SAVANNAH, GA - The South Carolina State Bulldogs closed out the 2017 campaign with a heartbreaking, 34-10, defeat to Savannah State Saturday (Nov. 18th) at Theodore Wright Stadium.
This was the first victory over the Bulldogs since 2001 under then head coach Bill Davis. Savannah State defeated SC State 14-9 in Orangeburg.
"The penalties and turnovers hurt us early on in the game," said head coach Buddy Pough. "Every time we made a mistake they (SSU) took full advantage of it and was able to come away with the win."
The Tigers jumped on to a 14-0 lead off a 6-yard punch by Jaylen McCloud at the 10:21 mark in the first quarter. Freshman quarterback D'Vonn Gibbons made a dazzling play throwing a 40-yard toss to Paris Baker to who then scampered for 50-yards to push SSU to a two score lead.
South Carolina State responded on a 24-yard toss from redshirt sophomore quarterback Dewann Ford, Jr. to Jermaine Baxley with 1:25 remaining in the quarter. Sophomore kicker Giovanni Lugo provided the only score in the second quarter with a 28-yard field goal to close out the first-half.
Savannah State led 17-7 going into intermission.
Penalties and turnovers throughout the game put host Savannah State in scoring position once again with 4:28 remaining in the quarter. Lugo kicked his second field goal on the day nailing a 22-yard field goal to extend SSU's lead to 20-10.
SSU kept its momentum going taking full advantage of a fumble on the 8-yard line by special teams. Gibbons found the end zone once again on a 5-yard toss to Tino Smith at the 14:55 mark in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore defensive back sealed the deal for the Tigers on a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown with 5:15 remaining in the game. Gibbons finished throwing 13-of-23 for 267-yards and two touchdowns, while Cameron White had three catches for 90 yards and Paris Baker two for 93-yards.
Labron Morris led the rushing attack with 13 carries for 75-yards, while All-American redshirt senior Darius Leonard closed out his collegiate career with 10 tackles and 2.5 sacks in the loss.