SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah State just needed a few more yards. Four more to be exact.
But D'vonn Gibbons 4th down pass attempt was broken up, and Florida A&M held off the Tigers in heartbreaking fashion.
"Man, it would have been so huge for our team to punch that in," Savannah State head coach Erik Raeburn said.
Much like many of his Tigers, Raeburn's disappointment in the loss was evident. It's easy to understand why.
After the Rattlers took a 20-14 lead, Savannah State got the ball with 6:11 left. From there, the Tigers went on an impressive, time consuming drive. It led them deep into FAMU territory, facing a 3rd and goal, no timeouts, and less than ten seconds left.
SSU attempted two passes into the end zone, but both fell incomplete to give FAMU the win.
"Without the timeouts, we felt like that was the best chance to get two plays," Raeburn said.
The Tigers were forced to start Gibbons in the place of injured QB T.J. Bell. The true freshman from Stone Mountain only threw for 62 yards and an interception, but led the Tigers in rushing with 123 yards and two touchdowns. The second score was a 40 yard scamper that tied the game at 14 early in the fourth quarter.
"I feel like I played pretty good," Gibbons said. "I still need to work on my mechanics."
"It's tough to play quarterback, period. But when you're a true freshman, it's really hard," Raeburn said. "I thought he responded really well. I think he'll continue to get better and better."
This will be a tough one to swallow for the Tigers, but Raeburn hopes the effort he saw tonight continues.
"Obviously we just made too many mistakes to win the game," he says. "But if we play with that kind of effort and a little smarter, we'll have a chance in every one this year."