INDIANAPOLIS — The Kentucky State University football team rattled off 33 unanswered points and held off a late charge to post a 33-25 victory over Jackson State in the 33rd Annual Circle City Classic held at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday.
It marks the first time in school history that Division II Kentucky State has recorded multiple Division I wins in a single season.
With Jackson State scoring on two straight possessions to pull to within eight points with a tad over a minute remaining, an illegal formation wiped out an onside kick recovery by JSU. On the re-kick, KSU senior Jonathan Powell (Greenville, Alabama) recovered the wayward kick to secure the victory.
As the fourth quarter started it didn't appear as if the "hands team" would be needed as Kentucky State held a 23-point lead thanks to a dominating ground performance.
The Thorobreds racked up 353 yards rushing on 48 attempts for a robust 7.4 yards per carry. Redshirt sophomore Jaylen Myers (Maryville, Tennessee) led the team with 92 yards on 13 attempts and one touchdown. He added a 31-yard touchdown pass.
Jackson State took the early lead with a touchdown on its first drive, and then a fumble on KSU's first offensive play set up the Tigers for a 21-yard field goal.
Kentucky State answered on the drive as Myers connected with Powell on a touchdown pass — the lone KSU completion of the game. While the offense seemingly started to find its footing, the defense took over. The Thorobreds forced back-to-back three-and-outs, and the offense scored on three straight possessions to open up a 20-10 lead.
Redshirt junior Brett Sylve (Hammond, Louisiana) capped a six-play, 63-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the third quarter. He gained 81 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown. Sylve added 76 yards on two kickoff returns. Sophomore Isaac Fields (Wildwood, Florida) added 53 yards on five rushes.
Junior Jacob Abrams (Westfield, Indiana) provided KSU with its first defensive score of the season as he stripped a JSU receiver and took the fumble back 32 yards for the score. He finished with two tackles, including one for loss.
Freshman Brandon Wade (Elko, Georgia) had a career-high nine tackles and a pass breakup to lead the Thorobreds, while sophomore Andrew Perkins (Detroit) finished with eight tackles and two pass breakups.
Kentucky State (2-1 overall, 0-1 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) travels to Morehouse (1-3 overall, 0-1 SIAC) at 2 p.m. Saturday for its first SIAC road game of the season.