Slip, sliding away...Albany State’s defense kept the Golden Tigers out of the end zone all evening. The Tigers attempted only a couple of passes in the soggy conditions and the Dirty Blue defense kept them in check.

The Albany State Golden Rams won the Mud Bowl 7-2 Saturday evening, beating Benedict and legendary ASU Coach Mike White who left Albany State to take over the program at Benedict. The game was originally planned for 2 p.m. but moved to 5 p.m. because of weather from Tropical Storm Nestor. The game didn’t actually begin until almost 6 p.m. because of lightning delay. Once it did, getting traction and holding onto the ball was a real challenge for each team. It’s Albany State’s fifth straight win.

White was ASU’s head coach for 15 years, winning six SIAC championships and advancing to the NCAA Division II playoffs seven times. His record at ASU was 112-51, a 68.7 winning percentage.

The Albany State “Dirty Blue” defense stopped Benedict all night long but the game was not secured until late in the fourth quarter when former Lee County star Derek Davis got into the backfield during a fourth down play for Benedict and hit the running back as the quarterback handed it to him. The ball flew out and Davis landed on the ball to give the Rams possession with less than two minutes left to play.

The Golden Rams’ only touchdown of the game came early in the first quarter. Senior running back Mckinley Habersham broke loose for an 80-yard run through the mud and scored to give the Rams a 6-0 lead. The PAT kick by Gabe Ballanis put the score at 7-0. Habersham rushed for 150 yards on the day for Albany State.

The Rams had gotten the ball at the 20 after the Golden Tigers of Benedict missed a field goal attempt. It was one of the few opportunities Benedict had the entire game and it came because the Rams fumbled a punt when the rain was coming down pretty good during the first quarter.

Early on the in the game Benedict had good field position and kept the Rams deep in their own territory because neither team could get consistent drives going because of the rain and the mud. The Golden Tigers got their points in the first quarter as well on a safety after pinning the Rams deep on a punt.

The Rams did not field any more punts after the first one was dropped.

The win over Benedict and Coach White is the second in a row after White and the Tigers beat Albany State two years ago here in Albany. That is the only time Benedict has beaten the Golden Rams in eight meetings.

The win is Albany State’s fifth in a row and improves their record to 5-2 on the year and 3-0 in the SIAC. They will travel to Savannah to play Savannah State (4-3) next Saturday in a game that feature two SIAC East teams that are unbeaten. The Tigers of Savannah State beat Clark Atlanta in overtime Saturday 22-15 with a rushing game that piled up 325 yards on the ground. They have also beaten SIAC foes Benedict (21-14) and Morehouse (17-10). Their losses were not SIAC opponents.

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