Alabama A&M scored the game-winning touchdown with 42 seconds remaining as Texas Southern dropped an offensive shootout by a 52-49 margin Saturday afternoon at PNC Stadium.
TSU would strike first on its second drive of the game as Andrew Body found Jonathan Giles for a 32-yard touchdown reception for a 7-0 lead after Richard Garcia III’s PAT. AAMU would find the scoreboard on the following possession as Spencer Corey nailed a 41-yard field goal to cap off a nine-play, 34-yard drive as they trailed 7-3. TSU had an opportunity to score quickly on its next drive as Body found Ke’Lenn Davis for a 49-yard strike to the AAMU 3. However, the drive stalled as TSU turned the ball over on downs. The TSU defense came through and forced an AAMU punt and the offense rewarded them for its efforts as LaDarius Owens exploded for a 53-yard touchdown run for a 14-3 lead after the PAT.
The Bulldogs would counter with a touchdown drive to get within 14-10 at the close of the first quarter but TSU didn’t take long to answer as Body opened the second quarter with a 31-yard run to the AAMU 38. On the next play, Body connected with Derek Morton for a 38-yard touchdown pass as TSU upped the lead to 21-10.
AAMU would move the ball down the field in seven plays as Aqeel Glass found Odieu Hilaire for a 17-yard touchdown pass at the 12:04 mark as they trailed 21-17. Both teams would trade punts as TSU would end the half ahead 21-17.
AAMU opened the second half with a six-play, 73-yard drive to move ahead 24-21 after the PAT. However, the quick-strike TSU offense would answer quickly as LaDarius Owens opened the drive with a 32-yard run followed by a 44-yard touchdown pass from Body to Giles to regain a 28-24 lead. TSU forced an AAMU punt on the ensuing possession and the offense kept its foot on the gas as Owens had two big runs to set up a Dominic Franklin 3-yard touchdown run. Garcia III’s PAT was good as TSU led 35-24 with 6:09 remaining.
AAMU wouldn’t go away as Glass connected with Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim for an 81-yard touchdown on the third play of the next drive. The PAT was good as AAMU trailed 35-31. After an AAMU onside kick was illegally touched, TSU made AAMU pay with the solid field position as Body hit Jyrin Johnson for a 28-yard reception. One play later, Body did the work himself as he ran in from 15 yards out as TSU moved ahead 42-31 following the PAT. Once again, the Bulldogs kept nipping at TSU’s heels as they put together an 11-play, 70-yard drive to close the gap to 42-38 after the PAT.
The Tigers would open the fourth quarter with a bang as Body and C’ing Blanton connected on a 22-yard strike for a 49-38 lead after the PAT. AAMU would convert on a pair of third-down conversions on its next drive as Glass found Ibrahim once again for a 22-yard touchdown reception. The PAT attempt was no good as TSU led 49-44.
The following kickoff was a wild affair as Owens picked up the ball at the TSU 3 and eluded several AAMU defenders in the end zone which ultimately set up a 69-yard kickoff return to the AAMU 30. Unfortunately, TSU couldn’t capitalize on the field position as the 47-yard field goal attempt sailed right.
AAMU marched down the field on its next drive and was within striking distance again as they found themselves at the TSU 1. The TSU defense would hold AAMU out the endzone with a pair of goal-line stands on second and third down but AAMU connected on a 1-yard pass with 42 seconds left to move ahead 52-49. Cedrick Williams made a big play on the two-point conversion to keep AAMU out of the endzone which kept TSU within striking distance.
With time winding down, Body converted on a pair of third-down receptions to Davis and Owens, the latter which moved the ball to the AAMU 36 with four seconds left. However, TSU’s game-tying field goal attempt fell short as AAMU closed out the win.
TSU finished with 569 yards of offense with 270 on the ground and 299 in the air. Owens had another monster game on the field with 179 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown. Body passed for 299 yards and four touchdowns on 13-of-25 passing while Giles capped off his final home game at TSU with five receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
TSU is back in action for its 2021 season finale at Alabama State next Saturday at 2 p.m. in Montgomery, Ala.