Dominant offensive first half leads to TU blowout vs. Fort Valley


What a difference a bye week can make!

Coach Willie Slater said that his Tuskegee Golden Tigers were still looking for answers on how to score on the offensive end after a solid effort from the TU defense assisted defeating Lane College in mid-September to improve to 2-1 on the season. After defeating the top team in the Eastern Division of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference by a score of 49-18 this past weekend, it’s safe to say that his coaching staff has found answers.

“I think the bye week definitely helped us with a lot of plays,” Slater said. “We had a lot of big plays that I wasn’t sure that we could get against them.”

That quote can be defined as a severe understatement, considering that the Golden Tigers had 407 yards of offense by halftime, and ended up with the second highest offensive total in TU history, with 671 yards. The only Tuskegee team that has racked up a higher yardage total than Tuskegee did against Fort Valley State was the 2007 Golden Tigers’ team, which managed to gain 695 yards against Clark Atlanta University in a 51-0 shutout in the ninth game of Tuskegee’s last run to a Black National Championship.

What stands out about the 671 yards is how most of them were earned, with a single-game school record 441 yards coming from the running game. The team rushing total broke the previous single-game team high in rushing yardage, besting the mark of 432 yards against George Mason set in 2007. Senior tailback Derrick Washington exploded for 218 yards to go with two rushing touchdowns, and he also threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Kaleep Williams with 2:31 remaining before halftime.

“I think that he has always had this skill set,” Slater said of the transfer from the University of Missouri. “But, we’re just now learning to call plays for him a bit better. He managed to throw a perfect spiral down the middle of the field in a play that we had been working on all week in practice.”

Additionally, both Patrick Hill and Michael J. Thornton had 73 yards rushing and one touchdown each to add to the gaudy running numbers. For the game, the Golden Tigers had a total of seven players who gained at least ten yards rushing.
The passing numbers also looked better for the quarterback duo of Rashard Burkette and Justin Nared. Nared completed 7-of-16 pass attempts for 88 yards and two sacks, while Burkette completed four of his six passes for 95 yards and an interception.

“I thought that Justin did a really good job of managing the game,” Slater said. “He can continue to work on his passing, which I thought Rashard did really well with along with running the football. But, Burkette can improve in the ways that he manages the game.”

Next up for Tuskegee Football is the 77th Annual Tuskegee-Morehouse Classic, being played in Columbus, Ga. this Saturday beginning at 1:00 p.m. Central. In Atlanta against neighborhood rival Clark Atlanta University last weekend, Morehouse posted a 34-16 victory to improve to 2-3 on the season.

Slater was on-guard when asked about Morehouse, seeing as how the Maroon Tigers snapped a streak of seven consecutive victories in the annual classic by the Golden Tigers last season with a 17-14 victory in overtime. The 2012 season has been rather strange for Morehouse, as they are currently 2-3 after going 23-8 over their last three seasons.

“I believe that all the teams in the SIAC are well coached,” Slater said. “But, the difference with Morehouse is that they have the players to go along with their coaching in order to succeed.”

© 2012 Tuskegee University

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