Tigers

Owens Scores 3 Touchdowns, Tigers Come Up Big In Key Moments As They Defeat Bethune-Cookman 34-31

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Texas Southern made the plays when it counted as the Tigers earned a big 34-31 win over Bethune-Cookman on Saturday afternoon at Daytona Stadium.

Playing at BCU’s Homecoming, TSU struck first as Curtis Falkenburg’s field goal sailed through the uprights with 7:02 left in the first quarter. With no time remaining in the quarter, LaDarius Owens broke through the Wildcat defense like a missile and ran it in from 42 yards out as TSU upped the lead to 10-0 after Falkenburg’s PAT.

The TSU defense stymied BCU on the opening drive of the second quarter but a costly leaping penalty on a fourth down punt revived BCU’s drive as they took advantage and scored a touchdown run as they trailed 10-7 after the PAT.

Despite the setback, TSU would regain the edge on the ensuing drive as Jace Wilson picked up a big first down via a 17-yard run on 3rd-and-9 followed by a 23-yard pass to Trent Leary. After two JaCorey Howard runs to inch closer to the goal line, Owens would run it in from one yard as TSU upped the margin to 17-7.

BCU was deep into TSU territory on its next drive but Jacob Williams came up with a play that would have huge ramifications later on as he stripped the ball from the runner and returned it 95 yards for a touchdown and a 24-7 lead. BCU would return the kickoff 61 yards to the TSU 32 but had to settle for a field goal as the score was now 24-10.

The Tigers went hurry up at the close of the half and were successful as Wilson found Jyrin Johnson for a 29-yard reception followed by a 13-yard Wilson run which set up a 41-yard Falkenburg field goal with no time remaining and a 27-10 halftime lead.

BCU would have a long drive to open the second half as they scored on a two-yard rushing touchdown on fourth down to trail 27-17 after the PAT. TSU punted on its first drive and the Wildcats inched closer to the Tigers with another long drive that ended in a touchdown as the score was 27-24 entering the fourth quarter.

TSU’s field goal attempt was blocked to open the fourth quarter but the TSU defense responded on the next drive as Michael Akins forced a sack which led to a Wildcat punt. The Tigers also punted but pinned the Wildcats deep in their own territory.

Three plays into its next drive, BCU committed a costly mistake as TSU’s Xavier Player picked off the Wildcats at their own 4. Owens delivered the first knockout blow with a seven-yard touchdown run as TSU moved back ahead 34-24 following the PAT with 7:27 left.

Once again, the Wildcats put together another long drive and scored a touchdown to draw within 34-31 with 36 seconds left. The onside kick was unsuccessful but BCU still had a timeout as TSU was faced with a 3rd-and -6 with 24 seconds left.

Owens delivered the ultimate knockout blow as he broke free for a 51-yard run and TSU went into victory formation to hold on to the win.

TSU finished with 388 total offensive yards (199 R, 189 P) as Owens rushed for 163 yards on 19 attempts along with three touchdowns. Wilson passed for 189 yards while Leary caught six passes for 82 yards.

Jacob Williams led TSU with 13 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups, a forced fumble, and a fumble return for a score. Isaiah Bogerty followed with 12 stops, a tackle for loss, and a half-sack. Elinus Noel added 10 tackles and two sacks from the defensive line spot.

TSU is back in action next Saturday night against Florida A&M at Shell Energy Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

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