Thursday, October 15, 2009

Arkansas-Pine Bluff 20, Jackson State 13 (O.T.)


JACKSON, MISS. — Monte Coleman knew the decision he had just made was risky. But that didn’t mean it was necessarily difficult. His Arkansas-Pine Bluff team had just taken a three point lead on a Carlos Reyes field goal from 38 yards out in an overtime series that was made possible by a spark lit by the insertion of backup quarterback Josh Boudreaux. But a personal foul penalty on Jackson State’s Malcolm Palmer gave Coleman the option of extending the lead and making it a little bit harder on the Tigers. His team had the potentially winning points on the scoreboard, and Coleman took them off.

“We had momentum,” he said. “That’s what I was counting on.” Coleman’s faith was paid back by Boudreaux, who hadn’t seen game-action since a season-opening loss to Arkansas-Monticello on Sept. 5. Two plays after the penalty, Boudreaux scrambled to his left, saw Raymond Webber in the back of the end zone and lofted a pass that landed safely in the senior wide receiver’s arms. A James Harrell tip of a Tray Rutland pass on fourth-and-2 ended Jackson State’s hopes of forcing another overtime period, and it set off a celebration alongside UAPB’s sideline as the Golden Lions finished the improbable 20-13 overtime win at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday.


JACKSON, MISS.— One of the biggest disappointments that came from last week’s canceled game against Alcorn State was the nullification of the stellar defensive statistics Arkansas-Pine Bluff put up through two quarters on Oct. 1. That game was canceled after halftime because of a rain and lightning storm and, among those numbers lost to Mother Nature, was Kevin Thornton’s fifth interception of the season. That development upset UAPB coach Monte Coleman and Thornton, a senior free safety who has made it his mission this year to break the school’s career interception record — even if nobody can seem to figure out what that record is. In the Golden Lions first game since that night it didn’t take long for Thornton to get the interception back.

Kareem Copeland's Talking Points

Jackson State had several opportunities to put Arkansas-Pine Bluff away, or at least extend the lead, but couldn't. JSU forced UAPB into a three-and-out after scoring the first touchdown of the game, but quarterback Tray Rutland threw an interception on the very next play. Not only was the pass picked off, but Carlos Everett had two steps on the defender when the ball was underthrown. The Golden Lions had four drives that stalled after a maximum of four plays, but Rutland threw interceptions on three of the ensuing drives.

Taking a U-turn

It's almost impossible to imagine two more different scenes within the same locale. Seven days ago, Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium was the site of the world's largest Jackson State party after a win over Southern. On Saturday, silence reigned supreme despite the blaring of the Arkansas-Pine Bluff band. Seven days ago, JSU players ran around the field waving the pep squad's flags. On Saturday, Terrance Onyiuke and Marcell Young sat dejected on the metal bench, staring at the grass in front of them. It was the look of a team that was two minutes from victory but watched its opponent score 14 straight points for a 20-13 overtime victory in front of an announced crowd of 11,082.

For JSU football coach, death of wife a loss like no other

They had driven 10 1/2 hours, from Jackson to Cincinnati. Only 53 miles remained to their destination of Xenia, Ohio, when the oldies radio station played a song Jackson State University head football coach Rick Comegy had heard a thousand times - the 1971 Bill Withers hit, Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone. This time he listened to the lyrics. Every word felt like a knife to the heart. ... Ain't no sunshine when she's gone/only darkness every day/ain't no sunshine when she's gone/and this house just ain't no home anytime she goes away ... A family friend was driving Comegy and his 15-year-old son Rick Jr. to a hometown memorial service for Comegy's wife of 25 years, Connie, who died June 22 of cancer. She was 54. In the passenger seat, Comegy wanted to let it all out. Cry. Scream. Kick. Punch the dash. "But I couldn't let Rick Jr. see me like that," he says.

Tigers' defense falters at crunch time

Jackson State will find itself in the midst of a defensive battle quite often this season. That's what happens when a club excels on defense and employs a low-scoring, ball-control offense. So, there was no surprise when neither offense could get going when JSU hosted Arkansas-Pine Bluff. However, the Dark Side defense rarely gets outplayed, but it did Saturday in a 20-13 overtime loss. "I walked the sideline and I was looking in the eyes of guys that weren't even playing and the guys that were playing, I knew we were going to win that football game," UAPB coach Monte Coleman said. "It was something about tonight that was going to be no give up by anybody.


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