HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — With Arkansas-Pine Bluff freshman running back Jeremiah Young out due to a concussion, junior fullback Micheal Wilson was expected to get more opportunities rushing the football against Alabama A&M on Saturday.
The way quarterback Ben Anderson has gone on the ground, that hasn’t been necessary. But the one time Wilson ran the ball, he made it count.
His 4-yard carry with 10:12 left in the second quarter gave UAPB a 21-7 lead. It was also his second touchdown of the season, a week after his first.
Primarily used as a blocking back, Wilson has only seven carries for 34 yards to his credit this season.
“We appreciate the effort Mike gives us (and) the attitude Mike has,” UAPB coach Monte Coleman said. “Mike will continue to be a team player. That’s what we need more of, team players.”
Sixth-year UAPB receiver Thomas Winters had to wait for opportunities of his own this season. He wasn’t cleared to play until the sixth game of the season against Texas Southern and went into the A&M game with nine catches for 114 yards, but none for a touchdown.
The 11th time was the charm. Winters, who also has battled knee injuries through much of his collegiate career, caught a 5-yard scoring pass with 4:25 left in the third quarter to put UAPB back in front, 35-34.
Winters also had a 25-yard reception Saturday.
“With the number of guys we have out, because of injury, eligibility or whatever, it’s going to take the Micheal Wilsons and Thomas Winters to come in and give us that jolt we need,” Coleman said. “Mike hasn’t been a selfish ballplayer. He’s waited his turn for two years, letting freshmen come in and play before him. When Mike gets an opportunity, he takes advantage and it doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Scott breaks down UAPB’s defense
It’s no secret UAPB has struggled to slow down opposing rushing attacks this season. The Golden Lions’ 263.7 rushing yards allowed ranks dead last in the 10-team SWAC.
And Alabama A&M graduate student Barrington Scott found the holes in the Lions’ defense … enough to gain 201 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries.
“We just executed,” the 6-foot, 215-pound Ball State transfer said. “In front of us were some gashes and we took what we could get. Sometimes it was 2 or 3 yards, but the biggest gain we could get, we got them.”
Scott’s longest rush was a 24-yard touchdown with 1:51 left, padding the Bulldogs’ lead to the final 50-42 score.
He’s not the first player to rush for 200 yards on UAPB this season. Tommy Gooden rushed for 214 yards in Jackson State’s Oct. 5 victory.
“We want to be a great rush defense,” Coleman said. “That’s not the type defense we want to play, especially giving up the number of points. I’ll take the last touchdown, strategy-wise. (We) let them score right away, then we get the ball back and have some time.
“But 200 yards by one man, that’s embarrassing.”
A&M outgained UAPB in total yards, 563-440. A&M’s total offense and points Saturday are the most UAPB has given up in SWAC play this year.
Chippy game for Bulldogs
The Bulldogs’ victory was big, but it wasn’t clean.
A&M, which had the second-fewest penalties in the SWAC before Saturday, was flagged 12 times for 157 yards.
Two of the flags came on UAPB’s kick return after A&M took a 27-21 lead. Unsportsmanlike penalties against both teams were offsetting, but an A&M player was ejected after throwing a punch that resulted in one of the flags.
UAPB committed seven penalties for 68 yards.
The game ball goes to …
Scott for his rushing performance, including a pair of first downs that kept A&M’s last scoring drive alive and took precious time off the clock. Scott averaged only 80.6 rushing yards per game before Saturday.
Next for the Lions …
UAPB will wrap up the regular season at Prairie View A&M next Saturday. Kickoff in Prairie View, Texas, is set for 1 p.m.