The Savannah State University Tigers football team stands at 4-3 for the first time in 25 years after defeating Clark Atlanta University over the weekend.
On Saturday, SSU struggled offensively, going scoreless in both the second and third quarters of the game, but outlasted the Panthers in overtime 22-15.
Once again, the Tigers leaned heavily on the run game, rushing for 325 yards behind big gains from quarterback D’Vonn Gibbons and running back D’Angelo Durham.
Gibbons had two touchdowns and 127 total yards on the ground while Durham had one touchdown and rushed for 99 total yards.
SSU completely abandoned its passing game on Saturday. Gibbons didn’t throw for a single yard and had two total passing attempts.
Despite the reliance on the run game, the Tigers completed 17 first downs and scored on 2 of their 3 red zone visits.
“With our backs and our O-line, teams in our conference have a hard time stopping us even when they know what’s coming," junior linebacker Desmond Young said.
Sophomore wide receiver Ravion “Vegas” Hayden said the offensive attack may feature more passing next week against Albany State University in Savannah.
“Albany State defense and the gaps in the secondary will lead to more pass attempts," he said.
The Tigers, once again, completely controlled time of possession and dominated on defense.The Panthers finished with -5 total rushing yards and 9 first downs. The team was 1 for 9 on third down. Clark-Atlanta had some success throwing the ball as quarterback Charles Staffor threw for 193 yards on 34 attempts. The "bend but don’t break" principle of Tigers Head Coach Shawn Quinn’s defense was successful, however, as defensive back Brian Roberts came up with a momentum-shifting interception in the second quarter with Clark-Atlanta threatening to take the lead heading into halftime.
“Our D-line is carrying us, and our safeties have made hug improvements throughout the season,” he said. “If we continue to get better on D, we will be hard to beat.”
SSU’s win over Clark-Atlanta is exactly what this team needed after two tough back-to-back losses on the road. Hayden said, “We have to improve our conditioning to beat Albany, but this win gave us great momentum going into the biggest game week on an HBCU’s campus."
Defensive tackle Salik Mcrae echoed Hayden’s sentiments on the big win saying, “This win was very important because it kept us over 500 and was a great bounce back after losing to Alcorn State."
Savannah State takes the field Saturday at 3 p.m. to face conference rival Albany State University for the Tigers' Homecoming in T.A. Wright Stadium.