Shaw Finds Its Rhythm; Downs JCSU 45-13
(Charlotte, NC) – Shaw found its rhythm in all three aspects of the game and handily defeated Johnson C. Smith 45-13. The Bears gave up only one offensive touchdown, while generating nearly 500 yards of offense.
"The defense and special teams had been playing well all season," said Shaw Head Coach Darrell Asberry. "This week the offense finally found its rhythm. (Quarterback) Kevin Atkins needed a breakout game, and I think this was finally it."
Atkins threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns while going 16 for 22. A week after he threw two picks, Atkins had no interceptions and was only sacked once.
In the first half, though, the offensive star was Raymond Williams. In the first half alone, he rushed 20 times for 138 yards including a touchdown. He added only 20 yards on three carries in the half, but one of those carries was a two-yard touchdown run. He had 193 yards of total offense in the game.
Together, the two led the Bears to 491 yards of total offense, with only one turnover on offense (the special teams had a fumble on a blocked field goal attempt).
The Bears announced their dominance early, forcing the Golden Bulls to go three and out. Atkins and Williams then combined for an 11-play, 66-yard drive that was capped by a Caleb Reid 29-yard field goal. On the drive, Williams rushed six times for 41 yards, and Atkins was three for four.
With 2:05 left in the first quarter, Shaw took a 10-0 lead on a four-yard rush from Williams.
Atkins threw a 28-yard strike to Julius Gregory to give the Bears a 17-0 lead with 5:13 left in the first half.
On the next drive, the Bears allowed the JCSU offense to get 45 yards, but held them to a 28-yard field goal attempt. Shaw blocked the attempt, but Shaw players scrambled for the ball, lost it, and the Golden Bulls recovered in the end zone to cut the lead to 17-7 going into the half.
Shaw wasted no time in hitting the scoreboard in the second half – taking the kickoff and driving 64 yards in under two and a half minutes. Antonio Dunn capped the drive with a four-yard rush.
Williams' two-yard run gave the Bears at 31-7 lead with 5:44 left in the third and Atkins started the fourth quarter with a 14-yard strike to Bobby Holliday to put the score at 38-7 with 13:15 left in the game.
JCSU's Ryan Carter connected with Jeremy Franklin for a 27-yard TD pass, but was intercepted on the attempted two-point conversion by Rico Brown, leaving them with the 38-13 deficit.
Craig was the top receiver for the Bears with 69 yards on four catches and the touchdown. Tyrone Bolden had 62 yards on five catches.
Defensively, the Bears shared the wealth while holding the Golden Bulls to 275 yards. Michael Carter had eight tackles, including one sack. Fred Sparkman had six solo tackles – two for a loss – sacked the quarterback once and broke up a pass. Kalen Smith had five tackles.
The win brings Shaw's record on the season to 4-2, 3-0 in the CIAA. JCSU drops to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in the CIAA.
Next Saturday, the Bears finally end their five-game road trek as they return home to face division rival Fayetteville State. Last season, the Broncos recovered a bad snap on a punt in the end zone for a safety – and defeated the Bears 29-28 thereby knocking Shaw out of the CIAA championship game.
As the Bears gathered after the win against JCSU, Fayetteville was already on their minds, and Asberry said the formula was straightforward for his team this coming week.
"We have to have a good week of practice. We have to have discipline and we have to focus, and then we can look for a good outcome next week," he said. "They got by us on a chip shot last year, but now they have to come face the Bear."
The Bears meet the Broncos at 6:00 p.m. at Southeast Raleigh High School on October 16.