2009 Savannah State Tigers football team
|2009 Savannah State Tigers football|
|Head coach||Robby Wells (2nd year)|
|Offensive coordinator||Eddie Johnson (1st year)|
|Defensive coordinator||Julius Dixon (2nd year)|
|Base defense||Base 4–3|
|Home stadium||Ted Wright Stadium|
The 2009 Savannah State Tigers football team represented Savannah State University in American football. The Tigers were members of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision as an independent. This was the second season under the guidance of head coach Robby Wells.
The Tigers entered the 2009 season seeking its first winning season since joining Division I-AA in 2000, but ended the season with a 2–8 record. The team compiled a 5–7 record in 2008, the most wins since 1999, when the Tigers finished with a 5–6 as a member of the NCAA Division II. The Tigers last winning season was in 1998.
- 1 Season notes
- 2 Schedule
- 3 Coaches and support staff
- 4 Roster
- 5 Game summaries
- 6 Awards and records
- 7 Statistics
- 8 References
- Former offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Alan Hall left the Savannah State staff to join the football program at Winston-Salem State University 
- February 4, 2009 – Savannah State announced the signing of National Letters of Intent by 21 players.
|Blair Austin||WR||6–2, 190||Brookwood HS||Thomasville, GA|
|Cedric Brown||OL||6–2, 275||Thomasville HS||Thomasville, GA|
|Tavarus Butler||DT||6–4, 270||Putnam County HS||Eatonton, GA|
|Jonathan Clowers||OL||6–6, 280||Perry HS||Perry, GA|
|Justin Cooper||CB||6–2, 185||Cartersville HS||Cartersville, GA|
|Kevin Davenport||WR||6–3, 210||Glenn Hills HS||Augusta, GA|
|Brian Forde||DT||6–4, 295||Newton County HS||Conyers, GA|
|Phillip Gaines||LB||5–10, 195||Gainesville HS||Gainesville, GA|
|Franklin Green||RB||5–10, 205||Jenkins HS||Savannah, GA|
|Kenneth James||OL||6–4, 306||Millcreek HS||Hoschton, GA|
|Antonio Martin||CB||5–9, 170||Jefferson HS||Jefferson, GA|
|Warren Mason||OL||6–5, 310||Cedar Grove HS||Atlanta, GA|
|Quenton Pooler||LB||6–2, 210||Newton County HS||Covington, GA|
|DaShawn Printup||S||6–1, 190||Calhoun HS||Calhoun, GA|
|Terrick Ransom||OL||6- 1, 300||Cedar Grove HS||Atlanta, GA|
|Ricky Rivera||WR||6–1, 170||Long County HS||Ludowici, GA|
|Dustin Russell||LB||6–1, 205||Newnan HS||Newnan, GA|
|Leland Russell||LB||5–9, 210||Newnan HS||Newnan, GA|
|Calvert Smith||DB||5- 10, 180||Memorial Day HS||Savannah, GA|
|Anthony Thomas||LB||6–1, 205||Dublin HS||Dublin, GA|
|Channing Welch||DL||6–3, 270||Furman Univ. / Fayette County HS||Atlanta, GA|
- Spring practice was held between March 24, 2009 and April 16, 2009. The annual spring game was held on April 18, 2009. During the game, the Orange beat the Blue, 23–0.
- The game between Savannah State and North Greenville, originally scheduled for October 10 at Ted Wright Stadium in Savannah, was canceled because of a scheduling conflict.
- The Tigers announced the addition of CJ Frye (running backs coach) and Hans Batichon (wide receivers coach) on July 29, 2009. Frye replaced Trevin Smith who left the Tigers' staff, while Batichon replaced Eddie Johnson who was promoted to offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach. Frye was the offensive coordinator at McCormick High School in McCormick, South Carolina last season and played offensive line at the University of South Carolina. Batichon, a graduate of Appalachian State University (where he played wide receiver), came to SSU from Watauga High School in Boone, North Carolina.
- Eighty-five players reported to campus on August 4, 2009 for Football Camp. The Tigers returned 56 lettermen, including 16 starters and 29 newcomers. The first practice was also held on August 5.
- Coach Wells announced on August 28 that senior wide receiver Deleon Hollinger, senior linebacker Antwan Allen, senior defensive lineman Brandon Miller and senior offensive lineman Derrick Dorsey were selected as team captains for the 2009 season.
- Barry Casterlin is hired as running backs coach to replace Curtis Frye who left SSU to become tight ends coach at Tennessee State University.
Regular season notes and standings
|2009 NCAA Division I FCS independents football standings|
|North Carolina Central||–||4||–||7|
|Rankings from The Sports Network FCS Poll|
- The Tigers win over Livingstone College on September 5 was the team's first season opening win in five years.
- The Tigers loss to McNeese State on September 19, was the team's worst loss since losing to Gardner-Webb University, 66–0, on November 3, 2007 and the first shutout loss for Coach Wells.
- Center Donnell Collins sustained a season-ending ankle injury in the Tigers' 47–10 loss to Charleston Southern on October 3, 2009.
- Former Savannah State player Shannon Sharpe's #2 jersey, was officially retired by the university and presented to Sharpe during the pre-game ceremony before the Bethune-Cookman University game on October 17.
|September 5, 2009||4 p.m.||Livingstone*||Sirrine Stadium • Greenville, South Carolina (HBCU Classic)||W 34–12||2,100|
|September 12, 2009||5 p.m.||Alabama State*||Ted Wright Stadium • Savannah, Georgia (Joe Turner Classic)||L 17–20||5,947|
|September 19, 2009||8 p.m.||No. 8 McNeese State*||Cowboy Stadium • Lake Charles, Louisiana||L 0–56||13,912|
|September 26, 2009||4 p.m.||Concordia*||Lucy Laney High School Stadium • Augusta, Georgia (Southern Georgia Heritage Classic)||L 21–23||1,333|
|October 3, 2009||1:30 p.m.||Charleston Southern*||Buccaneer Field • Charleston, South Carolina||L 10–47||3,023|
|October 17, 2009||5 p.m.||Bethune-Cookman*||Ted Wright Stadium • Savannah, Georgia||L 24–34||3,517|
|October 24, 2009||5 p.m.||Old Dominion*||Ted Wright Stadium • Savannah, Georgia||L 17–38||2,743|
|October 31, 2009||2 p.m.||Edward Waters*||Ted Wright Stadium • Savannah, Georgia||W 45–24||11,643|
|November 14, 2009||5 p.m.||Webber International*||Ted Wright Stadium • Savannah, Georgia||L 20–35||1,956|
|November 21, 2009||1:30 p.m.||North Carolina Central*||O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium • Durham, North Carolina||L 14–35||4,765|
|*Non-conference game. Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time Zone.|
Coaches and support staff
|Name ||Type ||College||Graduating year|
|Robert "Robby" Wells||Head Coach||Furman||1990|
|John W. Montgomery, II||Asst. Head Coach
Offensive Line Coach
|Eddie Johnson||Offensive Coordinator
|Julius Dixon||Defensive Coordinator
Defensive Backs Coach
|Allen Edwards||Defensive Line Coach
|Jose Gonzalez||Inside Linebackers Coach||Southern Mississippi||2000|
|Barry Casterlin||Running Backs Coach||South Carolina||2001|
|Hans Batichon||Wide Receivers Coach||Appalachian State||2008|
|Melanie Dalpias||Graduate Assistant / Athletic Trainer||Graceland||2007|
|Renee Mickey||Graduate Assistant / Athletic Trainer||UNC-Pembroke||2009|
|2009 Savannah State Tigers by position |
Justin Babb rushed for 229 yards, including an 81-yard touchdown as the Tigers defeated Division II Livingstone College, 34–12, in the fifth annual HBCU Classic. A crowd of 2,100 fans saw the Tigers take a 25–0 lead in the first half.
The Blue Bears (0–2) had just 28 rushing yards on 26 carries in the game while the Tigers had 391 rushing yards on 49 carries. The Tigers gained 483 yards of offense while the defense sacked the Livingstone quarterback six times. The win gives Savannah State a 7–1 lead in the all-time series against Livingstone.
Alabama State University
Sophomore kicker Dereck Williams missed two field goals (36 and 42 yards) late in the fourth quarter as the Alabama State Hornets held on to defeat Savannah State, 20–17, at T.A. Wright Stadium. Quarterback Kurvin Curry completed 13 of 20 passes (159 yards) and Justin Babb rushed for 78 yards on 18 carries. The Tigers lead for much of the game, but fell behind when Devin Dominguez caught a 20-yard pass from Chris Mitchell late in the fourth quarter.
McNeese State University
|#8 McNeese State||28||14||14||0||56|
The eighth ranked Cowboys of McNeese State University racked up 489 yards on offense, including a season-high 288 rushing yards, in a 56–0 rout of Savannah State in the first ever meeting between the two schools. The Tigers offense were held to nine first downs during the game and only crossed mid-field three times. The McNeese State defense scored twice including a score on the game's fourth play when the Cowboys' defense sacked SSU quarterback Kurvin Curry and Desmund Lighten recovered his fumble in the end zone. Freshman quarterback A.J. DeFilippis replaced an injured Curry in the first half and completed 9 of 12 passes for 65 yards and one interception in the game. Junior defensive back Edward Ndem led the Tiger's defense with eight tackles while Chris Reed and Jeff Robertson had seven tackles each.
Concordia College – Selma
Concordia's Harrison Ellison kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give Concordia a 23–21 win over the Tigers in the 2009 Southern Georgia Heritage Classic in front of 1,333 in attendance. Savannah State led 21–14 with just over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, but the Hornets, an NAIA-level team, scored nine points in the final five minutes, fourteen seconds to earn the win.
SSU gained 259 yards of total offense compared to Concordia's 376 yards. SSU quarterback A.J. DeFilippis came off the bench and was 9-of-11 passing for 95 yards with two touchdowns, ran five times for 41 yards, and threw an interception. Starting quarterback Kurvin Curry was 5-of-10, passing for 61 yards but was sacked twice. Justin Babb ran for a game-high 74 yards and a touchdown.
Charleston Southern University
Charleston Southern piled up 528 total yards in a 47–10 win over Savannah State. The Tigers only touchdown was a 16-yard run by Justin Babb. Babb finished the game with seven carries for 81 yards. Senior wide receiver Deleon Hollinger surpassed the 100-catch mark in his career in the game. Starting quarterback A.J. Defilippis completed 12 of 28 passes for 124 yards, but threw 2 interceptions. Kurvin Curry completed 4 of 7 passes during the game. The Tigers mustered 266 yards of total offense. The Tigers defense was led by Chris Asbury who achieved a career-high 11 tackles in the game. The Tigers fell to 1–4 on the season and Charleston Southern improved to 2–3.
The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats stopped Savannah State's Kurvin Curry on fourth-and-goal run from 1-yard line late in the fourth quarter to preserve a 34–24 win. With 4:19 remaining in the game and trailing 27–24, the Tigers went on offense at the Wildcats' 8-yard line when linebacker Michael Kuku forced B-CU quarterback Matthew Johnson to fumble the football and defensive end Chris Reed recovered the ball. The Tigers offense attempted four plays, including two from inside B-CU's 1-yard line, but were unable to score. The Tigers were able to get the ball back at their own 34 yard line with 1:56 remaining in the game, but Curry's pass was intercepted by Michael Williams and returned 52 yards for a touchdown with 42 seconds left. Curry was intercepted again with 40 seconds left in the game by Tavaris Bell on the Tigers final offensive play of the game.
Curry, who relieved starter A.J. Defilippis in the game, was 11 of 23 for 174 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Defilippis was 4 of 11 for 49 yards. Savannah State moved to 1–5 and the Wildcats improved to 2–4.
Old Dominion University
Savannah State's losing streak was extended to six games after a 38–17 loss to Old Dominion. The loss assures the Tigers of a losing season, the eleventh consecutive, while ODU, who is in their first year of football, improves to 6–2.
Sophomore quarterback Kurvin Curry accounted for 235 of total offense (passed for 185 yards and ran for 50 yards) and two touchdowns. Deleon Hollinger ended the game with 10 receptions for 70 yards. Antwan Allen led the SSU defense with 10 tackles. Late in the third quarter, Derek Williams hit a career-long 46 yard field goal to cut SSU's deficit to 31–10.
ODU quarterback Thomas DeMarco finished the game with 198 yards (14-of-20 passing) and three touchdowns without an interception.
Edward Waters College
The Tigers ended a 6-game losing streak with a 45–24 Homecoming victory over Edward Waters College at Ted Wright Stadium. The SSU Tigers held a 14–12 lead at halftime and Edward Waters cut the score to 21–18 early in the third quarter, but the SSU eventually pulled away outscoring Edward Waters, 31–12 in the second half. Running back Justin Babb ran 13 times for 167 yards and scored four touchdowns. Babb also caught three passes for a team-high 89 yards. Sophomore quarterback Kurvin Curry was 13-of-26 passing for 234 yards and threw two touchdowns and one interception. He was sacked three times, but ran 21 times for 64 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown.
NAIA Webber International finished its season by winning four of its last five games including a 35–20 victory against the Tigers. The Warriors took a 14–10 lead over the Tigers in the second quarter and never trailed again.
The Tigers had 227 yards of total offense in the game. Quarterback Kurvin Curry was 18-of-35 passing for 171 yards and threw two touchdowns, but was intercepted twice. Senior wide receiver Deleon Hollinger had a team-high six catches for 47 yards and one touchdown. Kicker Derek Williams kicked field goals of 42 and 29 yards in the game and made both of his extra-point attempts.
During the game SSU defensive lineman Channing Welch left the game with an injury that required him to be placed on a backboard and taken by ambulance to a hospital.
The loss was the Tigers third to a lower-division team under second-year coach Robby Wells.
North Carolina Central University
The Tigers had 173 passing yards and 173 rushing yards, but fell to North Carolina Central 35–14.
The Tigers finished the 2009 football season at 2–8.
Awards and records
- Senior wide receiver Deleon Hollinger was listed as an honorable mention on the 2009 All-HBCU Football Team presented by Consensus Draft Services.
- Kurvin Curry and Derek Williams were named to the Phil Steele College Football Preview's 2009 pre-season All-Independent Team. Curry was named as quarterback of the First Team Offense while Williams was named as a punter and placekicker for the First Team Special Team.
Current as of November 24, 2009– All Games
Scores by quarter
|Name||Punt Returns||Kick Returns|
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- "Dalpias, Mickey Named Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainers". Savannah State University. 2009-08-10. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
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- "Babb Runs Into SSU Record Books In Big Win". Savannah State University Athletics. Savannah State University. 2009-09-06. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
- "Savannah State beats Livingstone 34–12". Rivals.com. Yahoo! Inc. 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
- "Alabama St. 20, Savannah St. 17". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. 2009-09-12. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "McNeese St. 56, Savannah St. 0". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. 2009-09-20. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
- "Cowboys Defeat Savannah State". SSUAthletics.com. Savannah State University. 2009-09-20. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
- "Tigers Fall To Concordia". SSUAthletics.com. Savannah State University. 2009-09-27. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- Barnidge, Noell (2009-09-27). "Late field goal sinks Tigers". SavannahNow.com. Savannah Morning News and Evening Press. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- Barnidge, Noell (2009-09-27). "SSU must sit Kurvin, start A.J. at QB". SavannahNow.com. Savannah Morning News and Evening Press. Archived from the original on 7 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- "Charleston Southern 47, Savannah St. 10". ESPN.com. Associated Press. 2009-10-03. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
- Barnidge, Noell (2009-10-04). "SSU receiver passes milestone". SavannahNow.com. Savannah Morning News and Evening Press. Archived from the original on 7 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-09.
- "Tigers Fall to Charleston Southern". SSUAthletics.com. Savannah State University. 2009-10-04. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
- "Bethune-Cookman beats Savannah State 34–24". MyFoxOrlando.com. Fox Television Stations, Inc. 2009-10-17. Archived from the original on 19 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
- Barnidge, Noell (2009-10-19). "Savannah State falls to Wildcats". SavannahNow.com. Savannah Morning News and Evening Press. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "Bethune-Cookman 34, Savannah St. 24". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. 2009-10-17. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
- "Sports with Walter Moore". The Savannah Tribune Online. The Savannah Tribune. 2009-10-28. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
- Barnidge, Noell (2009-10-25). "SSU falls to newcomer Old Dominion". SavannahNow.com. Savannah Morning News and Evening Press.
- Barnidge, Noell (2009-11-01). "Savannah State wins big in Homecoming game". SavannahNow.com. Savannah Morning News and Evening Press. Archived from the original on 2 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
- "Babb Sparks SSU to Homecoming Romp". SSU Athletics. Savannah State University. 2009-11-02. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
- Barnidge, Noell (2009-11-15). "Webber hands Savannah State a 'Senior Day' defeat". SavannahNow.com. Savannah Morning News and Evening Press. Archived from the original on 17 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
- "Tigers Fall to NCCU in Season Finale". SSU Athletics. Savannah State University. 2009-11-21. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
- "Hollinger Named To All-HBCU Team". Savannah State University. 2009-08-10. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
- "Phil Steele's 2009 Preseason All-Independent Team". Philsteele.com. Phil Steele's Publications. Retrieved 2009-09-18.