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Cash-Starved Savannah State Takes Football Beatings For Cash

There were 385,000 reasons why Savannah State coach Steve Davenport agreed to play the role of the sacrificial lamb in Saturday’s ridiculous 84-0 beat-down at the hands of 19th-ranked Oklahoma State.

That was the cash-starved Tigers’ take for coming to Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater to face their first major-college opponent.

The game was the most lopsided victory for OSU since a 117-0 rout of Southwestern Oklahoma in 1916 and Savannah State’s worst loss since a 98-0 defeat against Bethune-Cookman in 1953, a season when the Tigers were outscored 444-6.

But Davenport wondered in hindsight if even the money was worth it.

“We’re going to have to re-address that,” he told ESPN. “You get paid for certain things, but I don’t know if at the end of the day, some things are worth the payments you get. But we’ll see. Those are conversations we’ll have.

“But we’ve got to get better and be more competitive to do these kinds of things and play these games. But it’s a process for us and we’re really in the early stages of rebuilding this program.”

Savannah State could find itself in a similar position next week when its plays at No. 7 Florida State.

The Cowboys wasted no time in assuring the blowout. The hosts ran off 35 points in the first quarter alone en route to scoring touchdowns on 10 of their first 13 possessions and finishing the day with 682 yards of total offense.

Coach Mike Gundy did his best to avoid running the score up by going deep into his roster. By the end of the third quarter, Oklahoma State had played 94 different players.

Savannah State, which plays in the lower Football Championship Subdivision, went 1-10 in 2011, losing four games by at least 40 points. The Tigers have managed to win just two games or less in 11 of their last 12 seasons.

The decision to add them to the Oklahoma State schedule came on the heels of the conference realignment spree this past spring that saw the Big 12 lose Missouri and Texas to the SEC, while welcoming West Virginia and Texas Christian.

“I’m just glad the kids went out and played hard,” Gundy said. “We play the games that are scheduled and go on down the road.”

Savannah State will receive $475,000 for going to Tallahassee this coming weekend to play the powerful Seminoles.

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