WILBERFORCE — Six turnovers proved to be too much to overcome as the Central State Marauders lost, 24-14, to Benedict College in a game played Sept. 29 at Xenia’s Doug Adams Stadium.
CSU began the afternoon on a high note as head coach Cedric Pearl opened the game with receiver Kevin Greenhow under center. Considered by the CSU coaching staff to be one of the most athletic players on the team, Greenhow picked up 22-yards with his legs to get CSU into Benedict territory. With senior Trent Mays coming in to resume his duties at quarterback, Greenhow returned to his receiving position and hauled in a 46-yard touchdown pass to give CSU an early 7-0 lead.
As the offense found early success, the Marauder defense forced the Tigers into three straight three-and-out drives.
CSU crossed into the Tigers end of the field again midway through the first quarter but the drive came to an abrupt end when Darryl Rolle stepped in front and intercepted a Mays pass attempt. Turnovers would continue to plaque the Marauder offense for the rest of the afternoon.
CSU blocked two of three first half field goal attempts to stay ahead 7-3. CSU suffered its own special teams mishap when an Isaiah Smith punt was blocked by BC defensive back James Wilson and recovered at the CSU 19-yard line. Two plays later, Danye Washington hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass to give the Tigers a 10-7 lead with 2:34 remaining in the second quarter.
CSU responded by driving down to the Tigers’ 46-yard line before BC linebacker Justin Brown picked off Mays’ pass. Benedict ran out the remaining time in the quarter to take a three-point halftime lead.
Problems continued for the Marauder offense as their first drive of the second half lasted just two plays as Robert Cummings intercepted a pass and returned it down to CSU’s 18-yard line. Harris found Washington for another score from 15-yards out and Benedict increased their lead to 17-7.
On CSU’s next drive, a pass interference call allowed the Marauders to advance to BC’s 31-yard line. Under pressure, Mays pass attempt to tight end Robert Corbin, Jr. came out of his hands at a low trajectory and was intercepted by Justin Brown.
The Tigers took control in the early stages of the fourth quarter thanks to a 13-play, 65-yard drive that last 6:25. Harris capped off the drive with a two-yard touchdown run to put his team up 24-7 with 8:25 to play.
Playing with urgency, Mays found Greenhow for a 32-yard gain on CSU next offensive possession which set-up a 20-yard touchdown run by Terraris Saffold. With 6:31 left in the game, CSU trailed the Tigers, 24-14.
Mays completed 11 of 25 pass attempts, with one touchdown and five interceptions. A bright spot for CSU’s offense was Greenhow, who finished the game with four receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Kailen Abrams recorded a game-high 21 tackles to lead CSU. Rashaun Searles picked up four tackles, including one sack.
Saturday’s Xenia Community Day game was the first time Central State had played a college football game in Xenia since 1984. Attendance was listed at 5,102. Xenia Mayor Sarah Mays and Superintendent of Xenia Schools Gabriel E. Lofton served as honorary captains during Saturday’s coin toss.
With the loss, the Marauders are now 2-3 overall, 1-2 in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. BC improves to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the SIAC. The Marauders will continue SIAC play at 5 p.m. Eastern next Saturday on the road against Miles College (0-5; 0-1) in Fairfield, Ala.
For more Central University sports information, please visit maraudersports.com.