Fort Valley State beats Benedict in double OT

FORT VALLEY, Ga. – The Benedict College Tigers rallied from a 21-0 halftime deficit to tie Fort Valley State University, only to fall to the Wildcats 31-28 in double overtime on Saturday at Wildcat Stadium.

The loss dropped Benedict to 2-2 on the season and 0-1 in the SIAC. Both of Benedict’s losses have been in overtime on the road. Fort Valley State, the defending SIAC champions, moves to 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the SIAC.

After both teams scored a touchdown in the first overtime, the Wildcats went on offense first in the second overtime. The Benedict defense held FVSU to a 33-yard field goal by Juan Serna for a 31-28 lead. Benedict took over on offense from the 25-yard line and got a 7-yard run by Deville McClendon on first down, but quarterback Dominique Harris fumbled on second down and the Wildcats recovered to end the game.

“It’s a tough way to go out, with a turnover at the end,” Benedict head coach Mike White said. “We fought hard to get back in the game. It just wasn’t that one play. There were a lot of plays we didn’t make today. I just like the way the guys hung in there and fought it out.”

Benedict struggled against Fort Valley State’s passing game in the first half as Wildcat quarterback Slade Jarman threw for 245 yards on 11-of-15 passing and three touchdowns in the first half. He went 22-of-34 for 358 yards for the game, with four touchdowns and one interception. His first touchdown pass went for 53 yards, then came back with a 45-yard scoring pass when the two Benedict defenders collided with each other and fell, allowing Jeremy Glinton to run into the end zone untouched. Glinton is a former Benedict wide receiver, who caught 20 passes for 378 yards and five touchdowns for the Tigers in 2014. The Wildcats added another 22-yard touchdown pass by Jarman to Tajee Steele with 37 seconds left in the half. That drive was set up by a Benedict fumble.

“It was just poor coverage,” White said. “The coverage we called wasn’t bad, we just didn’t execute it.”

Benedict took the second half kickoff and drove 82 yards on just five plays. Trini Charlton put the Tigers on the scoreboard with a 49-yard run. Charlton finished with 89 yards on 10 carries.

An Edward Kirkland interception at the start of the fourth quarter gave Benedict the ball at their own 40-yard line. Facing a fourth-and-six, Harris completed a 10-yard pass to Okechi Ntiasagwe for the key first down at the Fort Valley 13-yard line. Facing another fourth down, Harris threw a 6-yard pass to Myquerris McGrier to cut the lead to 21-14 with 9:58 remaining.

The Benedict defense held on the next series and the Tigers took over near midfield. A 12-yard run by Charlton and subsequent 15-yard personal foul penalty by the Wildcats gave Benedict the ball at the 26. On second down from the 4-yard line, Harris ran the ball in on a quarterback keeper. Tory Mimbs added the extra point to tie the contest at 21 with 5:17 on the clock.

Neither team made a scoring threat over the final five minutes sending the contest into overtime, with Benedict coming up with a big defensive stop on fourth down when Dontavis Hunt broke up a pass.

Fort Valley won the first coin toss and elected to go on defense. The Tigers got a 10-yard run by McClendon and a 15-yard scoring run by Harris for their first lead of the game, 28-21. The Wildcats tied the game when Jarman threw a 9-yard pass to Loren Smothers on third down.

In the second overtime, Fort Valley moved as far as the 16-yard line, where Serna booted the 33-yard field goal which proved to be the difference in the game.

Reubyn Walker led the Benedict defense with 13 tackles. The Tigers notched four sacks and had 14 tackles for loss.

“They fought and worked hard and didn’t give up in the second half,” White said. “We’ve got to shake it off and see if we can get back up for next week. That’s the key, how fast we can get over this.”

Benedict Athletics contributed to the writing of this article.

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