They finished with only 26 yards passing. Quarterback Jamarcuz Ezell completed three of nine passing attempts, never getting into a rhythm. Albany State put the game away near the close of the third quarter with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Mike Green. Johnson was spectacular! He was 20 of 21 for 209 yards and three touchdowns. He had help though. Green had seven receptions for 100 yards. Running back McKinley Habersham had 23 carries for 144 yards. Tuskegee’s bright spot was their defense despite the above-mentioned Albany State offense. The Golden Tigers’ defense was a bend but don’t break. They were on the field for almost the entire game but kept it from getting out of control. Osband Thompson, who had 16 tackles with 12 of those being solos, led them. This linebacker is definitely a player to watch. He wears #5 and with a 6’0” 205-pound frame, he could very well be playing on Sundays. His teammates Davoris Thomas and Rashad Broadway had nine tackles and eight tackles respectively. The punter definitely played a lot more than he wanted to. Dalton Hall punted six times for 245 yards. Two of his punts were over 50 yards.
Albany State’s three unanswered scores gave them their first conference victory in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC). They currently lead the Eastern division of the conference and move to 2-0 overall. Albany State will have a non-conference game against North Greenville University on September 16 at home in Montgomery, Alabama. Tuskegee will continue their SIAC play against Clark Atlanta on September 16 in Tuskegee, Alabama. They suffered their first loss in the conference as a part of the Western division. They move to 1-1 on the season. Finally, Albany State has bragging rights at the White Water Classic.