Everyone headed to the Magic City Classic knew that it was going to be a wet one and the rain didn’t disappoint in Birmingham. Neither did Alabama State or Alabama A&M.
The Bulldogs got on the board at the 9:39 mark of the first quarter behind a Jordan Bentley one-yard touchdown that was set up by a 76-yard completion between Aqeel Glass and Zabrian Moore.
The rest of the half was dominated by Alabama State, specifically the second quarter. At the 14:04 mark of the second quarter, KHA’Darris Davis found his favorite target Michael Jefferson for a 48-yard score tying the game at seven all.
Then it was special teams putting seven more on the board, when ASU blocked a Bulldog punt and returned it for a touchdown. Up by 14, Davis found Jefferson again for a ten-yard touchdown, to make it 21-7 at the half in favor of the Hornets.
In the second half, momentum switched sides and the Alabama State offense seemingly didn’t return to the field.
Alabama A&M put together an 11 play, 62-yard drive capped off by a Bentley one-yard touchdown in the third, to pull within one score. Later in the fourth Glass showed that he could do it on the ground, rushing in from three-yard line to tie the game up at 21 apiece.
The Alabama State defense did enough late in the fourth quarter to force overtime. A key sack against Glass on third down shut the door on a potential game-winning drive by Alabama A&M.
Alabama A&M took the opening possession in overtime and scored a touchdown after feeding Jordan Bentley for his third touchdown.
Alabama State was in a position to quickly answer after Davis hit Jefferson for a long pass down to the five-yard line. But the ensuing play was a quarterback keeper that didn’t fool AAMU and ended with Davis losing five yards. Two plays later an apparent touchdown was overturned when it was ruled that Davis stepped out of bounds at the four-yard line before diving into the endzone. Nevertheless, the Hornets made it in on a crucial fourth and goal when Davis found Tyrek Allen open in the front corner of the end zone. The ensuing extra point sent the game to a second overtime.
In the second overtime Alabama State got the ball first and this time it was the back of the end zone providing a golden opportunity. Jahod Booker hauled in a touchdown catch just inches shy of stepping out of bounds to put the Hornets on top.
Alabama A&M ran two ineffective plays before scoring the easiest touchdown possible. Zabrian Moore ran down the field unguarded and just had to play a game of catch with Glass to force the second overtime.
The Alabama A&M offense was right back on the field for the third overtime. There was no doubt that Jordan Bentley was going to touch the ball but it was his ability as a receiver that was clutch. Bentley flared out to the right side of the line and caught a pass in the endzone for his fourth touchdown.
In the third overtime it’s mandatory that teams go for a two-point conversion and it was Bentley up the middle to put Alabama A&M up 43-35.
Facing a fourth and one the Alabama State offense found itself in a do or die situation and Allen came up big taking a slant route to the house for a touchdown. The shootout wasn’t over, Alabama State had to convert the mandatory two-point conversion.
A quick slant pass in the endzone was broken up by senior safety Desmond Fletcher and that sealed the 43-41 win for Alabama A&M.
The win was the second in a row for Connell Maynor and his Alabama A&M Bulldogs.