DURHAM, N.C. – With heavy winds and constant rain due to Hurricane Matthew, the Shaw University football team came up short to the visiting Fayetteville State University Broncos in a 7-6 defensive battle on Saturday afternoon.
The setback drops the Bears to 0-6 overall, 0-3 in the CIAA and 0-1 in the Southern Division. With the win, FSU earns its first win on the season with a 1-5 overall record, 1-2 in the league and 1-0 in the division.
Both teams went scoreless at the end of the first quarter but in the second frame, Shaw was able to get things going offensively after freshman quarterback Timothy Abbott (Washington, DC) found junior wide receiver Trevante Long (Greenbelt, MD) for 30 yards at the Broncos one yard line, following a one yard rush for sophomore Uriah Bethea (Upper Marlboro, MD) in the end zone with 2:19 left in the first half. Despite the Bears field goal attempt being blocked, Shaw was able to lead 6-0 at halftime.
In the third, a forced fumble by the Bears resulted in a Broncos turnover but Shaw would return the favor after a fumble of its own and FSU recovered at the 7:33 mark. That play led to a touchdown drive for the Broncos for 41 yards and seven plays, the PAT from kicker David Lamb was good as the Bears then trailed 7-6 at the end of the quarter.
Shaw had two opportunities to score in the fourth, including a first and goal but two incomplete passes to Long resulted in the Bears handing the ball over at the Broncos three yard line. After Shaw's defense forced FSU to punt, the Bears had one last chance to win but too much time ran off the clock in addition to another blocked field goal attempt sealed hope for the Bears chance.
Statistic-wise, FSU made more plays than the Bears down the stretch. Shaw tallied just 198 total offense, including 115 on the ground and 83 yards through the air, while the Broncos accounted for 207 total offense (149 rushing, 58 passing).
Bethea led the Bears on the ground with 17 carries for 84 yards and one touchdown, while Long finished the day with four receptions worth 71 yards. Abbott completed 6-for-14 passes for 75 yards, while junior quarterback Darron Downing (Portsmouth, VA) was 4-for-11 in pass completions for eight yards.
For Shaw defensively, freshman linebacker Devon Hunt (Rockingham, NC) had a game-high 14 tackles, three tackle for losses and one forced fumble. Senior linebacker Keelan Jones (Kansas City, MO) finished with 13 tackles, 2.5 tackle for losses and senior defensive lineman Dominique Hannibal (Chesapeake, VA) added 12 tackles and 2 tackle for losses to aid the effort.
Shaw will look ahead next weekend when the Bears travel to Livingstone College for a 1 p.m. CIAA Southern Division contest.
For more information on Shaw football and its 11 varsity sports, visit shawbears.com.