Saturday, November 4, 2017

16 Kentucky State 3-7 , 2-4
20 Benedict College 7-2 , 5-1

Score By Quarters
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th F
Kentucky State 6 3 0 7 16
Benedict College 7 0 7 6 20

Team Statistics

Team Statistics
Game Stats KSUFB17 BC
Total Yards 264 238
Pass Yards 131 147
Rushing Yards 133 91
Penalty Yards 9-89 5-52
1st Downs 17 13
3rd Downs 4-15 3-13
4th Downs 2-5 1-1
TOP 31:15 28:45
Scoring Summary
14:46 - KSUFB17 - NERO,Michael 98 yd kickoff return (KAO, Mahireyaa kick blocked) 6 0
05:45 - BC - O.Ntiasagwe 15 yd pass from P.Brown (T.Mimbs kick ) 6 plays, 54 yards, TOP 3:36 6 7
14:56 - KSUFB17 - KAO, Mahireyaa 19 yd field goal 12 plays, 70 yards, TOP 5:42 9 7
07:50 - BC - P.Brown 1 yd run (T.Mimbs kick ), 12 plays, 66 yards, TOP 7:06 9 14
14:54 - KSUFB17 - LIVERS, Marques 15 yd pass from SIMPSON,Michae (KAO, Mahireyaa kick ) 11 plays, 83 yards, TOP 3:32 16 14
03:04 - BC - J.Willis 91 yd punt return (T.Mimbs kick blocked) 16 20

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The magical 2017 Benedict football season had one more surprise, as Johnny Willis scored on a 91-yard punt return with three minutes left in the game to lift the Tigers to a 20-16 victory over Kentucky State University on Saturday in Charlie W. Johnson Stadium.

The victory ends the season for the Tigers at 7-2. Coupled with Albany State's 34-9 victory over Fort Valley State on Saturday, Benedict and Fort Valley State tied for first place in the SIAC East with 5-1 conference records. Fort Valley State earned the bid to next week's SIAC Championship game by virtue of their 31-28 double overtime victory over the Tigers six weeks ago. Benedict's only other loss came in week two on the road at Limestone, also in overtime. The Tigers wrapped up the season undefeated in five home games this season. The .778 winning percentage is the best since the Tigers resumed football play in 1995, and just the second season with seven or more wins in the modern era.

The win closes out a special year for the Tigers, who went 0-10 two years ago in White's first season. Benedict was just two close overtime losses away from being undefeated.

"We thought at the beginning of the year we had a favorable schedule," White said. "We didn't have a lot of long road games, which we will have next year. We thought we would have a good enough defense and run game to be in every game, and we were. I think we learned a lot about how hard we have to play in the fourth quarter, and that's something we will evaluate in the offseason, our fourth quarter and those overtime games."

Kentucky State, which played in the SIAC Championship game last year as the west division champion, fell to 3-7 overall and 2-4 in the SIAC.

"It was huge," head coach Mike White said of Willis' punt return. "At halftime, I was asking for somebody to make a big play. Johnny is a playmaker, so that was the play of the game."

The Thorobreds came in with a mission to spoil Benedict's season, and opened the game with a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Michael Nero. The PAT attempt was blocked, but Kentucky State had a surprising 6-0 lead just 14 seconds into the contest.

"Kentucky State came in and played hard. I'm not sure if we were on our game coming out. I think we were thinking they would just let us have it. Then we had to come back and take it. It was a tough game, it was a good game, and it was a great way to win for the seniors."

Benedict got the ball back near midfield later in the first quarter after the Thorobreds failed to convert on a fake punt on fourth-and-21. Quarterback Phillip Brown scrambled for a 25-yard pickup, then threw back-to-back passes to Okechi Ntiasagwe, including a 15-yard touchdown when Ntiasagwe stretched out to get the ball over the goal line. Tory Mimbs added the extra point for a 7-6 Benedict lead with 5:45 left in the first quarter. Ntiasagwe closed out his Benedict career with three catches for 28 yards and a score.

The Thorobreds drove 70 yards on 12 plays on the next series. Kentucky State had a first-and-goal from the 2-yard line, but the nationally-ranked Benedict defense snuffed three straight running attempts, and the Thorobreds settled for a 19-yard field goal to take a 9-7 lead with 14:56 left in the first half. Benedict had just two first downs the rest of the first half, and Kentucky State took the 9-7 lead into the halftime locker room.

Benedict got the second-half kickoff and drove 66 yards on 12 plays, with Brown pushing his way into the end zone from the 1-yard line on fourth down. Mimbs added the extra point for a 14-9 lead with 7:50 on the clock in the third quarter.

The Thorobreds were on the move late in the third quarter, keeping the drive alive when punter Cort Groathouse rushed for 16 yards on fourth-and-six. Michael Simpson completed a 15-yard pass to Marques Livers for the touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 16-14 lead with 14:54 left on the clock.

The Tigers punted the ball back to Kentucky State, and the Thorobreds were forced to punt the ball back to Benedict after a 10-play drive. Willis caught Groathouse's punt at the 9-yard line, escaped from a couple of Kentucky State defenders and raced 91 yards down the left side for the go-ahead touchdown. Mimb's PAT was blocked, making the score 20-16 with 3:04 remaining.

Kentucky State still had two offensive series, but went 0-for-7 on passing attempts, with one sack and one 15-yard rush.

Kenneth Gunter led the Benedict defense with eight tackles, including two sacks. The Thorobreds finished with 133 yards rushing against the Benedict defense, the third-highest total of the season. But Benedict held Brett Sylve, the SIAC's second-leading rusher, to 65 yards on 14 carries and preventing him from reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the season.

Source: BC Sports Information

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