Kentucky St. Tops Benedict 32-19

COLUMBIA, S.C. (BC SID) — The Kentucky State Wildcats used a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull away from a tie game and defeat the Benedict College Tigers, 32-19, Saturday on a wet, sloppy day in Charlie W. Johnson Stadium. The loss dropped the Tigers to 0-5 on the season and 0-2 in the SIAC. Kentucky State improves to 2-3 overall and 2-0 in the SIAC. The Tigers trailed 16-7 at the half, but got a pair of big runs from Raheem Jennings in the second half to tie the game at 19 heading into the fourth quarter. On the Thorobreds’ first possession in the second half, Charles Powell intercepted an Ora Johnson pass and returned it 13 yards to the Kentucky State 20-yard line. On the next play, Jennings ran 20 yards for the touchdown. Tory Mimbs missed the PAT, cutting the lead to 16-13 with 13:45 on the clock. Kentucky State got a 73-yard kickoff return from Charles Johnson to give the Thorobreds a first down at the Benedict 16-yard line. Three holding penalties on KSU pushed them back to the Benedict 40. The Thorobreds were able to get back to the Benedict 12-yard line, where Bill Rose kicked a 33-yard field goal for a 19-13 lead with 11 minutes on the clock. The Tigers struck quick again, with Jennings breaking free for a 51-yard scoring run on second down. Mimbs missed the PAT, and the game was tied at 19 with 9:44 left on the clock. The score remained tied heading into the fourth quarter. The Thorobreds broke the tie when Reginald Harris went around the left side for a 38-yard scoring run with 9:05 left to play. The Tigers were forced to punt on their next series, and the Thorobreds went on a six-play, 62-yard drive, with Derek Woodmore going the final seven yards for the score, ending the scoring at 33-19. The Tigers lost two fumbles and had two interceptions on a wet field, a problem head coach Mike White was hoping the team could avoid. “We battled back in the second half, but it just wasn’t good enough to overcome some of the mistakes we had. We’re still having some of the same issues, and it kind of came back to bite us there at the end of the game. Every game is too many turnovers. I think we had three in the first half, with a blocked punt. Until we change that, we’re going to be in the same scenario where we’re fighting uphill.” On the first series of the game, the Tigers were forced to punt from their 48-yard line. Kentucky State, which was leading NCAA Division II in blocked punts with five through their first four games, picked up another one on their first attempt. Kyle Jackson broke through and blocked the punt and Kolby Griffin picked it up and ran it back 35 yards for the score, his second blocked punt return for a touchdown in two weeks. The Tigers blocked the PAT and Kentucky State took an early 6-0 lead with 12:38 left in the first quarter. Facing third-and-seven from their own 38-yard line, Patrick Hoard threw a pass to Okechi Ntiasagwe, who then outran the defense for a 62-yard scoring play. Mimbs kicked the PAT, giving the Tigers their first lead of the season, 7-6, with 10:57 left in the first quarter. The Thorobreds went on a 12-play, 69-yard drive in the second quarter, with Johnson going around the outside edge on a quarterback keeper for a 9-yard score. The PAT was good for a 13-7 lead with 7:09 left. A Benedict fumble recovered by the Thorobreds led to a Bill Rose 21-yard field goal with 2:19 left in the half to give Kentucky State a 16-7 halftime lead. “We’re getting a little better,” White said. “We’re just not good enough to overcome against a good team like this. I thought we could win the game, and I like the way the effort was, the way we fought back and got it in, but we couldn’t maintain.” Jennings had a season-high 73 yards rushing on seven carries. Patrick Hoard played the entire game at quarterback and completed 6-of-10 passes for 76 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Stephen Williams led the Benedict defense with nine tackles. Benedict will take on Lane College next Saturday in the Augusta Classic at Lucy Laney High School in Augusta, Ga. Kickoff is 2 p.m.

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