TU vs Virginia St. Univ.
1. Finally: Looking to make the NCAA Division II playoffs for a fourth straight year, Tuskegee found its 10th game to qualify for postseason play in Virginia State. Albany State backed out of its agreement to play the Golden Tigers if it lost to Fort Valley State. The NCAA denied Tuskegee’s requested waiver to qualify for the playoffs with just nine games. Tuskegee appealed the waiver, but Virginia State accepted the game. Tuskegee is sixth in Super Region 2. Seven teams from each of the four regions make the playoffs.
2. Familiar foe: While this will be Tuskegee’s first game against Virginia State, Willie Slater knows Reggie Barlow well. Slater coached against Barlow in the Turkey Day Classic when Barlow, a Montgomery native, was a head coach at Alabama State. Slater is 4-2 versus Barlow, winning three of those last four games that includes the last time they faced each other, 27-25, in 2012 in the first game at ASU Stadium.
3. Slim hopes: Virginia State isn’t in the top 10 of Super Region 1, but beating Tuskegee would certainly help its playoff chances. The Trojans have won three in a row and five of their last six games with the loss coming at Bowie State, 38-37. Ninth in Super Region 1, Bowie State plays Winston-Salem State, which is 10th in the region, Saturday in the CIAA title game. Virginia State also lost to Winston-Salem State, 35-14.
4. Last week: Tuskegee edged rival Miles 13-10 last week at Legion Field in Birmingham before a crowd of 19,386. Branden Williams scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with a minute, 15 seconds left in the game.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LB, Jr., 6-0, 235
Gray, the Union City, Georgia, native made eight solo tackles with one being for a loss last week. On the season, Gray is third on team in tackles with 45 total stops.
BY THE NUMBERS
2: Number of 1,000-yard rushers for Virginia State this season. Trenton Canton has 1,115 yards and 16 touchdowns while Kavon Bellamy has 1,003 yards and 13 touchdowns.
6: Number of punts for Tuskegee freshman John Pecaro as he earned SIAC special teams player of the week honors. He averaged 38.3 yards per punt with his long covering 46 yards.
97: Numbers of total stops by Tuskegee leading tackler Osband Thompson.
Tuskegee falls in heartbreak fashion. Virginia State 20, Tuskegee 16.
When: Noon Saturday
Where: Cleve L. Abbott Memorial Alumni Stadium
Records: No. 14 Tuskegee (8-1), Virginia State (8-2)
On the Air: TV – None. Radio – www.goldentigerssports.com
Twitter: @MGMsports @SKegeeGT
Hashtag: #Skegee, #AllTUDoIsWin, #TUPride