On any given Saturday, anything and everything can happen-especially if one is a road team visiting someone else’s stadium.
Kentucky State (KSU) has been at the bottom tier of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) standings and a win against Fort Valley State (FVSU) would have made the Thorobreds’ 2010 season.
Fort Valley State had been riding high after beating long-time SIAC nemesis Tuskegee at home, 26-0. However, the big question leading up to the FVSU-Kentucky State game was whether the Wildcats are too overconfident or have a letdown.
FVSU coach Donald Pittman had expressed apprehension during the week and the coaching staff knew that the Thorobreds from Frankfort, Kentucky were able to put forth a strong effort.
FVSU scored first, but KSU scored last. However, a failed extra-point attempt by KSU earlier in the game helped the Wildcats sneak past the upstart Kentucky State Thorobreds, 14-12.
FVSU’s win pushes their record to 7-1 overall and 6-1 as a conference mark, while KSU drops to 3 and 6, 2 and 5 in the SIAC.
Wildcats’ junior quarterback Eugene Smith started, but didn’t finish due to an ankle injury and his availability for next week’s game against Lane is undetermined at this time.
Nicholas Stevens had a relatively uneventful day as the Kentucky State defense led by Derrick Addai was able to keep the high-powered FVSU offense off-balance all game long. Stephens had a modest 6-for-12 performance for 120 passing yards and the harassing Thorobred defense was able to sack Stephens three times.
The Wildcats gave up a touchdown on the game’s final play, but the defense came through with the stop on the two-point conversion as FVSU avoided the upset and nipped Kentucky State 14-12 on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the lack of big plays, FVSU was able to make the most of the few they had in the first half. Aaron Courtney scored on a three-yard run to give the Wildcats an early 7-0 lead with approximately eight minutes to go in the first quarter.
The Wildcats’ defense was stout for most of the game, and just before halftime, FVSU was able to muster the biggest pass play of the game when Stephens connected with Tony Reid on a 75-yard pass play that put Wildcats in a position to score its second touchdown with less than six minutes to go before halftime. A few plays later FVSU scored to make the score 14-0.
Kentucky State’s got a great kickoff return before halftime which helped to generate a touchdown scoring drive which culminated with Thorobreds’ quarterback Jerrell Noland scoring with under two minutes to go. However, the extra-point kick failed, so the score was 14-6 at halftime.
Later in the game that missed extra-point would come back to haunt Kentucky State.
It appeared that FVSU’s defense would be able to close the game out. However, late in the fourth quarter, KSU’s prayers of a turnover emerged.
The Wildcats’ defense stopped KSU on four downs with less than two minutes to go in the game, but the FVSU offense decided to run the clock out. Then disaster strikes, FVSU fumbled, and KSU’s Carlos Ware was able to get the ball back inside Wildcats’ territory at the 45-yard line.
KSU was in a desperate situation and converted on a fourth down and 19 yards to go when backup sophomore quarterback Martez James connected on a 24-yard pass to Julian Brown.
KSU refused to go down quietly as the Thorobreds were one play from losing, but converted another fourth down play via the pass interference penalty. The second life via the penalty provided the sophomore James an opportunity to complete an 11-yard pass play for a touchdown to Jamaree Gordon as time expired.
However, the late touchdown made the score 14-12, so Kentucky needed to convert a two-point conversion to tie the game and go into overtime.
KSU’s conversion attempt wasn’t successful and Doug Pittman’s Wildcats’ team was able to survive this road trip to Frankfort, Kentucky with a close win.
Albany State was able to slip past Morehouse on Oct. 23rd, so the upcoming Albany State-Fort Valley State game for the SIAC title is still intact.
Both teams have a game remaining before their eventual matchup on Saturday, November 6th.
Albany State will face a one-win Stillman team on Saturday, October 30th and FVSU will face a winless Lane College team.