|Updated: 12/09/2012 11:17 am
||Published: 12/09/2012 11:13 am
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Arkansas-Pine Bluff claimed a piece of history for its football program this weekend, with a 24-21 overtime win over Jackson State. The Golden Lions came back in the fourth quarter to tie the game, sending it into overtime. UAPB clinched a school-record 10th win and their first Southwestern Athletic Conference championship since 1966 with a field goal during overtime in Saturday's title game against Jackson State at Legion Field.
The Golden Lions' only prior SWAC title came as part of a four-way tie for first in 1966. Jackson State had won at least a share of 12 SWAC titles, with the last in 2007. The East Division had not won the championship game since then, starting with the Tigers' 41-9 loss to Grambling State in 2008.
This game featured the SWAC offensive and defensive players of the year. Jackson State wide receiver Rico Richardson won offensive honors after catching 56 passes for 1,081 yards. Golden Lions defensive end Brandon Thurmond led the Football Championship Subdivision with 16.5 sacks and was named the league's top defensive player.
Going into the game Pine Bluff led the SWAC in scoring defense. That scoring defense kept them in the contest when UAPB forced the Jackson State QB to fumble then took the ball 76 yards for the touchdown. The Golden Lions were down 21-14 with two minutes to go in the fourth quarter when Ben Anderson connected with Willy Young for a 95 yeard TD pass that tied the game sending it into overtime.
In overtime, the defense rose again to block a JSU field goal attempt. UAPB was successful when they got a chance for a field goal in overtime. The ball sailed through the uprights giving the Golden Lions a 24-21 victory and the 2012 Championship of the SWAC.