Texas Southern nearly overcame a 20-point halftime deficit with a spirited second half but fell short as Alabama State claimed a 27-21 victory at BBVA Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers quickly found themselves down 14-0 in the first quarter but as the quarter came to an end, the Tiger defense woke everyone up as Erick Garcia recovered an ASU fumble at the ASU 8. The Tigers overcame a first down sack and cut the deficit in half as DeAndre Johnson found Tariq Buchanan for an 11-yard touchdown reception followed by the Brady Obholtz PAT.
ASU added to its tally with a touchdown midway through the second quarter as they led 21-7. On the ensuing drive, TSU was on the verge of putting together a score but the drive stalled at the ASU 38 as they were forced to punt. The Hornets would find the endzone late in the first half once again but the PAT was blocked as they went into the half ahead 27-7.
After an intense halftime speech by head coach Clarence McKinney, the Tiger defense rose to the occasion to open the second half with a pair of sacks on its opening drive. Two drives later, the defense once again made a big play as freshman Ja’Corey Benjamin picked off an ASU pass and returned it to the TSU 41.
The TSU offense took advantage of the gift as DeAndre Johnson found Donnie Corley early in the drive for a 34-yard reception. The Tigers went back to the run and was successful as Johnson rushed in from 15 yards out for a 27-14 margin after the PAT with four minutes left.
The Tiger defense kept up the intensity as Jarryl Taylor recorded the strip-sack which was recovered by Jadrian McGraw at the ASU 26. However, the Tigers failed to capitalize as ASU had two sacks to force a punt. The defense forced a punt to open the fourth quarter and the offense continued to have success on the ground as LaDarius Owens opened with a 16-yard run. Four plays later, Dominic Franklin drew the Tigers to within a touchdown as he broke free for a 34-yard touchdown run.
Down 27-21 after the PAT, the next big turning point occurred on ASU’s second drive of the quarter as Tim Walton, Jr. forced an ASU fumble and made the recovery at the TSU 46. The offense would drive all the way to the ASU 27 but the drive came to an end with a fourth-down sack.
ASU would rely on its ground game to chew up the clock as they converted three third downs and ate six minutes off the clock. TSU would get the ball back with only three seconds left but couldn’t convert the final play.
LaDarius Owens led TSU with 78 yards on 17 carries while Johnson passed for 160 yards and a touchdown. Dallas Blacklock, Jr., Jadrian McGraw, and Jarryl Taylor all had nine tackles with Taylor recording 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
Texas Southern is off next weekend and closes the 2019 season Nov. 23 at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
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