ELIZABETH CITY, NC – Shaw rallied to tie the contest at 21-21 in the third quarter after a 16-yard pass from junior quarterback Darron Downing (Portsmouth, VA) to junior running back Rahim Winston, Jr. (Durham, NC) and had an opportunity to tie the game again in the fourth quarter but crucial turnovers in the second half and the Vikings defense held on when it counted to send the Bears football team to its fifth consecutive heartbreaking loss, this time 28-21 on Saturday evening at Roebuck Stadium. The Vikings improve to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the CIAA while Shaw slips to 0-5 overall and 0-2 in league action.
Despite the loss, today's contest showed much improvement and a bright future for the Bears football program that has 35 freshman listed active on the roster.
The Bears kept the game in reach responding to each one of the Vikings touchdown's except for a 14-7 disadvantage in the third quarter that saw Shaw account for two turnovers, including one that resulted in a interception and touchdown for ECSU that would be the turning point in the contest.
After not making the plays they needed in weeks one, two and three to earn wins, this time Shaw made plenty throughout the contest, including the third and fourth quarter, again showing continued growth. Downing posted his first 100-yard game with 193 yards on 19-of-28 pass completions and a pair of touchdowns. Downing also rushed for 37 yards on 18 carries, while sophomore wide receiver Raymond Green, Jr. (Durham, NC) had four receptions for 50 yards and junior receiver Trevante Long (Greenbelt, MD) also had four receptions for 37 yards.
Defensively, senior linebacker Keelan Jones (Kansas City, MO) registered a game-high 12 tackles (5 solo, 7 assisted) and one tackle-for-loss. Junior safety Arkel McCarter (Brooklyn, NY) and freshman linebacker Devon Hunt (Rockingham, NC) tallied eight and seven tackles, respectively.
Shaw's defense, which struggled to contain electric Vikings quarterback Daquan Neal for long stretches, settled in during the fourth quarter but somehow Neal managed to score the game's final touchdown on nine plays for 56 yards with 6:43 remaining to give the Vikings the lead at 28-21.
The Bears were forced to punt the next possession down after failing to move the chains offensively as ECSU was able to run time off the clock to claim the victory.
As a team, Shaw produced 274 yards of total offense, including 193 through the air and 81 on the ground. The Vikings tallied 361 yards of total offense, in addition to 201 passing yards and 160 rushing yards.
Neal finished with 21-for-27 in pass completions for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Jamie Williams rushed for 62 yards on seven carries, while Victor Tabbs and James Roe both had four receptions for 55 yards apiece. Defensively, Jaquil Johnson led the Vikings with nine tackles and Jerrell Timmons contributed eight tackles, five tackle-for-loss, one sack and one fumble recover.
The Bears will return to Durham County Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 8 for divisional play against Fayetteville State University at 1 p.m.
For the most up-to-date information Shaw football and its 11 varsity sport teams, visit shawbears.com.