Week 6 - CIAA Football Preview
By Shawn Warren
Game of the Week
Bowie State Bulldogs (3-2, 0-2) at Chowan Hawks (3-2,
Chowan was picked to finish fifth in the Northern Division in the CIAA Coaches’ preseason poll. Five games into the season, the Hawks are off to a 3-2 start, and tied for the division lead with a 2-0 conference record. The Hawks are coming off a convincing 27-3 win over Fayetteville State on Saturday. Quarterback Cameron Stover threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns in what was Chowan’s first win ever over FSU. Stover has thrown for 1,172 yards and 11 touchdowns this year and the Hawks are averaging 420.0 yards and 36.0 points per game. Stover lost his favorite target when All-CIAA receiver Robert Holland went down with an injury in a 70-35 win over Livingstone in Week 1. In Holland’s absence, Stover has had to spread the ball around more. Ryan Nolan, a converted quarterback (14 receptions, 272 yards,3 touchdowns), wideout Antjuan Randall (17 receptions, 207 yards, 1 touchdown), and tailback J.R. Williams (14 receptions, 222 yards, 2 touchdowns) have all stepped up to fill the void left by Holland. In all, six different Chowan receivers have caught at least 10 passes this season. With Stover under center the last two seasons, the Hawks have had one of the better passing attacks in the CIAA, but the gaudy passing numbers haven’t translated into a lot of wins due to the lack of a consistent running game. That has not been a problem this season. The Hawks are second in the conference in rushing, averaging 171.8 yards a game. Tailback Tim Hanson leads Chowan with 302 rushing yards and five touchdowns. The Hawks’ defense is coming off their best outing of the season against Fayetteville State. The Hawks gave up 350 yards of offense to the Broncos, but held them to a single field goal. Lineman T.J. Batchelor leads the CIAA with nine sacks. It’s do-or-die time for Bowie State. After a promising 3-0 start, BSU has dropped two straight conference games. The Bulldogs are coming off a 35-3 loss to fifth-ranked Winston-Salem State. They now find themselves in danger of falling out contention in the Northern Division with another conference loss. BSU entered the Winston-Salem game allowing a league-low 280.8 yards a game, but surrendered a season-high 500 yards to the Rams. However, they continue to be tough against the run. The Bulldogs held CIAA rushing leader Maurice Lewis to 52 yards on 14 carries. Offensively, Bowie State is seventh in the league in total offense, averaging 361.0 yards and scoring 20.2 points a game. Kickoff for this important Northern Division matchup is set for 6:00 PM at Chowan’s Garrison Stadium.
Elizabeth City State Vikings (3-2, 2-0) at Virginia State Trojans (1-4, 0-2)
Last season Elizabeth City State got off to a 0-2 start, before reeling off eight straight wins en route to a Northern Division title and a NCAA playoff berth. Looks like they might be at it again this year. After another 0-2 start, the Vikings have won three straight and are tied for the lead in the Northern Division. ECSU is coming off a dominating defensive performance in their 23-21 win over Saint Augustine’s on Saturday. The Vikings effectively grounded the Falcons’ potent aerial attack, holding the visitors from Raleigh to just 135 passing yards. They also stymied the run, holding Saint Augustine’s to 55 yards rushing. When it was all said and done, the Vikings had given up just 190 yards and one offensive touchdown to a team that came into the game averaging 322.8 yards and 29.3 points per game. The Vikings’ offense complimented the stellar play of the defense with a steady performance of their own. Tailback Daronte McNeil was the workhorse, rushing for 122 yards on 27 carries. Backfield mate Kevin Swain rushed for two touchdowns and quarterback Namon Jones passed for 154 yards as ECSU picked up 290 yards of total offense. So, let’s see…the Vikings had a monster day on defense and a solid performance on offense…but what about special teams? Let’s just say the Vikings are fortunate that the other two units played so well. After opening up a 21-7 lead midway through the third quarter, the Vikings nearly let the game get away due to poor play on special teams. Saint Aug’s return man Tyrone Laughinghouse scored on a 95-yard kickoff return in the third quarter and a 77-yard punt return in the fourth to pull the Falcons within striking distance. Despite giving up the two big plays, the Vikings got their biggest play of day from their special teams when Nigel Rios picked up a blocked extra point attempt and returned it 95-yards for a two-point safety…the game’s final margin. Virginia State is coming off a 16-6 loss to Shaw. The Trojans continue to struggle offensively and are twelfth in the CIAA in scoring (14.0 points per game) and yards per game (242.2). Against Shaw, VSU managed only 213 yards of offense. Jarred Battle led the Trojans with 137 passing yards and a touchdown, while receiver Dion Futch added 90 all-purpose yards. Linebacker Bryce Willoughby led the Trojans’ defense with nine tackles against Shaw. Virginia State’s defense is third in the conference in points allowed at 20.4 points per game. Game time is set for 1:00 PM at Virginia State’s Roger’s Stadium.
Fayetteville State Broncos (1-4, 0-2) at Shaw Bears
The two Southern Division powers, which have combined to win seven of the last ten CIAA titles, now find themselves in survival mode, trying to keep pace with front running Winston-Salem State. Fayetteville State dropped to 0-2 in the conference with their surprisingly lopsided 27-3 loss to Chowan on Saturday. The Broncos rushed for a season-high 241 yards, but struggled throwing the ball. Two FSU quarterbacks, Andreas Hudson and Chauncey Concepcion, combined to go 12-of-32 passing for 109 yards. Fayetteville State is currently 10th in the CIAA in passing, throwing for an average of 165.2 yards a game and just one touchdown. The Broncos’ inability to effectively throw the ball has made it easier for opponents to key on stopping their ground game. FSU is currently fifth in the league in rushing, averaging 138.4 yards a game with seven touchdowns. The Broncos are averaging 19.2 points a game. On defense, Fayetteville State is allowing 29.8 points and 337.0 yards a game. Shaw earned their first conference win of the season when they downed Virginia State 16-3 on Saturday. The Bears held the Trojans to just 213 yards of total offense. Marquise Grizzle led the Bears with 104 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while James Stallons threw for 208 yards. Shaw is averaging 24.6 points and 401.4 yards a game. Shaw’s typically rugged defense has been anything but this season. The Bears are giving up a whopping 30.6 points per game in 2012. Kickoff is 1:00 PM at Durham County Memorial Stadium.
#4 Winston-Salem State Rams (5-0, 2-0) at Johnson C.
Smith Golden Bulls (1-4, 1-1)
The fourth ranked Rams have their sights on another CIAA title, but first they must take care of business in the Southern Division. WSSU is coming off a workmanlike 35-3 win over Bowie State where they rolled up 500 yards of offense while holding the Bulldogs to 246 yards and a single field goal. The Rams are tops in the league in both offense and defense. They’re averaging 36.6 points and 476.2 yards per game, while their defense surrenders 290.2 yards and just 15.0 points per game. Johnson C. Smith put up some huge offensive numbers but still came out on the short end of 55-53 loss to Lincoln last week. Keahn Wallace threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns, Dedric Anderson rushed for 161 yards and two scores, and Fred Scott had eight catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns as the Golden Bulls amassed 542 yards of total offense. Unfortunately, they ran into a determined Lincoln team with a potent passing attack of their own and hungry for their first win. Behind Doug Cook’s 343 passing yards and 4 touchdowns, Lincoln piled up 479 yards of offense to hold off the Golden Bulls. Wallace is the catalyst for the Golden Bulls’ offense. The second-year starter has thrown for 1,202 yards and ten touchdowns. As a team, JCSU is scoring 30.4 points and averaging 392 yards per game. Defensively, the Golden Bulls are yielding 32.6 points per game. The Rams and the Golden Bulls square off at 4:00 PM at Charlotte Memorial Stadium.
Lincoln Lions (1-4, 1-1) at Virginia
Union Panthers (2-3, 0-2)
Lincoln picked up their first win of the season with a thrilling come-from-behind 55-53 win over Johnson C. Smith. Doug Cook had another strong outing, passing for 343 yards and four touchdowns. Lincoln’s talented receiving duo of Phillip Jean-Juste (leads the CIAA with 43 catches) and Matthew Coston (third in CIAA with 30 catches) usually command most of Cook’s attention, but it was Kester Lewis who had a big day catching the ball for Lincoln. Lewis, a 6’2” senior, had five catches for a career-high 147 yards and three touchdowns. Jean-Juste added 10 catches for 94 yards and a touchdown while Coston caught two balls for 68 yards. You might be hard-pressed to find a defensive standout in game where the two teams combined for over 1,000 yards of offense and over 100 points, but the biggest play of game came from Lincoln’s defense. Defensive end Tim Green's 77-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter helped the Lions hold off the Golden Bulls after they had cut the lead to 48-47. Green finished with 11 tackles and four quarterback hurries. Virginia Union has dropped three-in-row since their 2-0 start. The Panthers are coming off a painful 23-21 loss to upstart Livingstone, dropping them to 0-2 in the conference. The Panthers averaged 29.5 points in their first two games, but have seen that number drop to 14.7 in their last three. Offensively, VUU averages 294.8 yards a game. Tailback Jerrell Washington is third in the conference with 453 rushing yards and has scored a league-high eight touchdowns. Defense has been Virginia Union’s strong suit. The Panthers are third in the CIAA, allowing 314 yards per game. Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM at Hovey Field.
Saint Augustine’s Falcons (3-2, 1-1) at Livingstone Blue Bears (2-3, 2-0)
The high-flying Falcons hit the ground with a thud on Saturday thanks to an impressive defensive effort by Elizabeth City State. The Falcons’ normally potent aerial attack was almost nonexistent in the Vikings’ 23-21 win. Quarterback Teddy Bacote, who had passed for 317 yards a week earlier, was held to 135 yards as the Vikings limited the Falcons to 190 total yards. SAU trailed 21-7 late in the third quarter, before dynamic return-man Tyrone Laughinghouse made two huge plays, a 95-yard kick return for a touchdown, and a 77-yard punt return for a score to get the Falcons back in the game. Livingstone picked up their biggest win of the season, when they turned back perennial Northern Division contender Virginia Union. Freshman quarterback Drew Powell passed for 290 yards and three touchdowns for the Blue Bears. Livingstone kept the Panthers off balance with an effective mix of run and pass. Tailback Javon Williams carried the ball 32 times for 102 yards. The Blue Bears are a high-scoring bunch with an offense that’s averaging 31.8 points and 441 yards per game. Powell has thrown for a league-high 1,498 yards and 15 touchdowns. While their offense has been productive, Livingstone’s defense has struggled to slow down the opposition. The Blue Bears are allowing 45.2 points and 470 yards per game, but are getting solid play from their linebackers. Kenneth White (47 tackles/9.4 tackles per game) and Tyheim Pitt (45 tackles/9.0 tackles per game) are fourth and fifth in the conference in tackles per game. Game time is 1:30 PM at Livingstone’s Alumni Memorial Stadium.