COLUMBIA, S.C. – Morehouse College scored a pair of special teams touchdowns to beat the Benedict College Tigers 14-10 on Saturday afternoon in Charlie W. Johnson stadium.
Benedict falls to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the SIAC. Morehouse improves to 7-1 overall and 3-1 in the SIAC.
The Maroon Tigers took advantage of a bad punt snap on Benedict’s first possession of the game, and Ben Goins recovered the ball and returned it the final 10 yards for a touchdown, and a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. Then with just over a minute remaining until halftime and the game tied at 7-7, the Maroon Tigers blocked a Benedict punt and returned the ball five yards for their second score of the game, which proved to be enough for the win.
“We played uninspired for a Homecoming game. We came out flat,” Benedict head coach Mike White said. “We didn’t have what we needed to do, and they came out and played a better game. I’m disappointed, because I thought we had a pretty good week of preparation.”
The Tigers went on a long drive in the second quarter to tie the game, keeping the ball on the ground the entire way until Harris completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Danye Washington with 3:35 left in the first half. Rigoberto Tinoco added the PAT to tie the game at 7-7.
Morehouse made it 14-7 on the blocked punt before the half.
“Special teams, we’re hurting again, and I’m going to leave it at that,” White said. “I still thought we had a good week of preparation and should have been able to handle those punts.”
Benedict cut the lead to 14-10 with a 26-yard field goal from Tinoco with 5:29 left in the third quarter. Benedict had the ball at the 5-yard line and first down, but a pair of false start penalties hurt the Tigers.
“Offensively, we’re still sputtering,” White said. “We’re able to run the ball from the 20 to the 20 in the middle of the field, but we seem to bog down when we get into the red zone.”
The Tigers held the SIAC’s top offense to just 148 yards of total offense, 48 yards rushing, 1-of-11 on third downs. Santo Dunn, the SIAC’s leading rusher, had just 25 yards on five carries. Benedict had 192 yards of total offense and had a large lead in time of possession (36:53 to 22:30).
Benedict starting quarterback Dominique Harris was 8-of-16 for just 48 yards and a touchdown before suffering an injury early in the fourth quarter. He returned for the last play of the game after backup Phillip Brown also suffered an injury, and threw an interception – his second of the game – on fourth-and-26 with a minute left in the game.
Brown led the team in rushing with 74 yards on 20 carries, while Raheem Jennings added 56 yards on nine carries, getting a season-long 30-yard carry on Benedict’s final drive.
Robert Cummings, Amari Andrews, Collins Tensley and Elroy Maloyd all had four tackles to lead the Tigers, with Tensley getting 1 ½ sacks to give him a team-high 6 ½ on the season.
The Tigers are home again next week for their final home game of the season, taking on Albany State at 2 p.m.