By: AAMU Sports Info
CANTON, Ohio — Brian Jenkins Jr. does not shy away from the big stage.
The Alabama A&M sophomore receiver found it in Canton, Ohio — and then some.
Jenkins caught a touchdown pass from Aqeel Glass in the closing seconds, capping a thrilling comeback as Alabama A&M topped Morehouse 35-30 Sunday night in the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic.
"Coach called a great play, and Aqeel threw a great pass," Jenkins said. "Coach said we were going to win it, and that's what happened."
The inaugural Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic was an emotional rollercoaster.
Morehouse erased an 18-point deficit with a furious fourth-quarter comeback, only to watch Alabama A&M (1-0) steal the momentum away in the game's final seconds.
Alabama A&M's game-winning drive will be discussed for a while.
After Santo Dunn dove over the top a goal line pile for a go-ahead 1-yard touchdown for the Maroon Tigers with 1:01 remaining in the game, Glass, Jenkins and company took the field for one last shot at the win.
The Bulldogs rose to the occasion.
Gary Quarles delivered a strong kick return to start the drive at the Alabama A&M 42-yardline, and Glass then completed two passes to Jenkins to move the Bulldogs within range for a potential game-winning field goal.
But with nine seconds remaining on the clock — and no timeouts remaining — Alabama A&M coach Connell Maynor showed the crowd why he has a reputation as a gutsy decision-maker.
Maynor opted to take one more shot at the end zone, and Glass dropped the ball into Jenkins' hands for the game-winning touchdown.
"In those type of situations, you want the ball in your best players' hands," Maynor said. "We have confidence in Aqeel. We have confidence in Jenkins. They did what big-time players do. They made the play we needed."
The game was full of ebbs and flows.
On the first play from scrimmage, Glass threw a 40-yard touchdown to Zabrian Moore. A few minutes later, Alabama A&M's first defensive series of the season resulted in a forced turnover.
The early momentum, however, did not last.
Fernando Sdelam kicked a 42-yard field goal in the final minute of the second quarter to pull within 14-10 at halftime.
Glass threw a pair of touchdown passes in the third quarter, hitting Anthony Howard for an 8-yard score, and Kendric Johnson for a 43-yard touchdown.
Glass finished with 397 passing yards and four touchdowns, completing 28 of 42 attempts with two interceptions.
Jenkins caught 12 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown, while Moore had six catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Bentley rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown, and he caught two passes for 40 yards.
Turnovers helped Morehouse rally back in the second half.
Alabama A&M turned the ball over five times. Two of the second-half turnovers resulted in Morehouse touchdowns.
"There's a lot of things we have to clean up [before the next game]," Maynor said. "We made some mistake you can't afford to make. But in the end, these guys found a way to win."
Momentum swung heavily in Morehouse's favor in the game's final three minutes when Jaelin Brown moved the Maroon Tigers deep into Alabama A&M territory with a couple of clutch runs, and Tremell Gooden caught a pass on the 1-yard line that set up a go-ahead touchdown.
Maynor liked how Alabama A&M responded to the late adversity.
"I love the way we responded," he said. "These guys showed the kind of composure you want to see."
Alabama A&M hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday in the annual Louis Crews Classic. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.