Bulldogs Slip by Hawks for Crucial Northern Division Win
(MURFREESBORO, NC) After dropping two straight league games, Bowie State could ill-afford to lose another conference game if they wanted to stay in the CIAA Northern Division title hunt. Another loss appeared to be in the cards after the Bulldogs watched a 28-10 third quarter lead evaporate into a 31-28 deficit late in the fourth as Chowan scored 21 unanswered points. A momentum-stealing play by tailback Keith Brown helped the Bulldogs snatch back the victory from the jaws of defeat. Brown’s 57-yard touchdown run with :39 seconds left in the game sealed the deal as Bowie State battled back to take an important 35-31 win over Chowan Saturday in Murfreesboro.
Brown, a redshirt sophomore, rushed for a career-high 132 yards and two touchdowns as the Bulldogs (4-2, 1-2) snapped a two-game losing streak and stayed in the thick of the CIAA Northern Division race.
Chowan (3-3, 2-1) took an early 7-0 lead when quarterback Cameron Stover capped an 11-play, 72-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown run at the 1:20 mark of the first quarter. Bowie State tied the game at 7-7 on their next possession when quarterback Jared Johnston connected with Khari Lee for a five-yard touchdown to cap a five-play, 59-yard drive. The touchdown was set up by a 34-yard run by Brown that moved the ball down to the Hawks’ five-yard line. Chowan was forced to punt on their next possession and the Bulldogs got the ball back at their own 16-yard line. Huge runs of 24 and 46 yards by tailback Corwin Acker took the ball down to the CU four yard line. Two plays later, Brown rumbled in for the score from four yards out. Mario Aviles-Diaz booted the PAT and the Bulldogs took a 14-7 lead that would hold up till halftime.
A 49-yard run by Johnston opened the scoring in the third quarter and stretched the Bulldogs’ lead to 21-7. A 27-yard field goal by Alex Noboa helped Chowan trim the lead to 21-10 with 12:13 left in the third quarter. Johnston’s second rushing touchdown of the day, a one-yarder, and Aviles-Diaz’s extra-point pushed the lead to 28-10 and the Bulldogs appeared to be in control of the game with just under six minutes left in the third quarter. But Chowan would go on a 21-0 run over the next thirteen minutes to seize the lead and the momentum. J.R. Williams and Adrian Ferns both scored on one-yard runs and Stover tossed a seven-yard touchdown to Damian Ellis as the Hawks fought back to take a 31-28 lead over the stunned Bulldogs with 6:45 left in the game.
The two teams exchanged punts on their next two possessions. Bowie State got the ball back for their final possession at their own 22-yard line and trailing by three points with 2:49 left in the game, setting the stage for Brown’s heroics. Johnston completed a seven-yard pass to Brown and then scrambled for a seven-yard gain to move the ball to the BSU 36. Following a five-yard false start penalty against the Bulldogs, Johnston connected with Khari Lee for a 12-yard gain to put the ball at the BSU 43-yard line. On the next play, Brown broke loose and 57 yards later, the Bulldogs had regained the lead. Aviles-Diaz added the extra point and Bowie State had a 35-31 lead with :39 seconds left and held on for the important Northern Division win.
Johnston finished with 227 total yards (164 yards passing, 63 yards rushing) and accounted for three touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 passing) as the Bulldogs finished with 442 yards of total offense. In addition to Brown’s big day running the ball, Acker added 83 yards on just five carries- a 16.6 yard per carry average. Stover passed for 311 yards and scored two touchdowns (1 passing, 1 rushing) as the Hawks piled up 536 yards of offense in a losing effort. Ryan Nolan had 130 receiving yards on nine catches and Elliot Smalls rushed for 127 yard for CU. Eric Walters and Antoine Young each had 11 tackles to lead Bowie State’s defense. Young also added an interception. Chowan’s defense was led by Dakoria Desamme’s eight tackles.
The Bowie State will host Virginia State University for Homecoming next Saturday, while Chowan squares off against Virginia Union in Murfreesboro.
Bowie State 35 Chowan Hawks 31
Saint Augustine’s 32 Livingstone 27
Shaw 45 Fayetteville State 28
Virginia State 28 Elizabeth City State 17
Virginia Union 61 Lincoln 13
Winston-Salem St. 63 Johnson C. Smith 7