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This Saturday, the Savannah State Tigers (2-6) will host the undefeated Benedict College (8-0). However, their recent performances tell different stories.
Savannah State has struggled, losing five of their last six games, including a 14-21 defeat against Tuskegee University. Benedict College, however, is soaring high, coming off a convincing 63-14 win against Kentucky State University and currently sitting at the top of the SIAC conference.
With just two games left on their schedule, Savannah State is out of the SIAC championship race. Their offense, ranked 12th in the SIAC conference, has faced challenges this season, especially after the benching of their starting quarterback, Jadon Adams, who had four turnovers in the previous game.
Their upcoming match against Benedict College’s formidable defense, which allows less than 8 points and 185 yards per game, will require a near-perfect performance.
Savannah State Offensive Coordinator, Nick Trist, acknowledged the challenges posed by Benedict College’s defense and emphasized the need for a successful offensive strategy. He also highlighted Benedict defensive stars Loobert Denelus, and Jayden Broughton who both have 8 sacks on the year.
“We have to take care of the football, they have a really good front so we have to find ways to neutralize that and it starts with getting those guys blocked. They have the two top sack leaders in the country so we have to win that matchup at the line of scrimmage and we just have to take care of the ball, and pick up first downs and shorten the game.”
Adding to their challenges, Savannah State will have two freshman tackles, Keshaun Palmore (Right Tackle) and Dominic Kellings (Left Tackle), starting against Benedict. However, Dominic Kellings’ injury during practice might result in senior offensive lineman Kyle Frazier replacing him at Left Tackle.
Junior Quarterback, Jadon Adams, also shared his observations about Benedict’s defense and highlighted the key elements for a victory.
“They’re resilient and they always fly to the football, they are very disciplined. So, we have to make sure that we are on all 10 in order to win this game.”
On the defensive side, Savannah State will face a tough task against Benedict’s high-scoring offense, which averages 41.3 points and 409.8 yards per game this season. However, Savannah State’s defense is talented, ranking second in the SIAC conference.
Head Coach Aaron Kelton expressed his confidence in neutralizing Benedict’s offensive threats.
“It’s a full game, so part of it offensively we got to be able to move the football. And keep them there offense off the field. But the biggest part for us is no plays over the top and when we get to third downs get off the field on third downs. Really making an effort to get off the field on third downs, we know we have to be physical and run to the ball and create a bunch of turnovers. They have a good offense, but if we keep pushing we will be alright.”
Benedict College currently holds an impeccable 8-0 record and is coming off a dominant 63-14 win over Kentucky State University. Their offense showcased both a strong passing and rushing game, while their defense held Kentucky State to just 266 yards and intercepted their quarterback, Navy Curry, three times.
Benedict has been a force to reckon with this season, topping both offensive and defensive categories in the SIAC conference, averaging 41.3 points while allowing only 7.1 points per game. They were recently ranked in the AFCA polls as the fifth-best team in Division II football.
Adams acknowledged Benedict’s strength as a team but conveyed a message of determination to his offense and the Savannah State Tigers.
“Why not us? They haven’t lost at a game in almost two years, so why not be the first to beat them.”
Both teams will face off at Theodore A. Wright Stadium in Savannah GA on Saturday at 3 PM EST.
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