Originally created 11/27/98

Alabama St. tops Tuskegee in Turkey Day Classic



MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Darnell Kennedy passed for 244 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score to lead Alabama State to a 27-7 victory over Tuskegee Thursday afternoon in the 75th annual Turkey Day Classic.

The Division I-AA Hornets (5-6) snapped a two-game losing streak to Division II Tuskegee (9-2), which has already secured the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship.

Kennedy went 18-for-30 with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Damon Hodge in the third quarter and a 7-yard TD run in the second. He directed three scoring drives of 80-plus yards.

Johnny Smith had 14 carries 113 yards, including a 57-yard scoring jaunt which put the Hornets up 14-0 with 12:46 left in the third quarter.

Kennedy then hooked up with Hodge to cap a 12-play, 90-yard drive and give the Hornets a 20-0 lead with 2:22 left in the third.

Hodge, a junior, surpassed Reggie Barlow as Alabama State's all-time leading receiver. He had six catches for 93 yards, giving him 138 for his career. Hodge, who has 83 catches for 1,023 yards this season, came into the day tied with Barlow at 132.

The Golden Tigers never got their passing game untracked, as freshman quarterback Aaron James completed 10-of-24 passes for just 65 yards.

Michael Scott rushed 20 times for 140 yards, but Tuskegee didn't manage to get on the board until the fourth quarter.

The Tigers' only score came on Willie Dale's 2-yard run with 14:12 to play. But the Tuskegee defense still couldn't hold Alabama State.

The Hornets put the game away with Sedrick Easterling's 2-yard scoring run, polishing off an 8-play, 89-yard drive with 4:47 left.

The Tigers will play in the Pioneer Bowl against CIAA champion Livingstone (N.C.) on Dec. 12 in Atlanta. They posted their best regular season mark since going 11-1 in 1974.