Despite hopes to secure the first win of the season, the SSU Tigers fell to the Bethune-Cookman University for the home opener Sep. 29, at Ted Wright Stadium.
The game opened with both teams going scoreless on their opening drives, but the Tigers received the boost they need on the next possession. Wide receiver JaMichael Baldwin returned a BCU punt back 62 yards and two plays later TJ Bell completed an eight yard touchdown pass to Paris Baker to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
The celebration would be short lived as the Wildcats responded with a touchdown of their own on a rushing score by quarterback Akevious Williams to cap off a 14 play drive.
Both teams remained scoreless for the remainder of the period, but the Wildcats took their first lead of the game at the start of the second quarter on a 25 yard pass in the end zone from Williams to Keavon Mitchell making the score 14-7.
The Tigers responded on their next possession by tying the game at 14 with James Kicklighter scoring a 28 yard passing touchdown on a deflected pass that was intended for Treveyon Pratt.
“Our offense played pretty well,” Gibbons said. “We could have played better as far as with certain reads, with the quarterback , and cut down on the mental errors.”
The Wildcats then proceeded to score three 21 unanswered points throughout the next two quarters of play to go into the final period with a 35-14 lead.
The Tigers kept fighting as Rashad Saxton scored an 11 yard rushing touchdown to decrease the deficit to 15 points at 35-20.
SSU appeared to be driving the ball down the field for another score on their next offensive possession, but a fumble by Gibbons sealed the deal for the Wildcats to earn the 35-20 victory.
"We missed a lot of assignments as far as tackles,” Tigers defensive back John Wilson said. “We have to practice harder".
The Tigers return to game action on Saturday, Oct. 6, when they will welcome the Charleston Southern Buccaneers to T.A. Wright Stadium for a non-conference match-up. Game time is set to begin at 6 p.m. EST.