Alabama State and Tuskegee wrapped up their respective 2021 campaigns in the 97th Turkey Day Classic on Thursday. Alabama State (5-6) was too much for visiting Tuskegee (3-8) with a 43-9 victory in the season finale.
ASU cooked up two first quarter touchdowns to jump out early on Tuskegee. Jacory Merritt scored on a four yard run to put the Hornets on top six minutes into the game. With two minutes to go in the first quarter Merritt caught a six-yard pass from quarterback Joe Owens Jr. and the Hornets were up 14-0. An ASU field goal in the second quarter made it 17 unanswered until Tuskegee got on the scoreboard with a safety. Hunter Hanson drilled his second field goal of the half just before the break to give Alabama State a 20-2 halftime lead.
Hornets sting in the second half
Tuskegee made things quasi interesting with a third quarter touchdown, cutting the deficit down to 20-9. The Golden Tigers scored the longest touchdown play of the game when Latrevien O’Neal caught a 43 yard pass from Bryson Williams. There were ten minutes left in the third quarter after that score and Tuskegee didn’t threaten again.
Alabama State totally dominated the fourth quarter with 23 points to win its third straight over the Golden Tigers.
Robert McMinn returned a punt 37-yards early in the fourth quarter for a touchdown. Following another Hunter Hanson field goal Merritt and Dontrel Manley both rushed for touchdowns. Manley had the run of the day for Alabama State, going 40 yards putting ASU up 43-9.
Joe Owens Jr. got his second win of the year in as many starts for Alabama State. Owens was 20-27 passing for 209 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Manley finished with 97 yards rushing for ASU.
Williams was 5-19 passing for Tuskegee with 110 yards and a touchdown.