The Wait Is Over For Panthers, Fans

By Ivan McDowell, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: December 13, 2009

BIRMINGHAM — A blustery, cold, rainy day was the backdrop for the 2009 Farmer’s Insurance SWAC Football Championship between the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M University and the Panthers of Prairie View A&M University.

The Panthers, winners of the Western Division, entered the contest with an 8-1 record and were undefeated (7-0) in conference play. The Bulldogs finished the season at 7-4 and 4-3 in league play.

The Panthers took the opening kick off and marched 28 yards; culminating in a 39-yard Brady Faggard field goal at the 10:29 mark, and just like that it was 3-0 Prairie View.

Not to be deterred, Alabama A&M moved down the field with ease behind the legs of quarterback Deauntae Mason and tailback Ulysses Banks. Banks (20 rushes, 109 yards, TD) jaunted into the end zone from two yards out, as the Bulldogs retaliated with a score of their own to lead 7-3, midway through the first quarter.

After some bad blood spilled over on the field; Bulldogs defensive tackle Frank Kearse was chop-blocked by Panther right tackle Jermaine Bluford, and a stalled PVU drive, A&M drove right back down the field.

A Mason-to-Johnson touchdown pass was nullified by a Bulldog holding call and A&M had to punt.

The teams traded touchdowns in the second quarter and the Bulldogs led 14-10 at halftime.

A&M took the kickoff of the second half and marched to the Prairie View 23-yard line, but All-SWAC kicker Jeremy Licea missed a 41-yarder and the Bulldogs missed a golden opportunity to add points to the scoreboard.

The Panthers capitalized immediately and drove the ball 75 yards on nine plays for a Donald Babers one-yard plunge. The Panthers now led 17-10, but were helped immensely by two pass interference penalties on the drive.

Not to be outdone, Mason (18 rushes, 110 yards, TD) responded with an impressive charge of his own. He orchestrated a 13-play, 57 yard epic drive to put the Bulldogs back in front, 21-17.

Mason just got the ball over the plain of the goal line and after an official review.

Two Prairie View scores seemingly gave the Panthers command, but this one was far from over. The Panthers had the extra point blocked after Black’s 23-yard touchdown pass. They led 23-21, but this one was far from over.

Black (18-of-28, 258 yards, 3 TD) was back at it on the next possession when he found Anthony Weeden for another quick strike. Once Weeden juked his defender to clear a path to the end zone, the Panthers lead ballooned to 30-21.

This one quickly became a classic in the Magic City.

A Jeremy Licea 32-yard field closed the gap to six, 30-24, but the Bulldogs, without timeouts, ran out of time. A Hail Mary pass at the end was knocked down and Prairie View is your 2009 SWAC Champs!

The Panthers finish the season at 9-1, while the Bulldogs end the season at 7-5. Quarterback Black was named the game’s MVP.