COLUMBIA, S.C. — What a difference a year makes for the Kentucky State University football team.
Five different players rushed for a score as the Thorobreds (7-3) tallied a season-high 42 points in concluding the regular season with a 42-14 victory over Benedict Saturday at Charlie Johnson Stadium.
The victory wraps up a turnaround season for the Breds as they posted the best single season improvement in NCAA football, all divisions, improving by seven games over a season ago. With a winning percentage of .700, Kentucky State has the best percentage since the 1978 season. The Thorobreds went unbeaten in non-conference play, including a pair of victories against Division I opponents.
For the first time this season, Kentucky State scored on its first drive of the game.The Thorobreds found paydirt on the first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead, and never trailed. Sophomore Issac Fields (Wildwood, Florida) scored on the first possession from eight yards out, and redshirt junior Brett Sylve (Hammond, Louisiana) punched it in from a yard away on the second possession.
Sylve, on his first carry of the game, eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau for the first time in his career. He finished the season with a SIAC-leading 1,093 yards. The running back finished with a team-high 89 yards on 13 attempts.
Kentucky State's prolific rushing offense continued to give the Tigers problems in the second half as the Thorobreds scored on their first four drives to take the 42-7 lead. The only possession that didn't result in a score came after the reserves entered the game, and the possession ended in a fumble on the first play. The turnover led to Benedict's final score.
The Thorobreds finished with 386 yards on 46 attempts and six rushing scores. Junior Brendan Lawler (Clarksville, Indiana) added 69 yards on five carries, while redshirt sophomore Jaylen Myers (Maryville, Tennessee) added 60 yards on 12 attempts and a pair of touchdowns. Freshmen Isaiah Jackson (Brunswick, Ga.) and Christopher Coneway (Stockbridge, Georgia) also found the end zone.
Myers was also 2-of-7 passing for 72 yards with both completions going to senior Jonathan Powell (Greenville, Alabama).
Sophomore Artest Banks (Thomson, Georgia) finished with a career-high 12 tackles, including one for loss, whole sophomore Andrew Perkins (Detroit, Michigan) added a career-high 11 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Sophomore Jimmy Edmonds (Louisville) had a forced fumble and the Thorobreds, as a team, finished with two sacks and seven tackles for loss.