Tuskegee dominant in PB; Shares top spot
A crowd of 7,652 fans, most on the Tuskegee side of the field, watched the Golden Tigers score a touchdown in each quarter and limit VUU to 64 yards of total offense to complete an outstanding 11-1 season. It followed up their perfect 12-0 2000 campaign that earned the program its first black college national crown since 1930.
"We had speed, we had quickness, we had the ability to block, we had tackling and I think our guys came to play," said Tuskegee head coach Rick Comegy, whose team racked up 311 yards of total offense. "There was a lot out there for us. I know there's still the option of being black college national champion. We wanted to show we could stub our toe (get a loss), and bounce back. We were here to show that we feel we're number one."
The impressive win earned the Golden Tigers a share of the final 2001 Black College Sports Page top ranking with 10-1 Grambling State, champions of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The win also was Tuskegee's third in four trips to the Pioneer Bowl and the SIAC's fourth in five games against its CIAA counterpart.
Senior tailback Bobby Wilson, who led all black college rushers with 1,771 yards this season, capped off an impressive year in which he topped the 100-yard mark in all 12 games, running for 107 yards on 27 carries and scoring touchdowns on short runs in the second and third quarters. The Morris Brown transfer, who has been invited to this year's Hula Bowl, was named Tuskegee's MVP for the game.
Senior quarterback Aaron James, who led the Golden Tigers to a 42-6 record during his four-year career, began the scoring when he hit wideout Kylin Kimble with a 18-yard scoring pass with 6:46 left in the first quarter.
But the defense kept Virginia Union off the scoreboard, limiting the Panthers to just six first downs and allowing them across midfield on only two occasions. The unit capped off the victory midway through the final period when cornerback Frank Walker picked off a pass from VUU quarterback Jason Thompson and brought it back 43 yards for the final score.
Thompson, the Panthers' senior signal-caller, was held to just four completions in 15 attempts for seven yards and was pressed by the Tuskegee defense into carrying the ball 13 times for only 17 yards. Freshman running sensation Larry Edwards was limited to 17 yards on nine carries.
VUU head coach Willard Bailey had complained bitterly this year about his team being denied a Div. II playoff berth. His team was ranked behind Tuskegee in Div. II rankings and he had argued that Tuskegee, who does not go to the playoffs, should not be ranked. He had a somewhat different tone after the game.
"Most of our problems came from Tuskegee," said Bailey. "They're a real good football team. Based on the way they played today, they were supposed to be ranked ahead of us."
Tuskegee's only loss this season was a 14-3 decision to Morehouse on Oct. 13. The Tigers came back on Thanksgiving Day to knock off SWAC E. Div. champ Alabama State, the only team to defeat Grambling this year. Grambling earned a split with Alabama State by winning the Dec. 1 SWAC title game.
© 2001 Azeez Communications, Inc.