Shaw Holds Off Determined FSU, 34-27
(Raleigh, NC) – Shaw built a lead in the first quarter, but could never distance itself from a determined Fayetteville State squad as they held on for a 34-27 win.
The win moves Shaw to 5-2 on the season, 4-0 in the CIAA. Fayetteville State drops to 2-5, 1-3 in the CIAA.
"Any time these two teams play, you know it's going to be a high tempo game," said Shaw Head Coach Darrell Asberry. "Our team is playing good football, and while it took our offense a little time to click, we stuck to the game plan and it came out in our favor."
Gregory caught both of Atkins' TD tosses, giving him seven on the season, and 18 in his Shaw career, new Shaw records in each instance.
"They'd been double covering Julius most of the season," said Asberry. "This was a breakout game for him."
The Broncos broke on top early when they put together a 12-play 53-yard drive to open the game, ending with an Austin Turner 30-yard field goal to give FSU the 3-0 lead.
Shaw answered on the very next drive climaxing when Atkins scrambled for seven yards, reaching his arm just over the goal line as he was pushed out of bounds (below left) and giving the Bears the 7-3 lead.
FSU cut the lead to one when Turner drove a 42-yard field goal attempt through the uprights early in the second quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, the Bears extended their lead when Raymond Williams broke through the line for a three-yard touchdown run.
The Broncos answered with a touchdown of their own with just over a minute left in the first half when Robert Benjamin connected with Jamere Pugh on a 25-yard strike. The teams would go into the locker rooms at the half with Shaw holding the one-point, 14-13, lead.
Both teams started the second half slowly – going three and out for both sides. But on Shaw's second drive of the half, Williams – with a key block from Gregory – dashed 12 yards into the end zone to give the Bears a 20-13 lead.
With 4:40 left in the third quarter, Atkins and Gregory connected for their first touchdown of the evening – a 25-yard bomb that Gregory pulled in at the very back of the end zone, giving the Bears a two touchdown advantage.
Anthony Council barreled two yards for a Bronco touchdown, cutting the Bear lead to seven, but 21 seconds later, on the first play of the drive, Atkins connected with Gregory who turned the play into a 67-yard touchdown pass, giving Shaw a 34-20 lead.
The Broncos went three and out on their next possession – as did the Bears – then made a frenzied effort to take control of the game.
For the first time on the evening, though, the Bears stopped FSU in the red zone, forcing them to turn the ball over on downs on the Shaw seven. The Bronco defense forced the Bears to punt three plays later giving their offense outstanding field position.
The Broncos again drove downfield, but Shaw's Darnell Evans picked off a Benjamin pass, ending that drive. Again the Bronco defense held the Bears, forcing a punt with 3:22 to go.
Still down 34-20, the Broncos took over the ball at their own 31 and put together a drive that covered the 69 yards and cut the lead to seven when Benjamin rolled out and hit an 11-yard pass to BJ Washington. Unfortunately for the Broncos, only 50 seconds remained on the clock when they scored. Their attempt at the onside kick failed and the Bears left the field with the 34-27 win.
On the evening, Atkins was eight for 15 with no interceptions for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Gregory finished the game with three receptions, totaling 100 yards and the two scoring catches. Williams (right) had 123 yards in the game.
Defensively, Gerald Kennedy had eight tackles, including one tackle for a loss and one pass break up. Michael Carter, Charles Deas and Rico Brown each had seven tackles on the night. Carter had a sack and two tackles for a loss, while Deas had 2.5 tackles for a loss and broke up one pass.
Next week, the Bears host Chowan for their Homecoming Game. Kickoff of the game at Southeast Raleigh High School is 4:00 p.m.