Playing a seven o’clock start time, it was a lights and cannon spectacle in Luther Nick Jerald Stadium as Fayetteville State football started its season on a positive note with a 35-21 victory over Benedict College.

The Broncos jumped out to a 26-0 halftime lead and the Fayetteville State defense held the Tigers to 74 total offensive yards on 64 plays in the game. FSU recorded five sacks and 14 tackles for losses, while Benedict committed five turnovers (three lost fumbles [six total] and two interceptions) and two safeties. On offense, FSU QB Collyn Anderson went an efficient 16-of-28 for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

It was the Broncos’ defense that provided the key

moments early in the game for Fayetteville State with the defense executing a goal line stand after a blocked Broncos’ punt on their first drive. Following the goal line stand and Shawn Andrews converting a 34-yard field goal for FSU with 3:27 left in the first, the Broncos’ defense scored the first two touchdowns of the season late in the first quarter with Chrishon Springs recovering a fumble and returning it 20 yards and Brandon Smith returning a bad snap on a punt six yards for the second touchdown.

Trailing 17-0 with 9:30 on the clock in the second quarter, the Tigers missed a 36-yard field goal. Anderson made Benedict pay on the very next drive by connecting with Jayden Maynor for 68 yards to extend the lead with 24-0.

Benedict was plagued by special teams’ issues and bad snaps all game. In addition to the bad snap that resulted in a touchdown, two more bad snaps on punts resulted in two safeties and four points for the Broncos. The Tigers’ punter fumbled on another punt and Brandon Smith was able to recover the ball at Benedict’s eight-yard line. Three plays later, Anderson connected with Tyeous Sharpe for an eight-yard touchdown to give the Broncos a 33-0 lead early in the third quarter. Another potential Tigers’ special teams blunder was nullified when Johnnie Glaspie‘s kick return touchdown was called back due to a penalty.

Benedict finally got on the board early in the third quarter, with a 11-yard touchdown pass, buoyed by a 76 yard kick return from Myquerris McGrier—it was not all bad for the Tigers’ special teams as Benedict also recovered a bad snap on a Broncos’ punt in the endzone. Plus, Benedict scored a defensive touchdown of their own with a strip-sack and a 45-yard fumble return.

Stevie Green led the Broncos rushing with 70 yards on 19 carries and Nigel Peeleled the defense with 11 tackles, including two tackles for a loss. Joshua Williams added three tackles for a loss and Markus Crutchfield had a team-high 2.5 sacks.

Fayetteville State is home again in Luther Nick Jeralds Stadium next Saturday for a 7 p.m. kickoff against Wingate University.