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Tuskegee chows down on Hornets in Turkey Day Classic
Malcolm Crutchfield held Tuskegee’s defensive log aloft, proud of what the Golden Tigers had just accomplished and eager for the next inscription that will be made on the wood.
One side reads “Dirty D” and another has “we lay that wood,” but the third side is where Tuskegee has made regular marks.
It’s where the names of the teams the Tigers have beaten goes.
“We started it two years ago and it’s something we hope Tuskegee keeps doing,” said Crutchfield, a defensive lineman. “Every year, we’re going to keep this legacy up.”
Tuskegee may need extra room to sear Alabama State’s name into the lumber after a record-setting 21-0 victory over the Hornets on Thursday at Cramton Bowl.
The Tigers, inspired by the controversial ending to last season’s Turkey Day Classic, set a school record for rushing defense by holding ASU to minus-57 yards rushing.
Where Tuskegee saved pictures of a disputed last-minute play in last year’s 17-13 loss, the Tigers will simply swing their stick and gloat in how they dominated Thursday.
“How about a goose egg?” defensive end Darian Barnes said. “We don’t make any excuses about last year, the bad call and the controversy. It was just motivation for us to come out and do what we did today.
“If you play like that, you don’t have to worry about it coming down to one play.”
Tuskegee (9-2) had nine sacks, including three by Barnes, and held ASU (4-7) to 51 yards total offense. The Hornets (4-7) never crossed the Tuskegee 35-yard line.
“Our offense sputtered all day,” ASU coach Reggie Barlow said. “They beat us to the punch the entire game. We left the defense on the field all day because we did absolutely nothing offensively.”
Tony Forney scored on a 14-yard run late in the first quarter and Tuskegee added two touchdowns in less than a minute in the second quarter.
After Nykeem Barton’s 3-yard run made it 14-0 with 11/2 minutes left in the first half, Alabama State’s Craig Freeman fumbled on the kickoff return. Cedric Ivory recovered to give Tuskegee the ball at the ASU 17.
On second down, Joshua Harris threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to D’Mario Franklin,
pushing it to 21-0 with 1:08 left in the half. At that point, ASU had 10 yards of offense.
“This is my last game against Alabama State and we had to go out with a bang,” said Forney, who finished with 103 yards rushing. “We can win every game and lose to Alabama State, and it’s a losing season.
“We had to go out with a bang for our seniors, our school, our community and everyone associated with Tuskegee.”
They may all want to hold Tuskegee’s log at some point. In a few days, senior punter Christopher Khan will be called on to pull out his soldering iron and apply the final touches of Thursday’s victory.
Khan will need to leave enough room for Tuskegee’s opponent in next weekend’s Pioneer Bowl, but the words “Alabama State” will receive prominent display.
“Last year, we had our hearts broken,” offensive lineman Robert Dorsey said. “This year, we wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again.”
By By A. Stacy Long, Montgomery Advertiser