TUSKEGEE — The visitor flag flew over homecoming, after big mistakes cost Tuskegee, and after the defending conference champions proved their power, as Miles College pushed on to the SIAC title game.
Miles College beat Tuskegee 20-6 on Saturday at Abbott Stadium, dancing on the way off campus after a 97-yard pick-six touchdown shocked an overflowing Tuskegee crowd, and helped define the Miles defense’s effort in an overpowering win.
Miles College held Tuskegee out of the end zone all game. The Golden Bears’ N’Ktavious Floyd raced back that interception late in the second quarter, flipping the field and putting Miles College up 17-3 at halftime.
It was winner-take-all, and Miles College took it to advance on to face Savannah State in the SIAC Championship Game next week. Miles College moved to 8-2 on the season and 5-1 in the conference.
Tuskegee ended its season at 5-5 and 4-2 in the league. The Golden Tigers won four straight entering Saturday, and with that second-half surge suddenly hosted Miles College in the regular-season finale in position to play for a spot in the league championship game — all as supporters flooded the city and the historic campus, packing the stands and the hills around the stadium on homecoming.
But Miles College made big plays and kept from making big mistakes, and cruised on back to the championship game.
“It’s hard,” Tuskegee head coach Willie Slater said on the field as the Miles College band trumpeted its celebration songs into the evening air. “I didn’t want this outcome, but I hope our seniors go on and do well, do well in life.
“But it’s back to the drawing board for us.”
Tuskegee drove to the Miles College 9-yard line on that critical second-quarter drive, trailing just 10-3 when the Golden Tigers faced third-and-7 from the 9. But that’s when Miles College pressure got to Tuskegee quarterback Jamarcus Ezell, and Floyd picked it out of the air at the 3 near the sideline and raced all the way down that sideline to put the Golden Bears up big. That margin proved to be enough for Miles College, with the way its defense played on the way to its eighth win.
Ezell and fellow Tuskegee quarterback Ahmad DeRamus finished the game with three combined interceptions.
“I didn’t think we played very well on either side of the ball, but I guess I have to give credit to Miles,” Slater said. “They’re a very, very good football team; a very disciplined team, a very together team. They had a plan and it looked like they performed that plan today.”
Tuskegee cut it to 17-6 with a third-quarter field goal, but Miles College got those points back and shut out Tuskegee the rest of the way to ice the win.
“I thought we left a lot of good plays out here on the field today,” Slater said.
“It’s kind of hard to overcome when you start to snowball. The snowball starts to rolling and it ends up running over you. That happened to us a couple times this year.”