RALEIGH, NC – The Shaw University football program closed its 2016 slate with a 35-32 victory over cross-town rival Saint Augustine's University in a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) contest and the first annual Raleigh Classic sponsored by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance on Saturday afternoon at the George Williams Athletic Complex.
The victory snaps a two-game losing skid against the Falcons as the Bears conclude the season 2-8 overall, 2-5 in the CIAA and 2-3 within the Southern Division. SAU falls to 2-8 overall, 2-5 in conference play and 1-4 in the division.
Although statistics showed the Bears with a total offense of 309 yards compared to the Falcons 460 yards, Shaw got off to a fast start and season-best four touchdowns in the first quarter sparked by a nine yard pass from junior quarterback Darron Downing (Portsmouth, VA) to sophomore wide receiver Raymond Green, Jr. (Durham, NC) for the games first score of the contest at the 11:31.
The next possession on defense for Shaw, senior defensive back DaShawn Harris (Durham, NC) caught an interception at the 29 yard line and put the Bears in great scoring position which led to Downing connecting with freshman receiver Christian Folston (Como, NC) for his first career touchdown and a 14-0 lead over SAU with 6:33 on the game clock.
With great momentum from the Bears defense, Shaw's senior defensive back Bruce Parker, Jr. (New York, NY) earned a pick-six for 70 yards as his touchdown stretched the Bears lead 21-0 with 5:14 remaining in the first quarter before Downing rushed for 76 yards in the end zone that gave Shaw a commanding 28-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
SAU scored its first touchdown in the second stanza after Lenwood Joyner ran for 31 yards in the end zone. The Falcons failed to complete a two-point conversion as the score showed 28-6 in favor of Shaw with 11:40 left. Two plays and two interceptions later, the Falcons cut the Bears lead 28-12 with another score before a touchdown from junior receiver Karocqus Jefferson (Williamston, SC) gave Shaw a 35-12 lead at intermission.
What has been a struggle for the Bears all season was the third quarter, Shaw allowed SAU to get back into the game when the Falcons scored 14 unanswered points for the quarter. SU had a nine-point lead in the final quarter but SAU Julius Murphy found Charles Edmond for a 39 yard touchdown, cutting the lead to just three points (35-32) with 25 seconds remaining. The Falcons would not complete the two-point conversion as the Bears took the ball over at the Falcons 46 yard line for the win.
Individually, Downing completed 16-of-25 passes for 151 yards and three touchdowns in addition to 14 carries for 121 rushing yards. Folston led the receiving unit with two receptions for 75 yards and one touchdown while junior receiver Trevante Long (Greenbelt, MD) had seven catches for 44 yards.
Defensively, senior linebacker Keelan Jones (Kansas City, MO) recorded a game-high 15 total tackles, including 11 solo, four assisted and two tackle for losses. Senior defensive lineman Venson Jones, Jr. (Newport News, VA) added six tackles and Parker, Jr. contributed five tackles.
For more information on Shaw football and its 11 varsity sports, visit shawbears.com.