NORMAL (aamusports.com) – The Alabama A&M offense took a while to get warmed up Saturday, but when it did, it produced – to the detriment of visiting Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The Bulldogs (1-2 overall, 1-1 SWAC) trailed 9-7 at intermission but erupted for three third-quarter touchdowns in a 28-9 Homecoming win over UAPB. The win was the first at home for second-year Head Coach James Spady and it ended a two-game losing streak to the Golden Lions.
"I'm proud of the second-half adjustments our coaches made," Spady said. "Our team really gave great effort and executed well in the second half.
"They pressed and won the game."
Saturday's win also made the Homecoming festivities much more enjoyable for the Bulldogs fans.
"It's a happy Homecoming for the Bulldog faithful," Spady said.
The offense chewed up 206 yards on the ground on the strength of Harvey Harris' 131 yards rushing on 14 carries. For Harris, a sophomore, it was the third 100-yard game of his career.
For UAPB, Marcus Terrell was 15 of 25 for 279 yards, one interception and one touchdown – that to Brian Handley to give the Golden Lions a 6-0 lead in the first quarter.
The Golden Lions, leading 6-0, ran the score to 9-0 just 13 seconds into the second quarter on Jamie Gillan's 23-yard field goal.
After that it was all A&M.
McKenzie scored on a 29-yard run in Spady's pistol offense and Cesar Ramon-Diaz's point after made it 9-7 with 5:56 left in the half. The Bulldogs had a last-second chance to take the lead at the half, but Ramon-Diaz's 23-yard field was blocked.
But the Bulldogs wasted little time in the second half, taking the kickoff and marching 78 yards in 7 plays, capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass from Ballard to McKenzie to take a 14-9 lead.
A&M ran the score to 21-9 on a Ballard-to-McKenzie 34-yard touchdown pass. The two-play, 87-yard drive was highlighted by a 53-yard over-the-shoulder catch from Ballard to Devon Johnson.
The Bulldogs later capitalized on a turnover on UAPB's next possession when Ballard found O'Darious Williams for a 9-yard touchdown pass and a 28-9 lead with 5:19 left in the third quarter.
A&M is on the road next Saturday at Coastal Carolina.