DURHAM, N.C. – In his first career start, sophomore quarterback Vidal Woodruff (Tampa, FL) connected 25-of-35 passes for 317 yards and three touchdowns to help the Shaw University football team to its first win of the 2017 season with a 34-27 victory over Malone University Saturday afternoon at Durham County Memorial Stadium.
The victory snapped a two-game skid for Shaw as the Bears now stand 1-2 on the season and Malone falls to 0-2.
Junior running back Michael Sherman (Powder Springs, GA) carried the load on the ground with 19 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown while senior wide receiver Trevante Long (Greenbelt, MD) hauled in 85 yards and one touchdown on seven receptions.
The Bears produced a total of 458 yards, including 224 rushing and 234 passing while Malone accounted for 427 total offense (110 rushing, 317 passing).
Shaw scored the game's first touchdown led by an eight-yard pass from Woodruff to freshman wide receiver Daniel Bender (Jacksonville, FL) at the 12:42 mark but the next possession down, the Pioneers responded with a score of their own after a 45-yard run from Matt Blasiole into the endzone that would even up the score at 7-7 after the extra points.
Still in the first quarter, the Bears found their offensive groove as Woodruff hit Long up the middle for a 19-yard score, following a four-yard scamper from junior running back Uriah Bethea (Upper Marlboro, MD) in the second quarter with 10:19 remaining that would give Shaw a 20-7 advantage.
Shaw held Malone scoreless in the second frame as Woodruff would link with Bender again for his second career touchdown to close out the first half with a 27-7 lead at intermission.
The Pioneers opened up the second half with a score on a 5-play drive worth 44 yards to cut the Bears lead to 27-14 at the 12:33 mark. Shaw responded down the stretch with a one-yard touchdown from Sherman that gave the Bears a 34-14 frame but momentum shifted in favor of Malone as the Pioneers would not surrender just yet.
Malone closed the gap to pull within 14 before scoring its last touchdown of the game on a 12-yard pass from John Lacucci to James Jackson but great defense by the Bears down the stretch prevailed Shaw to the victory.
Defensively, freshman defensive back Jaleel Scroggins (Raleigh, NC) recorded a team-best and career-high 11 tackles (10 solo) and two tackle for losses, while sophomore linebacker Devon Hunt (Rockingham, NC) grabbed nine tackles (8 solo ) and a quarterback hurry.
Shaw will begin conference play next weekend when they travel to Bowie, Md. for a contest with Bowie State University. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.
For the most up-to-date information on Shaw football and its 13 varsity sport teams, visit shawbears.com.