Jonero Scott rushed for 74 yards and two touchdowns including the game-winner in the fourth quarter to lift Miles College to a 21-17 win over Alabama State in Montgomery, AL.
The Hornets of Alabama State made the critical mistake many teams that are favored to win make, they let the Golden Bears hang around.
Defensive back Ethan Tookes gave the Hornets their first touchdown of the game on the opening series. Facing third and 14, Miles’ quarterback Edwin Kleinpeter Jr., a graduate student transfer from the University of Arkansas Monticello, fired a pass to his right only to find Tookes waiting. Tookes, a true freshman playing in his first college football game, grabbed the pass and raced down the ASU sideline to the end zone.
ASU added another touchdown on their second possession of the second quarter. Dematrius Davis fired a 40-yard strike to the outstretched hand of Kisean Johnson. The sophomore receiver gathered the ball and sprinted the remaining 23 yards for six.
It was the last time the Hornets would find the end zone. Golden Bears sophomore defensive back Graderius Brown from nearby Linden, AL saw to that. With 59 seconds remaining in the half, Brown picked off Davis at the 24-yard line to end a potential Hornets scoring drive. On the day, Brown had five tackles, two for a loss of 13 yards, and an interception.
The play ignited the Golden Bears’ offense. Kleinpeter put together a 9-play, 76-yard scoring drive in 59 seconds. Alabama State had an opportunity to get off the field but Kleinpeter turned a third-and-one into a 16-yard run. Twenty-seven seconds after taking possession, the Golden Bears were 17 yards from the end zone with four fresh downs.
Bama State’s defense bowed up again forcing Miles into a third-and-10 situation. This time Kleinpeter used his arm, dropping a perfect spiral between two defenders into the arms of Jaih Andrews sprinting across the goal line.
Davis and company went back to work to start the second half moving the ball deep into the red zone. Miles reversed the fates. In ASU’s previous game against Southern, it was the defensive secondary making timely interceptions to end the Jaguars’ drives. This week it was the Golden Bears’ secondary turn to make the plays.
Sophomore cornerback Cameron Williams picked off Davis’ pass intended for Demontrez Brown in the end zone. Davis’ pass went to Brown’s inside shoulder instead of his outside shoulder where Williams would not have been able to make a play on the ball.
Trading Field Goals for Touchdowns
Bama State head coach Eddie Robinson Jr. made a point to say after the game against Southern, “We have to correct the red zone.” Only one of the Hornets’ three possessions deep in Miles territory resulted in points – a 29-yard field goal. It was not the touchdown the Hornets wanted or needed.
Miles answered the Hornets’ field goal with a touchdown on their ensuing drive. Kleinpeter orchestrated yet another 70-yard plus drive for a score. The Baton Rouge native shredded the Hornets’ defense on two third and long downs to keep the drive alive. Kleinpeter completed four of six on the drive and three greater than 10 yards. Scott scored his first touchdown of the game squeezing through the middle of the defense from two yards out.
Coach Robinson’s statement on missed touchdown opportunities grew even louder as Miles mounted yet another clock-eating drive. This time, they needed to convert only one-third down despite starting on their 4-yard line. Aaron Frazier and Jonero Scott churned out 23 yards before Kleinpeter threw a pass. When he did, the burly quarterback dropped one 39 yards downfield into the hands of Jaih Andrews. The junior receiver finished with 95 yards and a touchdown on six receptions.
Andrews added another 10-yard reception to move the ball down to the 6-yard line. Kleinpeter handed it off to his former Arkansas Monticello teammate and Scott carried it the rest of the way outrunning the defense to the end zone.
Another interception by the Miles secondary ended the Hornets’ drive for the third time. Jamarius Brown made a tremendously athletic play backpedaling and leaping into the air to make the grab at midfield.
Miles gave the ball back to the Hornets with more than two minutes to play. University of Alabama Birmingham transfer Damon Stewart needed to have a short memory after tossing a pick in his first action as a Hornets QB. Stewart completed five passes for 43 yards to move into Golden Bears territory but it ended there. Facing fourth and seven, Stewart’s pass intended for Will Sparks fell to the turf along with the Hornets’ hopes for a comeback.
Miles travels west to Arkansas to face the Golden Lions its second SWAC team in as many weeks. The Hornets will take the week off before heading to Tallahassee to face the Rattlers of Florida A&M.
All photos © Jason McDonald, JM Photography for CORE360 Sports