Hornets RB Jacory Merritt is swarmed on by a hoard of Golden Bears defenders. Alabama State held off in-state rival Miles College 14-13 with a field goal in overtime.

Kicker Cosmin Diaconu’s true aim in overtime gave the Alabama State Hornets a 14-13 win over the Miles College Golden Bears in the season-opening Labor Day Classic in Montgomery, Alabama Saturday evening.

The Hornets held a 7-0 lead through three quarters on the heels of a 10-play, 70-yard opening drive. Running back Ezra Gray followed quarterback Ryan Nettles around the corner for a 28-yard gain before being pushed out of bounds at the Miles 35. A few plays later Jacory Merritt was found wide open behind the defense by Nettles for a 15-yard gain to the 1. Nettles plunged the final distance behind his offensive line for the score.

Alabama State struggled for most of the game despite the crisp play demonstrated on the first drive. The Golden Bears’ defense had a lot to do with it. Miles’ defense allowed the Hornets’ offense just 85 yards on four possessions. Defensive back James Sawyer stripped Nettles at the Golden Bears’ 43 to end the Hornets’ first possession of the second quarter.

The Hornets’ defense gave the Golden Bears’ offense fits. Miles gained only 67 yards on offense through the first half.

Miles Breaks Through

The Golden Bears finally broke through in the fourth quarter with their longest drive of the game. Quarterback Jalen Parker led the offense on an eight-play, 88-yard drive. Running back Donte Edwards slipped through a gap in the right side of the Hornets’ defense for a 45-yard gain. Parker picked up another 25 on fourth and a long 6 yards. Three plays later, Parker’s pass to Marcus Lodge deep in the corner of the end zone tied the game at 7-7 with 3:25 to play.

Extra Time and Action

Miles drew first blood with a 5-yard touchdown run by Parker. Jackson Spradlin’s point-after attempt was blocked by senior DL Christian Clark.

The Hornets matched the Golden Bears’ scoring with a 5-play drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Nettles. Diaconu’s point-after split the uprights sailing into the end zone stands.

Next Up

Miles heads farther south to Baton Rouge to face the Southern Jaguars. The Jaguars will be looking to rebound from a 3-55 loss to Troy University. Alabama State travels a few miles east down I-85 for a cash game against in-state opponent Auburn University.


Game Photo Gallery

All photos credit Jason McDonald, JM Photography for CORE360 Sports

Miles vs Alabama St