Just as predicted at the Southwestern Athletic Conference Media Day prior to the start of the season, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions (2-9, 1-6) will finish in last place in the SWAC Western division for the fourth straight season.
The Texas Southern University Tigers (2-8, 2-5) waltzed out of a near-empty War Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon with a 24-10 win over the Golden Lions in the season finale.
UAPB redshirt sophomore quarterback Roger Totten II got the start for the Golden Lions, making him the fourth to take on the role this year. Along with three quarterbacks, the Golden Lions were missing a host of former starters, and the most notable of that group is running back KeShawn Williams. Entering the game fourth in the SWAC in total rushing yards, Williams didn't make an appearance at all.
Totten led the Golden Lions down the field on their first possession of the game to draw first blood. Freshman running back Christian Jordan got the start at running back, and he was effective early on. With heavy wind in the air, senior place kicker Jamie Gillan was able to connect on a 30-yard field goal to give UAPB their only lead of the game at 3-0.
Texas Southern sophomore E. Odom started at quarterback for the Tigers, and it was well documented that he's a run-first guy heading in. However, Odom was still able to churn out tough yards on the ground throughout the game to get the Tiger offense out of tough spots. Odom didn't pass it much, but his first pass of the game was a 36 yarder that placed the Tigers on the UAPB three yard line. Junior running back Brad Woodard would do the rest by recording the first touchdown of the game from one yard out.
The Tiger defense would then force the first punt of the game to give their offense possession. Soon after, an off-sides penalty, followed by a face mask penalty committed by the Golden Lions, aided the second drive of the Tigers. Odom took advantage and gashed the UAPB defense for a 12-yard rushing touchdown to make it 14-3 minutes into the second quarter.
For the Golden Lions, freshman running back Trey Cole began to form a nice one-two punch with Jordan. Totten connected with Cole on a swing route out of the backfield to put the Golden Lions in striking distance on the Texas Southern two yard line. Two plays later, UAPB senior running back Dante McDonald punched it in from two yards out to cap off a 14-play drive.
After putting up the touchdown, the Golden Lion defense responded with their first stop of the game to force a Tiger punt with 2:26 left in the first half.
The Texas Southern defense would then come up with the first turnover of the game as Totten was picked off by Texas Southern freshman linebacker Patrick Howell. However, UAPB freshman defensive back Nigel Canada got an interception of his own off of Odom right before halftime.
The Tigers held a slim 14-10 lead at halftime, and the Golden Lions needed to make a few adjustments to stop the rushing attack of Texas Southern.
Junior running back Brad Woodard carried the load on the ground for the most part for the Tigers. Woodard finished with 27 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown.
Texas Southern opened up second half scoring with a 23-yard field goal by Aaron Cuevas.
McDonald coughed up the football at an inopportune time for the Golden Lions just as they were pushing to make a comeback. On the ensuing play, Odom hit his tight end Mario Smalls for a 26-yard touchdown pass, and that would prove to be enough to keep UAPB down.
The Tigers suit their game plan towards running the ball, so with a 14-point lead all they had to do was what they do best. The Tigers milked the clock, and time ran out on the Golden Lions' chances to end the season on a winning note.
UAPB quarterback Totten completed 7/10 passes for 39 yards. Texas Southern quarterback Odom completed 2/3 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown.