CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Shaw University scored three touchdowns in the third quarter, then allowed homestanding Johnson C. Smith back into the game, finally holding off the Golden Bulls for a 39-33 win at the Irwin Belk Complex on the JCSU campus Saturday afternoon.
The Bears, who improve to 5-3 and 3-2 in the CIAA, exacted some small amount of vengeance in the win on Johnson C. Smith's homecoming. For the last two seasons, JCSU - now 4-4 overall and 2-4 in the conference - downed Shaw on the Bears' homecoming games.
"It feels good to get the win," said Shaw head coach Robert Massey. "But we didn't look good doing it and we can't play like this and have any chance against Winston-Salem State."
After the Bears built a 32-13, they allowed the Golden Bulls back into the game on the back of penalties. For the game, Shaw had 11 penalties for 96 yards while the Golden Bulls committed four infractions for 16 yards. Shaw also struggled with turnovers, fumbling five times in the game, with JCSU recovering three of those.
"He played well," said Massey. "I was pleased. He came in in a tight spot and held his own."
Folston finished the game four for six for 128 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for another 17 yards and another touchdown.
The Bears' real strength came on the ground, where Marquise Grizzle crossed the 1,000-yard threshold for the season with a 167-yard performance that included two touchdowns, including a 40-yard sprint that gave Shaw the lead in the final minute of the first half.
The game started slowly for both teams with JCSU opening with a three-and-out, followed by three-and-a-punt for Shaw. On the next Golden Bull drive, quarterback Keahn Wallace was picked off in the end zone by Thomas Street, giving Shaw back the ball, but on their first play of the drive, Grizzle fumbled the ball, giving JCSU the ball on the nine-yard line.
Three plays later, Wallace hit Avius Capers on a two-yard pass to give JCSU the early 7-0 lead.
After a 47-yard kickoff return by DeShawn Beck, the Bears started near midfield. They moved to the three-yard line, where Odom fumbled, giving JCSU back the ball in the shadow of their own end zone.
Two plays later, LeAnder Barney was tackled in the endzone by Darius Hall for the safety, trimming the Golden Bull lead to 7-2.
An exchange of field goals made the score 10-5, in favor of JCSU. With just over two minutes left in the half, Shaw started a drive on their own 28. Odom opened the drive with a 25-yard strike to Ta'Juan Brown, then three plays later, Grizzle broke off the 40-yard dash, giving Shaw a 12-10 lead with just over a minute left in the half.
The Shaw defense held JCSU to a three-and-out, then knelt down to end the first half.
The second half did not begin well for Folston as he opened with an incomplete pass, but later rebounded when he found Brown for a 53-yard strike down the sideline for a 19-10 lead.
With 8:52 left in the third quarter, the Golden Bulls hit a field goal to cut the Shaw lead to 19-13.
Two Shaw drives later, Grizzle broke through the line and into the open for a 47-yard run that moved the Bears to the JCSU seven-yard line. After a JCSU penalty moved the Bears to the two, Folston powered his way through the crowd, scoring the touchdown and giving the Bears a 25-13 lead.
On the next Golden Bull drive, Keith Lomon forced a fumble and teammate Darius Moffett recovered it, giving Shaw the ball on the JCSU 32.
Folston hit David Jordan for 22 yards, and then Grizzle covered the final ten yards for the touchdown and the 32-13 lead with 2:52 left in the quarter.
JCSU scored a touchdown on their next drive, but missed the extra point, cutting the Shaw lead to 32-19.
Early in the fourth, and with Andre Alexander in at quarterback for the Golden Bulls, JCSU drove 80 yards, finally scoring on a pass from Alexander to Capers, making the score 32-26 in favor of Shaw.
The Bears answered with a three-play drive that culminated with a Folston pass to Jordan at the Shaw ten. Jordan was hit immediately, but he dragged the tackler the ten yards, ending in the end zone for a 39-26 lead.
On the next drive, JCSU drove the length of the field, in part due to a Shaw pass interference penalty that moved the Golden Bulls to the two. With 3:39 left in the game, Alexander found Evan Jones in the end zone, trimming the Shaw lead to 39-33.
On the second play of the next drive, Grizzle fumbled, giving the Golden Bulls a short field and 2:49 to play.
With the game on the line, the Shaw defense stiffened, driving the Golden Bulls backwards three yards before forcing the failed fourth-down attempt and getting the ball back with 1:49 left, leading to three straight rushes to run out the clock.
The Bears ended the game with 419 yards on offense -- 214 on the ground and 205 through the air. As a team, Shaw threw the ball only 18 times, finding the mark 13 times and committing no interceptions.
Brown was the leading receiver with three catches for a total of 78 yards and one touchdown. Jordan finished with 64 yards on three catches and Tyrone Craig had two receptions for 31 yards.
Moffett was the star on defense, amassing 14 tackles - 12 of them solo hits - including two and a half tackles for a loss and one and a half sacks while also recovering two fumbles.
Johnson C. Smith had only 21 yards rushing, while gaining 251 yards through the air. JCSU put the ball up 49 times, completing 30 and tossing one interception.
Alexander finished the game 18 of 31 for 174 yards and two touchdowns, while Wallace was 12 for 18 with one interception and one touchdown. Wallace was sacked three times.
Chris Patterson was the leading receiver for the Golden Bulls with nine catches for 82 yards. Capers finished with six catches for 51 yards and two touchdowns. Denzel Harvey was the leading rusher with 42 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively for the Golden Bulls, Damion Miles and Anthony Allen had seven tackles apiece. Allen recovered a fumble, while Miles had a pass breakup.
Next week, the Bears travel to Winston-Salem to take on the division-leading Winston-Salem State Rams.
"We can't play like we did today and have any hope," said Massey. "We have to play smarter."
Game time is 1:30 p.m.