FVSU Wildcats beat Central State at home

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Macon native and Southwestern High School graduate Zaquan Baldwin makes a tackle during Fort Valley State University’s 35-14 win over Central State.

Photo provided

It was a happy day in the valley.

After fans got their first live view of the Wildcat Stadium renovations, Fort Valley State scored four touchdowns in the first half before taking on Central State, 35-14, in football action from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Saturday.

Emmanuel Wilson rushed for the opening score from nine yards midway through the first quarter of his afternoon best 164 yards. Tyrell Jackson threw kills to Erron Price (56 yards) and a pair to Tajee Steele from six and 65 yards in the final 19:45 of the first half and a 28-0 halftime lead of the Wildcats (4-2, 2-0 SIAC East) appreciated.

Central State (1-5, 0-2 SIAC West) cut the margin in half, 28-14, with two scores and second to go with 5:28 left in the game. FVSU, however, didn’t blink and ran a 5:04 drive culminating in a point flurry from four-yard Marlon Fleming to cap off the winning day in the first game played on the new grass surface.

The Wildcats offensive unit presented a balanced offense with 455 total offensive yards with 277 through the air and 178 on the ground. Wilson accounted for 164 yards of that rushing total on 27 bins and the nine-yard touchdown. Jackson completed 13 of 22 passes for 277 yards and three scores.

For the second week in a row, Steele topped the 100-yard mark with even 100 yards on four catches and both touchdowns. Price had two passes for 74 yards and the long 56-yard touchdown, while Cordell Pimienta added four catches for 60 yards.

The top-rated defense in the SIAC race showed up on Saturday. FVSU held Central State to just seven net yards on 32 carries with 12 of the rushes resulting in tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The Marauders passed for 354 yards. Solomon Moseley led FVSU with seven tackles and a sack.

Tyler Moore added another highlight play with another blocked punt under his belt to go with six saves, while Deon Andrews added his own tackles and a pass breakup. Antonio Golden had 2.5 tackles for the loss, Zaquan Baldwin and Caleb Thomas each posted 1.5 tackles for the loss. Keon Bogan snatched the lone FVSU interception.

After a three-and-out to start the day, FVSU held the first scoring practice of the day. Of the 82 yards on possession, Wilson tallied 40, including the final 20 and capped it off with a nine-yard flurry into the end zone, the first points scored on the field’s new turf. The big play in practice was a Steele reception catch from 20 yards to bring the ball into Central State territory.

On the third play of FVSU’s next possession, Jackson fired a hard strike to deep middle and Price did the rest from 56 yards for the second touchdown. In the final 3:06 of the second quarter, Steele netted his two scores, first from six yards to complete an 88-yard drive, before grabbing a pass between two Central State defenders and immediately having clear navigation as defenders hit each other. another out of the game on the ground covering 65 yards. FVSU points made 28-0.

The Wildcats’ final points came on the final possession where Wilson went for 40 yards on two carries, including a 12-yard getaway on fourth-and-second, before teammate Fleming covered the final four yards to pay for the dirt.

FVSU travels to Atlanta next Saturday, October 16, for a 2 p.m. game at Morehouse College.

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