Columbia, S.C.- Kentucky State University football fell short on the road to Benedict College, 20-16 at Charlie Johnson Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Thorobreds (3-7, 2-4) still have one game to go to try and match last seasons' win total of four. Benedict College (7-2, 5-1) finished the 2017 season tied for the SIAC East Division title with Fort Valley State University, but lost the tiebreaker due to a loss to FVSU on Sept. 23.
Sophomore running back Michael Nero got the afternoon started off dramatically with a 98-yard kickoff return, his second special teams score of the year to give KSU an early 6-0 lead after a blocked extra point. BC answered later in the first quarter to go up 9-7 with 5:45 left to play in the first frame.
At the start of the second quarter freshman kicker, Mahireyaa Kao connected for a 19-yard field goal, giving KSU the lead at 9-7. Both squads traded positions as neither offense could put points on the board against one another's' stingy defenses heading into the half with the Thorobreds on top.
The Tigers regained the lead for the second time with a one-yard quarterback keeper at 7:50 in the third quarter to go up 14-9.
KSU answered at the start of the fourth stanza with a 15-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Michael Simpson to junior tight end Marquese Livers, capping off an 11-play, 83-yard drive, for the fifth lead change on the day. KSU held the 16-14 lead till the closing minutes.
After a punt by junior Cort Groathouse to put BC inside the 10-yard line, Johnny Willis broke four tackles, scampering away for a 91-yard punt return touchdown, putting BC up for good at 20-16.
Simpson finished with 126 yards off 11-of-31 through the air for one touchdown and one interception in his second career start. Sophomore running back Brett Sylve finished 26 yards short of 1000 rushing yards on the season as he accumulated 65 yards on 14 carries. Junior wide receiver Demetrius Anderson led the Thorobreds in receiving yards with 36 on two catches.
In his first career start, freshman linebacker Kenneth Horn led KSU in tackles with nine, along with a sack. Junior defensive back Jaylon Wesley picked off his second interception in as many weeks. He is currently tied with senior defensive back Ryan Luckett, and sophomore linebacker Chris Goodman for the team lead in interceptions.
KSU will conclude its season on the road at Alabama A&M on Nov. 18, following a bye week. The SIAC will host its SIAC Championship game in Columbus, Georgia between FVSU and Tuskegee University on Saturday, Nov. 11.