HAMPTON, Va. – A late touchdown run from Yahkee Johnson prevented Savannah State from picking up its first-ever win over the Hampton University football program on Saturday, as the Pirates won 28-24 at Armstrong Stadium. The Pirates (5-4, 5-2 MEAC) are 7-0 all-time against the Tigers.
Savannah State led 24-21 early in the fourth quarter after Marcus Lee Jr. recovered a fumble in the endzone following a sack. But the Pirates answered on the ensuing drive, going 79 yards in eight plays before Johnson went 35 yards for his fourth touchdown of the season. Savannah State (3-5, 3-3 MEAC) went just eight yards total in its last three drives.
Johnson, with 112 yards on the ground, racked up his third 100-yard rushing game of the season. Quarterback Jaylian Williamson threw a touchdown pass, going 19-for-28 through the air for 149 yards. The Pirates had 254 yards of total offense, while holding the Tigers to 229 total yards. Hampton kicked off the scoring late in the first quarter, when Eric Carter Jr. found the endzone from two yards out, giving the Pirates a 7-0 lead at the 3:45 mark. That came from a short field after Brendan Cole recovered a fumble after a Hampton punt.
The Pirates then took advantage of good field position in the early stages of the second quarter, going 47 yards in six plays to take a 14-0 lead after Williamson connected with Twarn Mixson on a 24-yard touchdown pass. The Tigers got on the board with 4:38 left in the half following a John Barron 28-yard field goal.
But Chase Powell took the ensuing kickoff 95 yards to give the Pirates a 21-3 lead. It was Hampton's first kickoff return for a touchdown since Jorrian Washington against Tennessee Tech in 2012. Savannah State found the endzone in the final minute of the half, capping off a 7-play, 63-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run from T.J. Bell. Hampton went into the half with a 21-10 lead.
A 1-yard touchdown run from Nicholas Bently with 9:09 left in the third quarter helped Savannah State cut Hampton's lead to 21-17. The Tigers scored on the opening possession of the quarter, taking 5:51 to go 65 yards on 12 plays. Both teams had trouble scoring after that, until the fumble recovery that gave the Tigers their only lead. Devan Johnson led the Pirates defense with 13 total tackles – including nine solo efforts. He had a team-high 5.5 tackles for loss (totaling 34 yards) and two sacks (for 24 yards), three quarterback hurries, and a forced fumble.