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Alabama A&M escapes with 42-41 win over South Carolina State

Alabama A&M escapes with 42-41 win over South Carolina State
Alabama A&M quarterback Aqeel Glass (4) looks to pass against Alabama State University during the Magic City Classic at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday April 17, 2021. Credit: Mickey Welsh / Advertiser via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Alabama A&M Bulldogs kicked off their 2021 fall season with a bang defeating the South Carolina State Bulldogs in a 42-41 thriller.

Alabama A&M is coming off a spring season in which they finished 5-0 including a 40-33 win over the UAPB Golden Lions to claim their first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship since 2006.

Senior Quarterback Aqeel Glass led the Bulldogs recording 1,626 passing yards scoring 19 touchdowns to just five interceptions on his way to being named SWAC Offensive Player of the Year and Black College Football Player of the Year. In addition, Glass was recently named the first selection to the 2022 HBCU Legacy Bowl.

South Carolina State entered this game looking for revenge after suffering a 31-7 loss to Alabama A&M in one of their four spring games.

They entered this season as the favorite to win the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) as they ranked at the top of the conference’s preseason predicted order of finish.

They also looked to build on the momentum of North Carolina Central’s upset win one week ago over the Alcorn State Braves in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. This game was significant as it served as a potential preview of this year’s Celebration Bowl.

Glass put together a spectacular game for A&M finishing with 426 passing yards on 28-of-49 passing scoring four touchdowns. All four of his touchdown passes each went to a different receiver with sophomore Brian Jenkins leading them all with five receptions for 116 passing yards. All-SWAC receiver Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim led the team with seven receptions going for 82 yards but was unable to get into the end zone.

Senior running back Gary Quarles also had a great start to the season recording 129 rushing yards on 22 attempts scoring a touchdown.

On defense, A&M was led by led by sophomore defensive end Phillip Hopkins who recorded 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles while junior safety Trenell Troutman recorded 2.0 tackles for loss and an interception that he returned for 50 yards.

South Carolina State sophomore quarterback Corey Fields had an off passing game throwing for 213 yards on 14-of-28 passing throwing three interceptions but was able to score a touchdown. He did, however, do well on the ground finishing with 89 rushing yards on nine attempts.

Fields’ top target was sophomore wide receiver Shaquan Davis with 140 receiving yards on five catches scoring the team’s lone receiving touchdown.

It was freshman running back Kendrel Flowers that helped keep South Carolina State in the game posting 80 rushing yards on 14 attempts scoring three touchdowns.

The South Carolina State defense forced three fumbles in the game all leading to turnovers with two coming in the first half.

South Carolina State will be back in action next Saturday when they play the Clemson Tigers while Alabama A&M will not see the field again until September 16 when they play the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.