Prairie View A&M Nips Southern 24-23

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: October 29, 2008

HOUSTON — Senior quarterback Mark Spivey scored on a 7-yard touchdown run with 5:02 left in the game and Pedro Ventura kicked the PAT to give the Prairie View Panthers a 24-23 victory over the Southern Jaguars in front of a crowd of 19,514 at Reliant Stadium.

Ranked No. 4 in the latest HBCU Top 10 Football Poll, the Panthers improved to 7-1, their best start since 1964, and they improved to 4-1 in the SWAC keeping alive their hopes of winning the West Division Title and advancing on to the conference’s championship game.

“We just beat Southern, that says it all right there,” Prairie View head coach Henry Frazier said. “I’m so proud of our guys. They kept fighting back when we were down.”

“This just goes to show you what type of character and determination that we have on this team.”

Last season, Southern beat Prairie View 12-2 in Baton Rouge. Southern quarterback Bryant Lee passed for 144 yards and a touchdown, to help the Jaguars remain undefeated.

Lee continued his record pace against the Panthers completing 27 of 48 passes for 338 yards, and one interception; however, it wasn’t enough to contain Prairie View.

Junior running back Donald Babers, who had several huge punt returns in the first half, answered the call by Coach Frazier to carry the load for the Panthers in the second half.

Despite trailing 17-3 at halftime, Babers rushed for 102 of his game-high 116 yards in the second half, while Spivey threw for 203 yards and a touchdown. Linebacker Zach East returned an interception for a score to help the Panthers turn a 14-point deficit into a one-point win.

East’s interception of Southern quarterback Bryant Lee came with 9:51 left in the third quarter. East returned the interception for a 20-yard touchdown reducing the Jaguars lead to 17-10.

The Jaguars responded with a 22-yard touchdown run from Silas Giggs, but they misssed the extra point attempt, leaving them with a 23-10 lead.

Spivey later hit Gabe Ediae for a 21-yard touchdown that pulled the Panthers within 23-17 entering the final quarter. Spivey then orchestrated a 15-play, 88-yard drive that lasted 5:56, capping it with his pivotal touchdown run.


Babers is the leading rusher in the SWAC averaging 4.8 yards per carry He’s also the leading rusher and scorer for the Panthers.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound back from Westbury High School, is a versatile athlete who poses a threat on either side of the ball. He led the Panthers in rushing in 2007. He was rated a two-star recruit by after rushed for nearly 1000 yards at Westbury.

Babers carried the Panthers in the second half of the game, rushing for 102 yards after being held to 14 yards in the first half.

Despite throwing three interceptions in the game, Spivey held his composure and kept fighting and led the Panthers on a 15-play, 88 yard drive , and scored the winning touchdown.

Spivey has now passed for 1,381 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season, going into their bye week.

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound. graduate student from Westfield High School, has already surpassed his mark of 1,206 yards passing from last season.

Because of his efforts Prairie View is ranked #2 in Scoring Offense, #2 in Total Offense, 1st in Rushing Offense, 2nd in Pass Efficiency, and 1st in third and fourth down conversions in the SWAC.


Senior linebacker Zach East, the reigning SWAC Defensive Player of the Year and the 2008 winner of the Preseason Award, intercepted Southern quarterback Bryant Lee and returned it for a 20-yard touchdown.

East anchors a unit that leads the nation in scoring defense (13.1 points per game), total defense (192.1 yards per game) and is fourth in both passing defense (137.1 yards), and pass effiency defense (95.42 rating).

The former Yates Lions star has helped the Panthers defensive core tremendously. The Panthers have allowed just six touchdown passes this season while picking off 12.

East, who transferred from Hampton University was PVAMU’s leading tackler the past two seasons. He was a three-time SWAC Defensive Player of the Week, Named College Sports Report National Performer of the Year(FCS), recognized on six different All-American teams including College Sporting News, Black Sports Page, BASN, American Football Coaches Association, and Sheridan Broadcast Network.