In a true fall weather day, the Wildcats found Saturday afternoon to be a tough one. Savannah State found pay dirt on the football game’s opening drive and held off Fort Valley State, 24-6, in Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
In a nine-minute opening drive, the visiting Tigers (7-2, 5-1) methodically worked their way down the field until quarterback D’Vonn Gibbons dove into the end zone from three yards out for the 7-0 lead to cap a 13-play, 72-yard drive. Late in the second frame, Savannah State picked off passes in back-to-back FVSU (5-4, 3-2) possessions and converted both into scores of one-yard and five yards on a combined four plays for a 21-0 margin the home team would not be able to recover.
Despite being outscored by 18 points, FVSU was narrowly outgained, 211-190, in a more defensive contest. The two SIAC foes combined for only 103 yards passing with the defenses posting seven sacks and 20 tackles for loss.
Running back Emanuel Wilson was the game’s lone star. The SIAC top rusher ran for 130 yards on only 17 carries for a 7.6-yard per carry average with his 15-yard scoring run. It was Wilson’s third outing of 130-plus yards in six games.
The senior defensive end Wildcat tandem of Antonio Golden and Jahseari Patterson combined for 19 tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks and four quarterback hurries. The SIAC tackles for loss leader, Golden, recorded 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks of his 11 stops. Patterson had his season-high of eight tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a half sack. Tyler Moore, who also forced a fumble, and Michael Hicks Jr. added seven and six tackles.
After being stopped on the visitor 49-yardline to open the second half, FVSU took advantage of its short punt hitting a Savannah State player and gained possession back on the SSU 27-yardline. Wilson took care of all 27 yards with a 12-yard first carry and never stopped churning his legs for the final 15 yards into the end zone to cut the deficit to 21-6 at 10:40 in the third quarter.
The Wildcats, though, were unable to make another appearance in Tigers territory for the final 28 minutes to get any closer.
FVSU completes its regular schedule next Saturday afternoon, Nov. 6, in a the 31st Annual Fountain City Classic against No. 25 Albany State in Columbus, Ga. Kick-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.