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It was far from easy, but Tuskegee head coach Reginald Ruffin and his team got a 26-23 double overtime victory over Miles College. Ruffin is in his first season at Tuskegee after a successful career at Miles College. And the winning touchdown was scored by former Miles College running back Donte Edwards.

The game was played at the newly renovated Abbott Memorial Stadium, on the Tuskegee campus, and a capacity crowd of more than 35,000 showed up.

It was a slugfest most of the game with Miles College building a 13-6 halftime lead, largely thanks to 10 second quarter points on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Keller to Jaih Andrews and a 28-yard Jackson Spradlin field goal.

Tuskegee tied the game at 13 late in the third quarter on a 13-yard run by Taurean Taylor. Neither team could score again in regulation.

Edwards scored on a 25-yard run on the first play of overtime and Miles countered with a 1-yard scoring run by Jacob Millhouse. The Golden Bears settled for a Spradlin field goal in the second overtime, setting up Edwards’ game-winning 1-yard plunge. It took Tuskegee six plays to move the 25 yards with Edwards rushing for 20 yards in the Tigers eighth consecutive victory.

Edwards finished with 120 rushing yards on 19 carries.

Miles College finishes head coach Sam Shade’s first season at 1-9 overall and 1-5 in SIAC. Tuskegee (8-2 overall, 6-0 SIAC) moves on to play in the SIAC Championship Game next weekend at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina.

SAMFORD 34, VMI 15: Samford head coach Chris Hatcher won his 48th career game for the Bulldogs, making him the winningest coach in program history. He quickly deflected the praise for the achievement.

"I told the team that I haven't played a snap since 1994 in Florence, Alabama,” Hatcher said. “I have been very fortunate to have a lot of great coaches. I've been very fortunate to have a lot of great players on this current team and on former teams. Those are the guys that won those games. I knew going into the year, that to beat the record, we would have to have a very special year and thus far, the guys have come through week in and week out." 

Once again, Samford quarterback Michael Hiers put together an efficient afternoon, even though this one came with sluggish beginnings. Hiers was 30 of 38 for 322 yards with four touchdowns. It was his fifth four-touchdown game of the season.

His favorite target on Saturday was Chandler Smith, who had 10 catches for 134 yards with two touchdowns. Kendall Watson had five catches for 98 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown reception.

VMI, which fell to 1-8 overall, took a 12-7 lead into halftime. Hiers found Smith for a 49-yard touchdown pass less than a minute into the second half but VMI went back up on a field goal with 39 seconds left in the third quarter. Samford answered quickly on the long touchdown pass to Watson and never trailed again.

Samford’s run game was solid in the fourth quarter with Jaylan Thomas icing the win with a 32-yard touchdown run. Thomas finished with 97 yards on the ground.

Samford (8-1 overall, 6-0 Southern Conference) can now look toward a huge road trip to Chattanooga (7-2, 5-1) on Saturday. Chattanooga, Furman and Mercer are all tied for second place with a 5-1 SoCon record. Conference leading Samford closes the regular season with a home game against Mercer on Nov. 19.

TROY 23, LOUSIANA 17: The game plan didn’t call for falling into a 17-point hole but that’s exactly what happened to a Troy team. The Trojans responded like a championship team.

"That first half was a butt-kicking,” said Troy head coach Jon Sumrall. “We did not play up to our standard or the way we want to play Troy Football. But you can't question the adjustments that we made. What a testament to the character of the men on our team. With our backs to the wall, we talk a lot about so what, now what. Rising to Build is our mantra, and when we are building something special, you can't stop, and we won't stop."

Troy scored the final 23 points of the game with Kimani Vidal providing the game-winner on a 22-yard run with five seconds remaining. Vidal’s touchdown run came as the Trojans were trying to set up a potential game-winning field goal. He was originally called out at the 3-yard line but a video review determined he stayed inbounds.

Vidal’s run capped off a comeback that begin with a 4th-and-goal touchdown pass for three yards from Gunnar Watson to Michael Vice on the last play of the third quarter. Watson hit Deyunkrae Lewis on a 35-yard touchdown pass with 12:01 left in the game to pull within three points. Brooks Buce tied the game on a 37-yard field goal with 2:41 left.

SOUTH ALABAMA 38, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 31: La’Damian Webb and more La’Damian Webb was the offensive plan for the Jaguars as they found a way to win at a tough venue for opposing teams.

Webb missed some practice time this week because he had the flu. He didn’t miss any time on Saturday. Webb rushed for a school-record 247 yards on a school-record 35 carries. The bulk of his output came in the final two quarters as Webb rushed for 179 yards in the second half.

As a team, South Alabama rushed for 321 yards and had 514 yards overall. The Jaguars needed every one of those yards to overcome a 31-17 third quarter deficit. Webb had touchdown runs of 5, 5 and 9 yards in the final 18 minutes of the game.

South Alabama also came up with three key defensive stops during that time, forcing two punts and stopping Georgia Southern on downs near midfield with Jalen Jordan making a first-down saving tackle with 4:17 left in the game. The Jaguars ran out the clock after that.
 

HUNTINGDON 34, N.C. WESLEYAN 17: The Hawks are USA South champions after winning for the eighth consecutive game. Quarterback Landon Cotney threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another in the victory.

The Hawks had some trouble shaking the home team, leading just 14-10 midway through the third quarter. But they outscored N.C. Wesleyan, 24-10, the rest of the way to earn the win. Cotney’s 13-yard run was followed by a 4-yard pass from Cotney to Preston Boesen. The Hawks then sealed the win with a 49-yard interception return by Miller Park.

BETHEL UNIVERSITY 59, FAULKNER 6: The Eagles managed just two Caden Davis field goals against the No. 4 ranked team in the nation. Faulkner had just 166 yards in offense and turned the ball over four times.

Ben Anderson threw for 119 yards with two interceptions and was sacked five times.

WEST ALABAMA 38, MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE 16: Mississippi College is the best running team in the Gulf South Conference. On Saturday, though, the Choctaws were the second best running team at Tiger Stadium.

West Alabama posted 303 rushing yards on the ground with Bry Webb rushing for a game-high 144 yards. Demetrius Battle and Antonio Brown combined for 130 yards and quarterback Tucker Melton rushed for two touchdowns.

“When you were a kid, you always wanted to go outside and play in the rain and we got to do that today and have some fun,” said West Alabama head coach Brett Gilliland. “I am so proud for these 14 seniors that have done so much for this program. Our plan was to run the football and the offensive line gutted it out and rose to the challenge. There was a lot that went into the week of preparation. Obviously, this year has gone like we wanted. We could have folded, but we didn’t.”

The Choctaws rushed for 235 yards.

AUSTIN PEAY 38, UNA 35: The Lions, playing in the first game with Ryan Held as the interim head coach, jumped to a 14-0 lead on a 41-yard run by ShunDerrick Powell and a 33-yard pass from Noah Walters to Takairee Kenebrew. That hot start eventually melted into a 17-point deficit early in the second half. but the Lions fought until the end.

UNA pulled within 31-28 with 9:27 left on a 23-yard run by Walters. Austin Peay answered four minutes later on a 13-yard pass from Mike DiLiello to Drae McCray. UNA was able to pull with three on a 32-yard pass from Walters to Demarcus Lacey with 16 seconds remaining. The Lions recovered Sam Contorno’s onside kick but the Walters’ interception ended the game.

Powell rushed for 207 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns. UNA safety Jeffery Battle had 13 tackles with one tackle for loss.

ALABAMA STATE 37, BETHUNE-COOKMAN 22: The Hornets scored the final 17 points of the game to win their third game in a row.

The Wildcats pulled ahead, 22-20, with 3:44 left in the third quarter on a 6-yard pass from Jalon Jones to Kamari Averett. Alabama State’s Dematrius Davis then went to work, Hornet head coach Eddie Robinson, Jr. made a gutsy decision and the Hornets defense clamped down.

Davis converted a third down on a 30-yard pass to Jacory Merritt and then found Jeremiah Hixon for a 32-yard touchdown to give the Hornets a 27-22 lead with 55 seconds left in the third quarter. The Hornets executed an onside kick, getting the ball back near midfield, and Davis’ 26-yard touchdown run on the opening play of the fourth quarter gave Alabama State some breathing room.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email steve.irvine@1819news.com.

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