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Needing a win to stay in the hunt for the SIAC Western Division title, Miles locked down Kentucky State in a 17-0 win on Senior Day at Sloan-Alumni Stadium.
The Golden Bears (7-2, 4-1 SIAC West) held the Thorobreds (5-3, 2-3) to 152 yards of total offense in pitching their first shutout since they beat KSU 35-0 in 2017 (23 games). Jaylun Thomas had 14 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks and Daniel Smith threw for two touchdowns in his final home effort for Miles, which will play at Tuskegee next week for a berth in the SIAC Championship Game.
The vaunted Thorobred triple-option attack, which had produced nearly 260 yards per game on the ground and sparked upsets of Division I school Robert Morris and Jackson State, was summarily shut down by the Golden Bears. KSU finished with just 116 yards rushing and the SIAC's top running back, Brett Sylve, had just 67 yards rushing - almost 50 yards below his season average.
Miles went three-and-out on its first drive but made sure to put some points on the board on its next possession. A big 36-yard reception by Leonard Tyree got the ball deep in KSU territory before Smith found DeionTray Fagin for a 5-yard touchdown pass to give Miles a 7-0 with 6:04 left in the first quarter. A short KSU punt late in the first quarter set the Golden Bears up at the Thorobred 32-yard line and on the second play of the second quarter, Smith connected with Cohen Hudson, who did a tightrope on the Miles sideline and raced for a 26-yard touchdown that pushed the advantage to 14-0 less than a minute into the period.
Kentucky State had several opportunities to get on the scoreboard in the first half, advancing inside the Miles 40 on two occasions but the Thorobreds would net minus-5 yards on the seven plays run and punted twice to keep the shutout intact going into the half.
The defense continued to do its job coming out of the half with Mitchell Smiley (11 tackles, forced fumble) sacking KSU quarterback Jaylen Myers on consecutive plays to force a punt. Miles would convert on the ensuing possession, as senior Brady Hammel drilled a career-long 44-yard field goal to give the Golden Bears a 17-0 lead with nine minutes left in the third quarter.
Down three scores, KSU did what it could to try and get back in the game. After Sylve broke free on a 25-yard run, the Thorobreds had first-and-goal from the Miles 6. But three consecutive runs netted just three yards and on fourth down, Myers threw a wobbler into the end zone that was knocked away by Antonio Evans and ended the Thorobreds best scoring opportunity. KSU had one final chance to score in the fourth quarter but a 44 -yard field goal by Jonathan Jerry missed wide right. Miles would pick up three first downs and ran out the final 3:45 on the clock to wrap up the game in a tidy two hours and four minutes.
Donte Edwards had a game-high 82 yards rushing and Justin Ruz added another 70 for Miles. Defensively, Austin Stephens had nine tackles, Ozzie Williams, Jr. added seven tackles and Deaundre McCurry had three tackles and a sack.