By Donald Hunt
For The Birmingham Times
When Tuskegee University opened its season with a 14-6 victory over Alabama State University last week, the Golden Tigers catapulted into the national rankings. As a result, Tuskegee broke into the top 25 in the NCAA American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) poll and is ranked No. 22 in the country among Division II schools.
It was the second straight for Tuskegee over ASU of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The Golden Tigers were able to step up in class and grab a victory over the Hornets, an FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) opponent.
Tuskegee put together a strong defensive presence in this game. It was led by preseason All-American linebacker Osband Thompson who had a terrific performance. Thompson, a 6-foot, 205-pound senior, had 14 tackles, two quarterback hurries and one forced fumble.
The Golden Tigers had several contributors on the defense such as linebacker Kevin Dawson (seven tackles), safety Jonah McCutcheon (seven tackles, one interception), defensive back Darnell Hill (six tackles) and defensive lineman Kenderius Whitehead (six tackles). McCutcheon had the biggest play of the day. He returned a 46-yard interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to help seal the win.
Tuskegee will battle 20th-ranked Albany State in the NCAA (AFCA) poll on Saturday, Sept. 9 in Phenix City, Al, in a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) matchup. The kickoff is set for 5 p.m.
Alabama State will look to get into the win column against Troy on Saturday, Sept. 9. The visiting Hornets will have a 5 p.m. start. Alabama State really struggled in its loss to Tuskegee.
However, the Hornets did have a bright spot. Sophomore quarterback Kobie Jones was named the SWAC Newcomer of the Week. Jones connected on 20-of-38 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 46 yards on 11 attempts.
Alabama Agriculture & Mechanical will travel to Vanderbilt on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 3 p.m. The Bulldogs are coming off a tough 38-7 loss to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). A&M will have its hands full with Vanderbilt University from the powerful Southeastern Conference. The Commodores defeated Middle Tennessee, 28-6, last week.
A&M linebacker Kenneth Davis had a great performance against UAB earning SWAC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Davis had eight solo tackles, two sacks and three tackles for loss.
Miles College got off to a rough start losing to Alcorn State from the SWAC, 50-21 last week. The Golden Bears will go back on the road to play West Georgia on Saturday, Sept. 9. The kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
The top players for the Golden Bears were running back Justin Hardy and linebacker Austin Stephens. Hardy had 15 carries for 111 yards and one touchdown. He scored on a spectacular 83-yard run. Stephens led the team with 12 tackles.