Over 25,000 fans packed MetLife Stadium Saturday to witness the Benedict College Tigers stage a late rally and knock off Virginia State, 30-14 in the 41st New York Urban League Classic. 107.5 WBLS and 1190 AM WLIB once again served as co-media sponsors for the annual football event.
Tigers redshirt sophomore quarterback Marcus Graham took home the game’s MVP honors by completing 19 of 27 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns while helping Benedict fight back from a 14-10 halftime deficit.
“I feel great for these players," Benedict head coach James Woody said. "This team has been through a lot over the last couple of years. I'm just glad they're getting the opportunity to win a couple of football games."
Virginia State (1-1) took the early command late in the first half on an 86-yard kickoff return for a TD by Sean Smith. The Trojans running game, however, was ineffective as they finished with 62 yards total yards on 23 carries.
Benedict, 2-0 to start the season for the first time since 2000, ran off 20 unanswered points in the second half, fueled by a pair of Graham TD passes to James Peterson and Terrance Butler. Tavion Wright capped the rally with an 11-yard TD run with a little over two minutes left in the contest to seal the win for the Tigers.
Wright gained 74 yards on nine carries for the day, while Graham mixed up his air assault with an efficient ground game, picking up 51 yards on 15 carries.
Justin Thorpe completed 12 of 23 passes for 73 yards and one score in defeat for Virginia State.