Story and photo courtesy of West Virginia State Athletics
The West Virginia State Yellow Jackets scored 21 first quarter points, saw their lead slip away, then rallied for a 34-31 win over visiting Johnson C. Smith in Saturday's season opener.
Ricky Phillips (below) threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns and Aubura Taylor (at left) ran for 99 yards while the defense recorded four sacks to lead WVSU.
The Yellow Jackets got on the board first when LeFoyd Phillips ran for a 7-yard score with 11:35 to play in the first quarter.
After the Golden Bulls tied it up Ricky Phillips connected on with Ervin Kent for a 73-yard pass and run. after the Jackets recovered a fumble at the J.C. Smith 12 a few seconds later Phillips found Deraughn Brown in the endzone to take a 21-7 lead after one period.
The Golden Bulls fought back to tie the game at 21-21 going into halftime.
A WVSU miscue at their own 10-yard line led to a J.C. Smith safety and the Golden Bulls' first and only lead of the day at 23-21.
Taylor put the Yellow Jackets ahead for good at 28-23 with a 9-yard scamper to the left side with 2:31 to play in the third.
The senior added another score from 3-yards out with 8:24 remaining in the game.
The Golden Bulls and Mother Nature provided some late drama before the day ended though.
J.C. Smith drove 43-yards to score and tacked on the two-point conversion to pull within a field goal with 7:09 to play.
The game was then suspended for 41 minutes due to lightning as a steady rain fell and clouds darkened over the crowd of about 500 fans.
The Yellow Jackets were forced to punt but freshman Cory Broughton hit a high 37-yard kick that drove the Golden Bulls back to their own 20-yard line with no timeouts remaining.
A couple fo quick gainers moved the visitors to the WVSU 45 yard line but the Yellow Jacket defense stiffened and a Keahn Wallace pass fell harmlessy to the ground on fourth and 13 giving the ball back to the Jackets who easily ran out the remaining seconds.
Kent finished with 81 yards on three catches and Josh Johnson 98 on six receptions.
Tyler Long paced the defensive effort with 11 tackles followed by Dominique Matthews with 10.