Alabama A&M edges Bethune-Cookman in SWAC opener

Sep 16, 2021, 9:18 AM | Updated: 9:19 pm

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Aqeel Glass threw for 235 yards with two touchdowns, Trenell Troutman intercepted a fourth-down pass with 1:14 remaining — his second pick of the game — and Alabama A&M fended off Southwestern Athletic Conference newcomer Bethune-Cookman 30-27 Thursday night.

The game-saving pick was Troutman’s second in as many games, doing the same with 17 seconds left in Alabama A&M’s season-opening 42-41 defeat of South Carolina State Sept. 4.

Glass, who led AAMU to the SWAC championship in the spring, completed 22 of 35 passes, hooking up with Ibrahim Abdul-Fatai for first-half touchdowns of 7 and 12 yards. The latter gave the Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0) a 27-13 lead in the final seconds of the first half.

Spencer Corey kicked field goals of 26, 22 and 43 yards, his last one extending the Bulldogs lead to 30-21 at the start of the fourth quarter. Gary Quarles rushed for 101 yards and a score.

Bethune-Cookman (0-3, 0-1) did not go away, however. Taking advantage of an Alabama A&M fourth-quarter punt that traveled just 15 yards, Shannon Patrick fired a 42-yard pass on first down to Kemari Averett to bring the Wildcats to a first-and-goal at the 9. The pair hooked up again from the 7 as Bethune-Cookman closed to 30-27 after a two-point conversion pass failed.

The Wildcats forced AAMU into a three-and-out and ground 59 yards in nine plays before Troutman’s second interception sealed the win for the Bulldogs. Patrick was 17-for-31 for 221 yards.

Que’shaun Byrd rushed 21 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns as Bethune-Cookman, averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Darnell Deas returned a kickoff 89 yards to put Bethune-Cookman on the scoreboard with a touchdown and, two possessions later, the Wildcats narrowed the gap to 20-13. Bethune-Cookman turned a fumble recovery into a 52-yard scoring drive, capped by Byrd’s run from the 12.

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