Birmingham AL (Sports Network) - The Southwestern Athletic Conference's most
consistent team this season also was its most resilient.
That was evident Saturday at Legion Field when Arkansas-Pine Bluff overcame a
two-touchdown deficit, forced overtime with a late 95-yard touchdown pass and
then beat Jackson State in the extra session, 24-21, to win the SWAC
Championship Game for the first time and the conference title for the second
Tyler Strickland kicked a 26-yard field goal to end the first overtime game in
SWAC Championship Game history and complete UAPB's first 10-win season. The
Golden Lions won their final seven games to go 10-2 under SWAC coach of the
year Monte Coleman.
UAPB, which trailed by 14 points twice in the first half, never led in the
game until Strickland's field goal. The Golden Lions tied the game, though, on
a stunning 95-yard pass from Benjamin Anderson to Willie Young with two
minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
In the overtime, Jackson State's Raphael Dent missed a 43-yard field goal.
Justin Billings then opened the Jackson State possession with a 20-yard run to
the 5-yard line, setting up Strickland's field goal four plays later.
The Golden Lions' other SWAC title was in 1966.
The two teams also played on Oct. 6, with West Division champion UAPB beating
East Division champion Jackson State, 34-24.
Jackson State (7-5), which was seeking its 17th SWAC title and first since
2007, took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
Tigers quarterback Clayton Moore threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide
receiver Rico Richardson, the SWAC's offensive player of the year, for a 7-0
lead with 9:16 left.
UAPB then turned the ball over on the first play of its next possession,
Jackson State's Qua Cox intercepted Anderson's downfield pass at the
Tigers' 21. The Tigers converted the turnover into an eight-play scoring
drive, capped by Rakeems Sims' 37-yard touchdown at the 4:48 mark.
UAPB pulled within 14-7 on Anderson's 1-yard rush on the first play of the
second quarter. Jackson State then pushed its lead to 21-7 when quarterback
Clayton Moore scored from 1 yard out to complete a 16-play, 64-yard drive with
After a defensive stop, the Tigers drove toward the UAPB red zone again. But
Moore was hit from behind by Xavier Lofton and the ball came out of his hands
and bounced to Golden Lions linebacker Bill Ross, who caught it and raced 73
yards for a touchdown with only four seconds left, tightening the game to
21-14 by halftime.
Jackson State lost despite holding a 10-minute, 26-second edge in time of
possession. The Tigers entered the game on a five-game winning streak.
The Sports Network