The South Carolina State defense made the most of ever y opportunity limiting Benedict's offense to just 57 yards rushing, in a 59-6 victory Saturday in the Palmetto Capital City Classic at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The Bulldogs improve to 2-2 on the season, while the Tigers suffer their first loss of the season falling to 2-1. Benedict's quarterback Marcus Graham finished with a game-high 17-of-33 passing for 182 yards and three interceptions on the day.
SC State jumped out to a quick score off a 7-yard toss from red-shirt senior quarterback Richard Cue to wide receiver Caleb Davis at the 9:48 mark in the first quarter. The Bulldogs scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter off a 4-yard scamper by red-shirt sophomore Justin Taylor. Freshman defensive back Shaquan Brock sparked a furious roar on a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown with 5:12 remaining in the first-half to give the Bulldogs a 21-0 lead.
Cue's 1-yard punch closed out the half with the Bulldogs taking an commanding 28-0 lead into the locker room. Taylor scored his second touchdown of the game, this time from three yards, to complete a short scoring drive from the Tiger's 39 yard line.
The Florence connection and former high school teammates Richard Cue and Caleb Davis connected once again on a 37-yard pass play with 3:41 remaining in the third quarter. Junior linebacker Justin Hughes came up big, sacking Graham in the end zone for a safety to give SC State a commanding 44-0 lead moving into the final quarter of the evening.
Senior kicker Nick Belcher chipped in a 20-yarder to open the fourth, while sophomore Dondre Lewis-Freemanscored his first career touchdown for the Bulldogs on a 9-yard run with 11:36 left in regulation.
SC State's shutout bid for the second straight week nearly ended on the PAT. Belcher's kick was blocked and fielded for a potential return for two points. With the Bulldogs inserting defensive reserves and the game out reach, the Tigers took full advantage putting together a 15-play, 91-yard scoring drive on a 3-yard run by Tavion's Wright.
That scoring drive ended the Bulldog's 7 straight quarters without a score allowed by the defense and bid for back-to-back shutouts. Red-shirt freshman quarterback Adrian Kollock put the icing on the cake throwing a 43-yard strike to junior wide receiver Dennis Rowe giving the Bulldogs a thriving 59-6 lead over the Tigers.
The 46-point margin is currently the second largest in the history of the Palmetto Capital City Classic. Junior defensive end Andrew Carter played an outstanding game finishing with 7 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 TFL earning him PCCC MVP honors from South Carolina State, while Kenneth Hurley, Jr. earned MVP accolades for the Tigers.
Red-shirt freshman Dondre Brown led the rushing attack with 15 carries for 72-yards, while Taylor carried the ball 16 times for 62-yards and two scores. The receiving corps was led by Davis with four catches for 76 yards, while teammate and trend setter Tyler McDonald dazzled the crowd with his amazing coaches with two catches for 95-yards. The defense was led by senior linebacker Joe Thomas 10 tackles and 1 TFL.
Benedicts quarterback was bothered throughout the course of the day throwing three interceptions to defensive back's Darrius Drummond (1-35), Mason Harris (1-0) and Steven Murphy (1-55), while being sacked five times .
South Carolina will return to action on Saturday (Sept. 28) when they open up league play against the visiting Pirates of Hampton University in a 2 p.m. showdown.