Shaw Holds Off Stillman For 31-26 Win
DURHAM, N.C. - Shaw University overcame 251 penalty yards and a late drive from Stillman to claim their first win of the season, 31-26 in a game played at Durham County Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon. With the win, Shaw improves to 1-2 on the season, while the Tigers fall to 1-2.
Stillman was driving in the final seconds of the game for what would have been a go-ahead touchdown, but failed to find the end zone despite starting six plays inside the Shaw 20.
"It's probably a good thing no one was monitoring my heart rate on that final drive," said Shaw head coach Robert Massey, who collected his first win atop the Shaw program. "We played well enough to preserve the win, but barely. We've got to learn how to win - how to put a team away."
Shaw committed 19 fouls for a total of 251 penalty yards, including four fouls on Stillman's final drive of the game.
"We've got to work on that. Over 200 yards is two touchdowns," said Massey. "It's an attention to detail that we're still developing."
Shaw quarterback James Stallons connected with nine different receivers, amassing 261 yards through the air.
"We were looking for matchups. We had to start moving people out of position to take advantage of these opportunities," said Massey of the ever-rotating receiving corps.
The offense was not the only unit playing well. The defense, despite some lapses in the second half, held the Tigers to only 211 yards overall - 212 of that through the air. The Bear defense pushed Stillman back a yard on the ground in the entirety of the game.
"Our defense has to learn not to let down," Massey said. "It's part of the entire picture. We have to close out games. We can't let down."
Shaw jumped on top early, when Darius Moffett recovered a Stillman fumble and returned it for 24 yards to the Stillman eight. On the next play, Antonio Dunn barreled across the goal line for a 7-0 lead. While the Bears did not know it at the time, the Stephen Guelff extra point would be the only PAT attempt completed during the game.
After the Shaw defense held Stillman to only ten yards combined on their next two drives, Shaw took over the ball on their own 20. Stallons and Dunn combined to drive the Bears the length of the field, with Dunn rushing for 35 yards and Stallons throwing for 45. With 4:24 left in the first quarter, Stallons hit Derek Grant for a four-yard touchdown strike. The Guelff PAT attempt failed, giving Shaw a 13-0 lead.
The Shaw defense again shut down the Tigers, but on Shaw's subsequent drive, Stallons had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown. The quarter ended with the Bears holding a 13-7 lead and having held Stillman to only 30 offensive yards.
Neither team had much offensive momentum in the second quarter, with the ball being punted back and forth for most of the period. With 6:14 showing on the clock, Shaw took the ball at their own 48. Powered by a Stillman facemask penalty, the Bears covered the 52 yards in only five plays, capped by a Stallons 25-yard touchdown pass to Allen Strickland. After a Shaw penalty pushed the PAT attempt back five yards, the kick went wide, so Shaw held a 19-7 lead.
With 1:38 left in the half, Stillman recovered a Shaw fumble on the Shaw 26, but committed three penalties that drove them back to the Shaw 41. With 11 seconds left on the clock, Stillman's Alejandro Huerta hit a 58-yard field goal to cut the Shaw lead to 19-10 as the teams went to the locker room at the half.
In the third quarter, the ball moved for both teams - but on penalties more than offensive aptitude. After each team had two drives, Shaw got the ball near midfield. Stallons completed a 26-yard pass to Raheem Richardson, and Antonio Dunn powered downfield on a 25-yard touchdown run. After the kick attempt was blocked, Shaw held a 25-10 lead with 3:26 left in the third.
After a Shaw penalty on the ensuing kickoff, the Tigers got the ball near midfield and Josh Straughan hit four straight passes to move the ball to the Shaw 11. After a defensive pass interference penalty on Shaw, Stillman's LaKevin Camp rushed two yards for a Tiger touchdown. The extra point cut the Shaw lead to 25-17.
Shaw nearly gave away the game early in the fourth quarter. After Stillman backed Shaw up on their own three, Stallons fumbled the ball in the end zone, and was tackled by the Tigers for the safety. On the ensuing kickoff to Stillman, Damian Ford returned the ball 33 yards to the Shaw 36.
Five plays later, Straughan connected with Camp for a 22-yard touchdown pass. With the extra point, Stillman led 26-25 with 10:50 remaining in the game.
Both defenses came up big on the next few drives. Shaw went only 29 and two yards on their next two drives, while the Tigers gained zero and went backwards ten on their next two.
After the Shaw defense pushed the Tigers back ten yards, Sean Allen's punt went only 20 yards, giving the Bears outstanding field position. Dunn rushed for 23 yards on the 38-yard drive, but it was James Langford who went the final five yards for a Shaw touchdown. The Stallons' try for two - pushed back five yards because of a Shaw penalty - failed, leaving Shaw ahead by five, 31-26 with 3:32 left.
After a strong Vinny Pacifico kickoff for Shaw, Stillman started on their own 19 and immediately went backwards on a penalty. Then the final Tiger drive got underway, fueled by Shaw penalties and Straughan's arm. Straughan made six passes, but missed on eight - including the final three passes in the waning seconds of the game. When his pass to Ford sailed long as the clock ran out, Shaw claimed their first victory of the season.
On the afternoon, Shaw accumulated 428 yards of total offense, compared to 211 for the Tigers. The Bears had 167 yards rushing while Stallons was 22 of 45 with two touchdowns and two interceptions for 261 yards. Straughan finished the game 26 of 53 for 212 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Dunn led all rushers with 165 yards on 26 attempts, with two touchdowns. Grant was the leading receiver for the Bears with 11 catches for 102 yards, including one touchdown.
Defensively for the Bears, Darius Moffett had nine solo tackles and one assist, including one sack, two tackles for a loss, a fumble recovery and return of 24 yards. Oscar Petty had eight tackles with four tackles for a loss and three pass breakups.
For the Tigers, Camp finished as their top rusher with 31 yards. Charles Payne had seven catches for 71 yards, while Ford had eight catches for 61 yards.
The Tigers were led defensively by Carlos Wilson who had seven tackles and one interception. Willie Huggins and Marcus Matthews had six tackles apiece.
The Bears conclude their three-game homestand next Saturday when they host Chowan at Durham County Memorial Stadium at 1:00 p.m. The game is Military Appreciation Day. All members of the armed forces will be admitted to the game for only five dollars.