FORT VALLEY -- The sound of clicking when Fort Valley State takes the field cant come too soon for the Wildcats.
Because theres not a lot of clicking going on right now.
Tuskegee took the lead with a fumble return for a touchdown, and FVSU couldnt answer as the Golden Tigers beat the Wildcats 21-13 on Saturday night at Wildcat Stadium.
Tuskegee improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the SIAC while FVSU fell to 2-3 and 2-1.
FVSU was again plagued by a lack of sharpness on offense, as well as a smothering number of penalties, especially 15-yarders. The Wildcats did nothing to jeopardize their standing as one of the most penalty-prone teams in Division II with yet again another double-digit penalty game.
Malcolm Eady took over at quarterback in the second half and the Wildcats managed a touchdown, but couldnt get going.
The Wildcats again were hurt by a large number of penalties, to the tune of 17 peanlties for 183 yards. The offense had spurts and the defense played well enough, but both sides erased that with penalties galore.
It wasnt a new postgame topic for head coach Donald Pittman, who can only run his team so much.
Keep talking about it. Show them the stats. They are drive killers, he said of the penalties.
Or drive extenders, as was the case throughout the night with assorted 15-yard penalties on the defense, which did give FVSU a final chance with a fourth-quarter stop.
Once again, the defense played well, Pittman said. But we gave up some big plays that hurt us, changed the momentum of the game.
The teams exchanged first-quarter touchdowns and muddled back and forth before the Golden Tigers took the lead in a rather unusual way.
Quarterback Justin Nared was hammered by a pair of Wildcats on a pitchout, which bounced away from Tyree Brooks.
Remarkably, he grabbed the ball and then made his way for officially 36 yards through the Wildcats defense for the touchdown.
It put the Golden Tigers up 14-7 with 9:56 left in the half.
Tuskegee opened the third quarter with a scoring drive that took up nearly five minutes.
Eady took over at quarterback after Eugene Smith suffered a first-half concussion, which meant the Wildcats were going to a ground-first attack. He ran seven straight times on the following possession, which stalled at midfield but put Tuskegee at its 10 after a punt.
Eady started throwing some passes, but a big run by Jonquez Sanders combined with a facemask put the Wildcats at Tuskegees 8, and Sanders took it in on the first play.
But Chris Wards PAT kick was blocked, and the Wildcats trailed 21-13 with 9:36 left in the game.
Tuskegee, aided by the requisite 15-yard penalty, held the ball for nearly six minutes before missing a 40-yard field goal with 3:49 left. That gave the Wildcats possession on their 23.
Eady connected with DeAngelo Smith for 28 yards on first down, and the Wildcats imploded after that.
Eady was sacked for a 2-yard loss, then threw an incompletion. FVSU called timeout, and subsequently lost 10 yards on two straight procedure penalties, leading to the final timeout, with 2:42 remaining.
An incompletion followed on third and 22 at the FVSU 39, as did a fourth-down pass, but the Golden Tigers were flagged for roughing the passer.
That put the Wildcats on the Tuskegee 46 with 2:27 left, but Eady was hit while escaping the pocket and fumbled, the Golden Tigers covering it with 2:14 remaining.
The film review session will be an uncomfortable one for the Wildcats.
Its just a drive-killer, Pittman reiterated. It helps them, keeps a drive alive. And offensively, it killed our drives.