Alabama State, who punched a ticket to Birmingham, Ala., based on its shiny new Eastern Division crown, will arrive on a losing streak after falling to Tuskegee in the Turkey Day Classic. That’s the sixth loss in the last seven meetings against the Hornets’ pesky Division II regional rival.
Of course, Tuskegee also beat the SWAC’s Western Division champion Texas Southern. The now 8-3 Tigers — who meet Alabama State (7-4) in the league title match on Dec. 11 — lost early in the season, when they were still finding their offensive stride.
Still, taken together, it’s kind of embarrassing — both of them falling to a lower divisional foe. And it got me to thinking. Maybe the SWAC should consider inviting Tuskegee to move up into the league. The Golden Tigers, even as a D-II program, can clearly compete at a higher level against common foes than, say, criminally underfunded Mississippi Valley State.
Anyway, Joshua Harris threw for a touchdown and Nykeem Barton rushed for another to secure the 17-10 victory. Tuskegee’s stingy defense also lived up to its advance billing. In each of Tuskegee’s nine wins this season, that group has held opponents to 21 points or less.
Alabama State quarterback Devin Dominguez — erratic at times, completing just 5 passes for 40 yards the week before at Southern — threw for 218 yards, but also tossed a trio of devastating interceptions. Seven of his throws, accounting for 105 yards, went to Nick Andrews. Dominguez ended up as ASU’s leading rusher with 59 yards; Andrew Pitts added 31 yards rushing on eight carries.
Dominguez’s 5-yard touchdown run to get Alabama State within a touchdown at the 8:08 mark, however, would be his team’s final score. Alabama State, which saw a four-game winning streak end, would only manage one more first down.
Tuskegee now leads Alabama State 60-33-4 in the all-time series, and is 48-31-3 since the founding of the Turkey Day Classic.
The Turkey Day Classic was not without controversy, when Alabama State’s band interrupted the Tuskegee halftime performance …