COLUMBIA, S.C. - Special teams was the spark to help the Johnson C. Smith University football team to its first win of the 2019 season with a 34-31 victory over Benedict College Saturday afternoon, at Charles W. Johnson Stadium.
The victory snapped a three-game skid for Smith going back to the end of the 2018 season as the Golden Bulls now stand 1-1 on the season. Benedict falls to 0-2.
Running back Emanuel Wilson carried the load on the ground with 12 carries for 266 yards and three touchdown while wide receiver Damon Rice hauled in two kickoff returns to touchdowns.
The Golden Bulls produced a total of 305 yards, including 278 rushing and 27 passing.
JCSU scored the game's first touchdown led by Wilson's 90 yard kickoff return at the 14:47 mark but the next possession down, the TIgers responded with a score of their own after a 5-yard run from Derrick Bloodsaw into the endzone that would even up the score at 7-7 after the extra points.
Still in the first quarter, the Tigers scored from 6-yards out to led JCSU 14-7. The Golden Bulls found their offensive groove as Wilson scampered for 83 years to tie the game 14 all to start the second quarter.
Both teams added seven more points in the second to go in the locker room tied at 21 all.
Late in the third quarter, both teams held each other out of the end zone until, the Golden Bulls were force to punt deep from their end zone. A muffed punt by JCSU gave the Tigers the advantage for a blocked kick and a safety for them, with Benedict leading 23-21 with 4:53 in the third.
Wilson once again turned on the afterburners to score two more long touchdown runs, a 73 yard run in the third and 64 yards in the fourth quarter. JCSU led 34-23 at that point.
Benedict, marched down the field late in the fourth, scoring on a 6-yard touchdown run and converted on the two-point conversion, cutting into the Golden Bulls 34-31 lead.
Late in the fourth, JCSU needed one more drive to get the first down and run the clock out. However, a sack from Benedict turned the ball over for Smith. BC had one last throw but it was intercepted by JCSU's Camerron Ellis to close out the game.
Defensively, Tki Lawson-Oats recorded a team-best five tackles, while linebacker David Francis grabbed five tackles as well. Ellis, collected two interceptions, on the night.