Shaw Drops Season Opener to Charleston, 44-26
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - James Langford rushed for three touchdowns for Shaw, but it wasn't enough as the Bears fell to Charleston 44-26 in a game played Thursday night at the University of Charleston Stadium.
Langford, who collected only 50 yards on his way to the three scores, was outdone by Charleston's All-American Jordan Roberts who rushed for 238 yards and scored a touchdown.
"We lost in all three aspects of the game," said Shaw head coach Robert Massey of his team's effort in their first game under his tutelage. "The defense gave up almost 500 yards, including 350 on the ground. You can't win when you're giving up yardage like that."
He continued, "And the special teams gave up long kickoff returns and had botched punts. But we will continue to improve."
The Bears earned that assessment early in the game. With 8:06 left in the first quarter, Vinny Pacifico's punt was blocked, giving the Golden Eagles the ball on the Shaw 14. Two plays later, Roberts got his touchdown with a 13-yard rush to give UC a 7-0 lead with 7:24 left in the first.
On their next possession, two Bears dropped passes from James Stallons and Shaw was forced to punt. The kick traveled only 24 yards before going out of bounds, giving UC another short field. Six plays and 39 yards later, Charleston's quarterback, Maurice Leak, punched the ball in from two yards out giving UC a 14-0 lead.
After a 20-yard return by Langford on the ensuing kickoff, the Bears began what would be a 75-yard drive that ended in the opening seconds of the second quarter when Langford barreled through the line for a one-yard touchdown run, trimming the lead to only seven, 14-7.
Charleston responded with a long drive of their own, going 72 yards in eight plays, ending with a 14-yard strike from Leak to Shaq Williams to give the Golden Eagles a 21-7 advantage.
Midway through the second quarter, the Bears got the ball on their 34-yard line and Langford and Stallons combined to move the ball down the field. Stallons connected on two critical passes to keep the drive alive, and Langford amassed 26 yards - including a 13-yard run to score his second touchdown of the evening. Stephen Guelff missed the extra point, leaving the Bears trailing 21-13 with 5:21 left in the half.
The Shaw defense then let down, allowing the Golden Eagles to score 13 unanswered points to close out the second quarter.
Another special teams miscue - a kickoff that went out of bounds - left UC with good field position, bettered when Roberts opened the drive with a 52-yard run. Two plays later, Leak rushed five yards for a touchdown, giving UC a 28-13 lead. Puma Nuredini knocked in two more field goals to give the Golden Eagle a 34-13 halftime advantage.
The Bear passing offense, which managed only 53 yards in the first half, came alive in the second and earned some praise from Massey.
In the second, Stallons was eight for 15 for 142 yards, and he collected his lone touchdown on the evening when he connected with Marcus Hickson for a two-yard strike to make the score 37-20.
After giving up a 33-yard kickoff return, the Bears found themselves trying to defend another short field. Leak connected with Dustin Phelps for a 30-yard pass that closed out UC's scoring and gave them a 44-20 lead with 4:29 left in the third.
After Bryce McClain recovered a fumble for the Bears with 10:24 left in the game, Stallons engineered a drive that went 60 yards in nine plays, including five completed passes for a total of 58 yards - five more yards than Shaw had gained through the air in the entire first half. Langford punctuated the drive with a one-yard run into the end zone, making the score 44-26 after a Stallons' two-point attempt failed.
Charleston then ran out the final 7:10 on the clock, giving the ball to a variety of running backs, including Roberts, who finished the game with a school record 238 yards on 23 carries.
In addition to his 50 yards rushing, Langford amassed 90 yards in kickoff return yardage, giving him 140 all-purpose yards. Marquise Grizzle added 44 rushing yards of his own to the total. Stallons finished the game 18 for 28 for 195 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Ruffin was the leading receiver with four catches for 93 yards.
Defensively, two defensive backs were the leading tacklers for the Bears. Keith Lomon had 12 tackles, while Derrick Washington had 11. McClain not only had the fumble recovery, but had a sack for a 13-yard loss.
For the Golden Eagles, Leak finished the game with an 11 for 20 performance, good for 141 yards and no interceptions. Ryan Foster was the leading receiver with four catches for 48 yards. Matt Kelly was UC's leading tackler with nine.
The Bears return home to face Miles College Saturday, September 8 at 1:00 p.m. The game is Kids Day and all children under 14 will be admitted for $5.