DURHAM, NC. – UNC Pembroke (3-0) turned three Bears turnovers into 21 crucial points as the Braves downed Shaw University (0-3) on Saturday afternoon at Durham County Memorial Stadium, 38-19.
Junior quarterback Darron Downing (Portsmouth, VA) powered the Bears offense by gaining 90 rushing yards on 17 carries, while scoring two touchdowns, including a 72-yard scamper in the first quarter. He went 15-for-27 in passing for 94 yards but also tossed two interceptions. Freshman wide receiver Daren Jones (Miami, FL) caught three passes for 26 yards, while freshman linebacker Devon Hunt (Rockingham, NC) and senior linebacker Keelan Jones (Kansas City, MO) guided the defensive effort with 10 and nine tackles, respectively.
For the game, the Bears were out-gained by UNCP 440-219, allowing the Braves to put up 183 yards on the ground and going 10-for-15 on third down conversions, but Shaw was undermined by three fumbles and five picks.
The Bears wasted little time in jumping to a 7-0 lead after Downing's first career touchdown as a Bear with 10:38 left in the first quarter. The Braves would settle for a 42-yard field goal to cut the deficit 7-3 heading into the second quarter.
UNCP would take its first lead of the game when Cliff Jones scored off a 7-yard rush. Matt Davis' extra point would give the Braves a 10-7 lead over Shaw with 4:46 left in the second quarter. The Bears responded after Downing ran for a 12-yard touchdown at the 2:23 mark. Despite a blocked field goal from freshman kicker Beni Kinsemi (Charlotte, NC), the Bears led 13-10 at intermission.
The momentum swung right back to the Braves when a Shaw fumble was scooped by Josh Manns and a play later, UNCP completed 48-yard pass from Patick O'Brien to B.J. Bunn which gave UNCP the 17-13 lead with 13:49 remaining in the third quarter.
Another fumble by the Bears led to a score for the Braves that stretched Shaw's deficit to 24-13. UNCP would then go on to score one more touchdown at the 5:51 mark which boosted the lead 31-13 heading into the final quarter.
With 12:38 remaining, Downing found sophomore wide receiver Raymond Green, Jr. (Durham, NC) for 24-yards and a Bears first down that led to a one yard rush for junior running back Rahim Winston, Jr. (Durham, NC) to score, cutting the deficit 31-19 but the Braves never relinquished after a 35-yard reception from Rick Mack that sealed the win for UNC Pembroke.
Shaw will return to action and begin conference play next Saturday, Sept. 24 against Bowie State at Durham County Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.
For the most up-to-date information on Shaw football and its 11 varsity sport teams, please visit shawbears.com.