PRAIRIE VIEW – Despite a fourth-quarter surge and a dominant outing from senior running back Dawonya Tucker, the Prairie View A&M football team fell 38-35 in overtime to Jackson State in a key Southwestern Athletic Conference match-up in Panther Stadium at Blackshear Field.
With the game tied 28-28 in extra time, Tucker put Prairie View A&M (3-5, 2-3 SWAC) ahead after a scintillating 6-yard slash to the end zone to finish off the Panthers’ first possession in overtime. But Jackson State went on to tie the game in a wild sequence when – after Prairie View A&M had the Tigers down to its last play – Tigers running back Keshawn Harper recovered a fumbled snap and hit D.D. Bowie from five yards out.
The Panthers’ defense managed to hold Jackson State (3-5, 2-1 SWAC) to a chip-shot field goal on the Tigers’ next turn, but the potential game-tying field goal from senior Amaury Martinez was blocked by C.J. Anderson, sealing the Panthers’ fate.
The Panthers opened the game explosively, as senior quarterback Jalen Morton found junior receiver Tony Mullins on a 63-yard pitch and catch to cap off a four-play, 77-yard drive. Following the point after from senior Amaury Martinez, the Panthers led it 7-0 just 89 seconds into the game.
Jackson State responded with a pair of seven-play scoring drives. On the Tigers’ first crack at it offensively, Derrick Crowell hauled in a 22-yard scoring toss from Derrick Ponder to bring the Tigers within one. Jackson State went on to open the second quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run by Harper.
On the Panthers’ ensuing possession, Tucker knifed through the Tigers’ defense on an 80-yard dash to paydirt, putting the Panthers back in front. The Tigers milked the clock on their next turn, as Harper scored from five yards out to finish a 10-play, 74-yard drive to pull ahead 19-14 with 9:22 left in the first half.
After Prairie View A&M entered the fourth quarter trailing by double-digits following a pair of Adrian Salazar field goals for Jackson State, the Panthers jumped on the comeback trail. Prairie View A&M continued to flash its notoriously quick-strike flair, as Morton started things off with a 52-yard connection with junior receiver Jared Scott. Tucker later scored on a 22-yard scamper to cap a four-play, 85-yard drive that took just 68 seconds off the clock and brought the Panthers within one possession with 12:05 to play.
After forcing a three-and-out, Prairie View A&M pulled ahead on a three-play, 56-yard sprint highlighted by a 54-yard touchdown pass from Morton to freshman receiver Chris Johnson with 9:24 left. Junior cornerback Jaylen Harris appeared to ice the game after ending the Tigers’ next possession with a diving interception, but the Panthers stalled.
Jackson State managed to tie the game with 16 seconds left due to a 31-yard field goal from Salazar to finish a 14-play, 80-yard march, setting the stage for overtime.
Tucker rushed for 159 yards and three touchdowns, while Morton threw for 192 yards and a pair of scores.
Senior defensive back Storey Jackson led Prairie View A&M with 17 tackles (three for loss), and junior linebacker Tre’Shaud Smith added 15 stops. Prairie View A&M surrendered eight sacks on the night.