WILBERFORCE, Ohio – The Central State University football team battled through the rain and mud to beat Clark Atlanta, 7-0, on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, the Marauders improve to 1-1 overall with a 1-0 ledger in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC). The Panthers of CAU fall to 0-2 on the season and 0-1 in the SIAC.
Playing on a severely muddy field where good footing was difficult, both offenses struggled to gain any ground. CAU managed to march its way down to the Central State 21-yard line midway through the first half. The Panthers opted to try and convert on fourth down with two yards to go. CSU’s Shemar Moss and Samy Jean clogged up the running lane and took down CAU runner Roger Thomas end the only legitimate CAU scoring threat in the first half.
While the CSU offense struggled to navigate the mud, punter Isaiah Smith successfully fielded a slippery ball while delivering six punts for 221 total yards in the first half to help keep the CAU offense away from the red zone.
At the end of the first half, both teams were coated in mud while the scoreboard remained unblemished at 0-0.
The CSU defense came up with another big stop midway through the third quarter when the Panthers failed to convert on a fourth down attempt from their own 34-yard line.
With excellent field position, CSU quarterback Trent Mays found tight end Robert Corbin, Jr. for a 30-yard gain. On the next play, running back Jerry Lanier ran in for the score to give CSU the lead with 12:10 left in the third quarter.
CAU threatened to score late in the third after regaining possession on the CSU 39-yard line. The Panthers drove down to the 20-yard line but the Marauder defense held its ground again as Eric-Michael Smith recorded a sack for a loss of seven yards on third down. CAU proceeded to turn the ball over on fourth down after a Charles Saffor pass slipped through Jerry Drakar’s hands for what would have been a first down.
The slick state of the game balls plagued the CAU offense throughout the remainder of the game, which included multiple fumbles on the snap. With points at a premium, the Marauders were able to burn off much of the remaining time in the fourth quarter thanks to the secure hands of Lanier and Mays. On CAU’s last possession of the game, the Marauders forced a three and out sequence to seal the victory.
Other than a lost fumble in the early stages of the game, the Marauders minimized their mistakes while the Panthers put the ball on the ground 12 times, turning it over three times.
The Marauder defense held CAU to 155 total yards of offense. Rashuan Searles led CSU’s defensive prowess with 13 tackles, one sack and three tackles for a loss. Kailen Abrams finished the afternoon with 11 tackles, three tackles for a loss and one forced fumble. Javion Williams recorded 10 tackles, three tackles for a loss, a forced fumble and recovery.
Lanier was the highlight for the CSU offense with 24 total yards on 11 carries and the game-winning score.
Kameron Rogers led the CAU defense with 9 tackles and a forced fumble. Thomas paced the Panther running game with 47 total yards on 15 attempts.
The Marauders will travel to Atlanta to play Morehouse College next Saturday at 5 pm.
CSU recorded its first home victory since Oct. 15 of 2016 (Lane)
- The defense recorded its first shutout since Oct. 17 of 2015 (Lane)
- With the win, CSU avenged a 55-14 loss to CAU from a season ago
Quotes from Head Coach Cedric Pearl
“Based on the conditions, I thought we did a great job executing our game plan. In all my years playing and coaching football, I have never seen players struggle to find footing and traction like what was happening today.”
“Defensively, we have really played well in our first two games. The defense has recorded a total of six quarters of shutout football which is a great improvement from this time a year ago.”
“We knew what the weather was going to be like so we focused on drills to promote ball security during the week. We practiced with a wet ball which paid off dividends today. The drill is a throwback from an old coach named Henry Hulbert when I played as a long snapper at Tuskegee.”
~Central State Sports Information