Alabama St. breaks Tuskegee winning streak

Published 7:18 pm Thursday, November 27, 2008

MONTGOMERY (AP) – Travis Rayford’s interception in the end zone on the final play helped preserve Alabama State’s 17-13 win over Tuskegee Thursday in the Turkey Day Classic, ending the Golden Tigers’ 27-game winning streak.

The loss snapped the Division II Golden Tigers’ winning streak that was the longest at any level in the NCAA and ruined their hopes of a second straight perfect season.

The Hornets (3-8) had taken a 17-13 lead with a late 38-yard field goal by Andrew Lyons and had to hold on as Tuskegee (10-1) fought to the Hornet 16-yard line in the final 30 seconds.

Following three incomplete passes by Jacary Atkinson, Rayford intercepted Atkinson in the end zone as time expired.

“We pulled out everything we had,” ASU coach Reggie Barlow said of his first Turkey Day victory. “We didn’t hold anything back. This game meant that much and we needed it — bad. I’m proud of these guys and how hard they fought.”

The win was Alabama State’s first over Tuskegee since 2003. The Hornets play in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Atkinson, who had a 23-yard touchdown pass to Jason English early in the first quarter, scored on a 1-yard run with 4:50 remaining in the game. The extra point was blocked, leaving the Golden Tigers needing a touchdown at the end.

Tuskegee’s last loss had been on Oct. 28, 2006 when the Golden Tigers fell to Clark Atlanta 10-6.

“It’s great to be a part of the Tuskegee program, not just the streak,” Tuskegee coach Willie Slater said. “We come out to win every game and we came out to win today. It just didn’t fall our way.

“We’ve been the ones shaking people’s hands and saying good job 26 times in-a-row. I guess it’s our time (to be on the other side) now.”