Before the season started, the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) had their media day that brought together reporters and the conference’s coaches. A preseason poll listing in July was provided by the coaches in regard to who were the conference’s top teams.
The Top 3 were determined to be (1) Tuskegee, (2) Albany State and (3) Fort Valley State.
As the season unfolds, Albany State University (ASU) is the team to beat as of now.
One of the main reasons is that ASU defeated Tuskegee on the road in a convincing 34-6 beatdown. The loss was Tuskegee’s first at home since 2004, ending a streak of 24 consecutive wins.
ASU quarterback Stanley Jennings continued his strong play as the signal caller of the Golden Rams and he threw four touchdowns in a 34-7 win over Lane College on Saturday, October 9th.
Albany State remains undefeated at 6 and 0.
Jennings, a South Florida native who also spent time in metro Atlanta, has been the driving force in the Golden Rams’ offensive attack and has shown no signs of slowing down.
The in-season accolades have started as the 6’2, 235 pound junior quarterback was recently awared as SIAC Offenisve Player of the Week for his 284 yard, four touchdown performance against Lane College which included touchdown passes of 65-yard and 59-yard passes.
It was the second time that Jennings had been awarded this SIAC honor.
In a recent story in the Albany Herald newspaper, the Golden Rams’ coaches had commented about what had impressed them about Jennings prior to the junior quarterback attending Albany State as a transfer student.
“When we sat down (to evaluate quarterbacks), he jumped off the film, making plays with his legs and his big arm and making plays on the move,” quarterbacks coach Uyl Joyner said. “He fit our scheme better than anybody else because of his ability to run and throw the ball.”
In Jennings’ most recent strong performance against Miles on Saturday, October 9th, he passed for 230 yards and three TDs.
Jennings was able to dissect the Miles College defense and on the opening possession, he connected on a 16-yard pass to senior Ronnie Childs.
It was the beginning of a very long day as Albany State continued to dominate in all aspects.
Jennings’ second TD pass was a 68-yard bomb that was caught by Ronnie Davis toward the final minute of the first quarter in which the score was 13-0 at that point.
Macon native and former Jones County High School star Robert Welton scored from six yards away following a Miles turnover that put the Golden Rams up comfortably at 20-0 by halftime.
Albany State’s offensive show in front of a homecoming crowd was not over as Jennings’ third TD came shortly after halftime when Octavius Stanton was the beneficiary of a 41-yard throw that extended the lead to 27-0.
Defensively, the Golden Rams almost missed a shutout, but it was a great performance nonetheless which was led by All-SIAC defensive star Jacob Hardwick.
Miles College’s Carlton Hill was able to break the shutout when receiver Vondragus Hudson caught a 21-yard pass with approximately five minutes left in the fourth quarter which made it 34-7, which was the eventual final score.
“It feels great man,” said senior Jacob Hardwick, who had a sack to increase his SIAC-leading total to eight on the season. “I love it.”
“(We) have to be focused on the rest of the season and finish it on out,” Hardwick said. “I (like our) level (of play) right now, but we have to keep it going.”
Albany State will face Benedict next week on Saturday, October 16th.
Eventually, a Fort Valley State vs. Albany State matchup may determine who wins the SIAC.
For now, the Golden Rams must take care of business by continuing to win.