Alabama A&M Delivers Outstanding Performances in 45-35 Victory Over Tuskegee in Gulf Coast Challenge

MOBILE, Ala. – In a game that would see them rack up 559 yards of total offense and incredible individual performances, Alabama A&M (3-0, 1-0 SWAC) downed NCAA Division II rival Tuskegee (1-3, 0-0 SIAC) by a 45-35 margin in an NCAA Division I football game on Saturday, September 25.
Graduate quarterback Aqeel Glass (St. Louis, Mo.) once again lived up to the hype as he went 27-of-39 for 405 yards and four touchdowns while throwing a rare pair of interceptions to lead the Bulldogs. He was joined by senior running back Gary Quarles (Cottondale, Ala.) who pounded the ground for a career-high 164 yards on 24 carries, two of which ended up in the endzone – including one from 44-yards out to put it away.
Junior wide receiver Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim (Miramar, Fla.) continued to be a game-changer as he caught eight balls for 177 yards but was joined by another offensive threat. That would come in the form of senior wideout Dee Anderson (Dallas, Texas), a 6-6 target that hauled in three touchdown grabs as part of a five catch, 80-yard night.
Junior wide receiver Odieu Hilarie (Belle Glade, Fla.) was right there, snagging eight balls for 78 yards and a score while Quarles chipped in with 39 yards on a pair of catches in the passing game.
Defensively, the Bulldogs made key plays, particularly senior linebacker Branden Bailey (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) who finished with a pair of fumble recoveries and team-high tying five tackles. He was joined by junior safety Trenell Troutman (Orlando, Fla.) with four tackles, including one for loss, and senior cornerback Ja’Marian Green (Belle Glade, Fla.) added a fumble recovery.
Neither team’s offense would look sharp on their opening possessions as both would end on a fumble recovery, R. Isaac Smith doing the honors for Tuskegee and Bailey for the Bulldogs.
Following the Golden Tigers failed drive, A&M would take full advantage and do so in short order with a four-play, 46-yard drive that took just 1:53. On a 3rd and 5, Glass found Hilaire for six yards to keep the drive alive and then found the 6-6 Anderson from 20 yards out in the endzone to make it 7-0 just 4:33 into the game.
TU would not be able to get out of their own half of the field on their next possession and the Bulldogs would chew up nearly four minutes after they took over, marching down to the Tuskegee 17-yard line before the drive stalled. Kept alive by a 27-yard strike to Ibrahim on 3rd and 6 early on, A&M would be able to capitalize as redshirt-senior kicker Spencer Corey (New Palestine, Ind.) converted on a 39-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 3:30 left in the opening frame.
The Golden Tigers would once again not get past the 50 on the ensuing possession before giving way to AAMU. Glass would proceed to complete passes of 11-, 7-, 8- and 13-yards on the first four plays before Quarles scampered for five yards to take it to the TU 41-yard line.
After a nine-yard sack helped stop the freight train that had been the Bulldogs’ offense, they would find themselves in a 4th and 3 in no-man’s land at the 45-yard line. Opting to go for it, Glass connected with senior wide receiver Brian Jenkins, Jr. (Daytona Beach, Fla.) for five yards to keep the drive alive. That would be a critical completion as eight plays later Glass found Anderson again, this time from two yards out to expand the lead to a daunting 17-7 by the 11:01 mark.
Tuskegee would finally find their footing on offense as they put together an 8-play, 65-yard drive, one that was kept alive on a 3rd and 4 by a 47-yard strike by Louis Williams to Jamaal Pritchett. That bomb took it down to the A&M one yard line and two plays later Ivonte Patterson would find his way to the endzone to get the Golden Tigers on the board, 17-7, with 6:41 left in the half.
While A&M wouldn’t be able to payoff a nine-play, 55-yard drive they wouldn’t take long to get it back either. The trip from hero to goat would be a quick one for Patterson as he converted a 3rd and 1 with a 47-yard carry but coughed it up on the Bulldogs’ 39-yard line. Troutman forced it there and Green proceeded to recover it at the 27.
Glass would open with a 30-yard strike to Ibrahim and follow with a nine-yard connection to Jenkins, Jr. before TU’s defense stiffened. They would sack the National Football League (NFL) prospect for 16 yards before Woodly Appolon intercepted him at the A&M 48. The Golden Tigers offense would not be able to do much with it over the final 25 seconds, however, as the teams headed to the break with a 17-7 margin.
It would be a far different story for Tuskegee to begin the third though as a 23-yard pass to Steven Hodges helped key a six-play, 40-yard drive. That would culminate in an eight-yard touchdown grab by Hodges and an Arnes Huskic extra point then pulled them to within seven over the first 2:34 of the second half.
Facing one of the top offenses in the country, it wouldn’t stay that way long as A&M went 75-yards in three minutes and seven plays. That would be a drive that would see Anderson wreck the TU defense yet again, this time hauling in a long 30-yard touchdown in the back of the endzone to make it 24-14 at the 9:19 mark.
Three plays and four yards later the Golden Tigers would give it right back and would pay once again – and it wouldn’t take nearly as long as before. It would be a 14-yard connection to Hilaire followed by a 37-yard bomb to Ibrahim on the first two plays and the third would cap the drive as Quarles pounded out eight yards to paydirt to extend to a 31-14 lead. The entire drive, all 59-yards, took just 37 seconds.
Following a three-and-out, TU would get to Glass again as JQuan Hicks picked him off at the A&M 48-yard line, beginning an impressive stretch for the Golden Tigers. They would go seven plays and 39 yards on their next drive as Patterson found his way to the endzone from one yard out, cutting it to within 10, before an onside kick recovery gave them an opportunity to slice into that lead even further.
It would be an opportunity they would avail themselves of as Williams led a five-play 49-yard drive that capped with an 18-yard TD to Pritchett with just three minutes gone by in the fourth. That would pull Tuskegee all the way to within 31-28 but that would be as close as they would come.
A&M’s next drive would see plays of nine, 16 and six yards before Quarles broke free up the middle for 44-yards to get those points right back as he capped a drive that covered 75 yards in just 1:15. They wouldn’t be away from the rock for long either as Bailey struck again, this time forcing a fumble by Louis Williams on a 4th and 2 from the Bulldogs’ 26-yard line.
The ensuing drive would see another extended effort as Alabama A&M went 75-yards in 3:27 and made it 45-28 with a 21-yard yard TD grab by Hilaire with five minutes remaining. TU would not go quietly, however, as they compiled a 10-play drive that covered 65 yards and saw Patterson in the endzone one more time, this time closing the gap to the eventual final margin of 45-35 with 51 seconds on the clock.
Louis Williams led the passing attack for the Golden Tigers, going 12-of-23 for 210 yards and a pair of touchdowns along with 46 yards rushing while Patterson dominated the ground attack with exactly 100 yards on 18 carries, three of which resulted in touchdowns.
Pritchett led the receiving corps with six catches, 104 yards and a score while Hodges finished with five catches, 79 yards and a TD. Devarens Valcin added 56 yards through the air to round out the offense.
On the other side of the ball, Tuskegee had plenty of opportunities for tackles as Carl Matthews and Isaac Smith each finished with 11, the former with nine solo. Wesly Appolon added 10 stops and his brother, Woodly, had nine with an interception and Hicks tacked on a “big man” pick in the second half. Edward Verdree, Freddrick Austin and Davir Hamilton each chipped in with a sack.
Alabama A&M will head to the Bayou as they resume their Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) schedule with a meeting with Grambling. That game is set for Ruston, Louisiana and will kick off at 2 p.m. in the Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium on Saturday, October 2.
The Bulldogs are now 2-1 in the Gulf Coast Challenge, having fallen to Southern 29-27 in the first game on September 22, 2018 and knocking off DII Central State 63-20 in the second contest on September 28, 2019.

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