Saturday, November 25, 2017

Texas Southern falls to Prairie View A&M in postponed Labor Day Classic

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (November 25, 2017) The Texas Southern Tigers drew blood first, with a field goal, but it was not enough to stop Prairie View A&M, as they dropped a 30-16 decision to the Panthers on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Tigers finish the season with a 2-9 record, while the Panthers head back to Prairie View posting a 6-5 record for 2017. The game, originally scheduled for Labor Day Weekend, was postponed due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey.

Prairie View A&M jumped out to a 14-3 lead at halftime, due to two late second quarter scores. Texas Southern got on the scoreboard at the 4:14 mark of the first quarter when kicker Aaron Cuevas (North Shore HS, Houston, Texas) booted a 34-yard field goal to give the Tigers the early lead. The Panthers came right back and scored twice in the final 2:21 of the game. They scored their first touchdown of the game when senior wide receiver Joshua Simmons (Jack Yates HS, Houston, Texas) caught a 36-yard pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Neiko Hollins  (Hightower HS, Fresno, Texas); to cap a four-play, 54-yard drive. With no time remaining in the half, Hollins connected with redshirt sophomore Ronald Collins (Lamar HS, Houston, Texas)  on a one-yard pass. The drive lasted 1:03, and covered 83 yards in seven plays. Freshman kicker Zach Elder (Johnson HS, San Antonio, Texas) split the upright on both extra points to close out the scoring in the first half.

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
After some spirited play in the third quarter, the Texas Southern defense got the Tigers back in the game when a Hollins pass was picked off by senior free safety Archie Rice (Agua Fria HS, Avondale, AZ) and returned 39 yards for the score. Cuevas' extra point was blocked, with TSU cutting Panthers' lead to five (14-9) with 5:52 left in the third quarter.

Prairie View came roaring back 2:32 into the third quarter when Hollis found junior tight end Zarrian Holcombe (Summer Creek HS, Houston, Texas) open over the middle as he plowed his way to the end zone after catching the 12-yard pass. Elder also has his extra point attempt blocked; giving the Panthers a 20-9 lead with 12:28 left in the game. Elder increased the Panthers' point total by three when he booted a 32-yard field goal with 7:18 remaining in the game. They added an addition touchdown with 2:20 left in the game when redshirt senior running back Sta'Fon McCray (Osceola HS, North Kissimmee, Florida) carried the ball the final yard of a 27-yard drive for the score. The Tigers scored their second TD of the game with 24 seconds remaining in the game when junior running back Brad Woodard (Dickinson HS, Dickinson, Texas) rushed 46 yards for the score.

With the win, the Panthers cut Texas Southern's all-time record to 44-28-1; while wining the last three games; 38-11 (2015) and 29-25 (2016).

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