August 25, 2007
Albany -- Senior Derrick Ray batted away a pass in the endzone on the final play of the game, and the Albany State football team hangs on to win it's season opener 16-10 against North Carolina Central.
The Rams put the games first points on the board late in the first half, as Kisan Flakes hit Nick Klyes for a touchdown with 41 seconds left.
The teams traded field goals in the second half, and it was 10-3 ASU late in the fourth quarter.
After an Eagles punt, Albany State would fumble the ball away, setting up North Carolina Central in great field position.
NCC tries a flea flicker on their first play, and it's picked off by the Rams Brian Richardson, and the defensive back returns the ball to the 40 yard line.
Brian Porter will appear to put the nail in the coffin on the very next play, as he rushes 60 yards down the sideline for the touchdown and the 16-3 lead, but North Carolina will not go quietly.
Stradford Brown hits Wayne Blackwell for a 26-yard score with two minutes left, to close it to 16-10.
The Eagles defense then gets a stop, and has the ball with 40 seconds to go. Brown will drive NCC down to the ASU 20, but his heave on the last play of the game is batted away by Ray to preserve the win.
The ASU offense moved well on the ground, racking up 240 yards rushing, with Porter leading the way with 120.
Mistakes killed many drives for the Rams, as they commited ninepenalties for 89 yards in the game, and also lost two fumbles.
While there will be some areas to improve, head coach Mike White says this type of win can set his team up for a great season.
"We needed it," said White. "We really did. We worked hard in camp. We had a lot of problems in camp, but the guys hung in there. What a hard fought victory."
Flakes adds, "We had a lot of drives that were positive, we just had a lot of penalties messing us up. I told the team 'Can't nobody in this nation beat us, I don't think. The only team that can beat us is ourselves.' We can't have any mental errors, and just take care of business."
Albany State is on the road next week as they take on Valdosta State at seven o'clock.