FLORENCE, Ala. -- North Alabama took a 24-17 halftime lead and held off Tuskegee in the fourth quarter as the Lions picked up a 30-27 win against the Golden Tigers to advance to the second round of the Division II playoffs.
North Alabama will travel to North Carolina-Pembroke for the second-round matchup on Nov. 30. Pembroke had a first-round bye.
Trailing 24-17, Tuskegee took the second half kickoff and drove 75 yards for a game-tying touchdown. UNA answered with a quick score of its own but missed the extra point, leaving the Lions ahead 30-24. Tuskegee added a third-quarter field goal but could get no closer. UNA got a defensive stop with 3:56 left in the game and was able to run out the clock with two key first downs.
With the win, North Alabama improved to 9-2 while Tuskegee ended its season at 8-3. The postseason win was the 30th all-time for UNA as the Lions improved to 30-14 in the Division II playoffs. The Lions also improved to 3-0 all time against Tuskegee.
UNA gained 332 total yards with 160 passing and 172 rushing. Tuskegee had 343 total yards, rushing for 125 and passing for 218.
North Alabama’s defense forced three turnovers, including two in the second half.
Tuskegee took the opening kickoff of the second half and quickly covered 75 yards in six plays to tie the game. Rasha Burkette hit Kalee Williams with a 29-yard pass and Trevor Wylie added the PAT to make it 24-24 with 11:55 left in the third quarter.
North Alabama answered with a two-play, 61-yard TD drive. Lamonte Thompson covered 25 yards on the first play and Luke Wingo hit Korey Jones with 36-yard TD pass with 11:27 left in the third. Will Craig missed the PAT but UNA led 30-24.
Tuskegee put together a 17-play, 68-yard drive that ate 9:21 off the clock. Trevor Wylie kicked a 38-yard field goal to make it 30-27 with 2:06 left in the third.
UNA stopped three Tuskegee possessions in the fourth quarter and was able to hold on for the win.
UNA received the opening kickoff and drove 69 yards in nine plays for the game’s first score. Chris Coffey found the end zone from 9 yards out and Will Craig added the extra point to make it 7-0 with 10:37 remaining in the opening quarter.
Tuskegee answered on its first possession with an 11-play, 42-yard scoring drive. Trevor Wylie booted a 45-yard field goal and the Golden Tigers had cut UNA’s lead to 7-3 at 5:29 of the first quarter.
Tuskegee took its first lead of the game moments later when Rasha Burkette found Larry Cobb on a 57-yard touchdown pass. Wylie’s PAT made it 10-7 at 4:04 of the first quarter.
North Alabama regained the lead early in the second quarter after a Tuskegee punting miscue gave UNA the ball at the Golden Tigers’ 3-yard line. Luke Wingo circled left end for the score and Craig’s PAT gave UNA a 14-10 lead at 14:14 of the second quarter.
Will Craig booted a 20-yard field goal with 9:36 left in the half to extend UNA’s lead to 17-10.
An interception by Nick Williams set the Lions up at the Tuskegee 45 and UNA covered the distance in 10 plays with Coffey scoring from 1 yard out. Craig’s PAT made it 24-10 with just 1:32 left in the half.
Tuskegee got a pair of long pass completions to get in scoring position before the half and Hoderick Lowe took a pitch and found the end zone around right end. Wylie’s PAT made it 24-17 with 40 seconds remaining in the half.