Elizabeth City State University’s (ECSU) Daronte McNeill and Petey Boone combined for 278 yard rushing and two scores as the Vikings held on to claim a 14-13 win over Bowie State University (BSU) in the BSU Bulldogs season finale on Nov. 3 in Bowie, Md.

Elizabeth City State ran 70 offensive plays from scrimmage, 65 on the ground. McNeill, a senior, finished with 44 touches for 177 yards, while Boone, a sophomore, went for 101 yards and accounted for the Vikings’ only scores of the afternoon, with first-half touchdown runs of 6 and 30 yards.

The Bulldogs (5-5 overall, 2-5 CIAA) cut into the Viking lead with a one-yard touchdown by quarterback senior Tyrae Reid, Jr. which capped a 3-play, 38 yard drive with 3:57 left in the first half. Reid completed 12-of-24 passes for 176 yards and one interception in his final game in a Bowie State uniform.

The Vikings then orchestrated a 10-play drive into BSU territory which stalled when Boone fumbled at the Bowie State 33-yard line with 43 seconds left in the half.
Two plays later, William Davis intercepted a Reid pass at the ECSU 26-yard line and returned it to the BSU 25.

The Vikings were set to attempt a 26-yard field goal with 3 seconds left in the half, but a mishandled snap was fumbled and recovered by BSU’s junior Quentin Walker. Walker then pitched a lateral to redshirt sophomore Darius Clair who rumbled 67 yards for the score. The Bulldogs attempted a 2-point conversion, but the pass failed.

Neither team would break the goal line in the second half, but Elizabeth City State’s ability to run the ball efficiently kept Bowie State’s offense off the field. In the fourth quarter alone the Vikings amassed 108 yards on 25 plays to just a five-play, 28 yard output by the Bulldogs. In the final 15 minutes the Vikings were 3-for-6 on third down and McNeill converted a crucial fourth and seven with 2:10 remaining to allow ECSU to run the clock out.

“We had opportunities… missed a [22 yard] field goal in the fourth quarter, didn’t execute an extra point attempt after a score and Elizabeth City State made plays when they had to”, said Bowie State head coach Damon Wilson.

Bowie State redshirt freshman Antoine Young was a beast on defense, racking up a Bulldogs school single-game record 21 tackles and a fumble recovery. Senior Bekwele Amadi and redshirt freshman Curtis Pumphrey recorded double-digit tackles as well, accounting for 13 and 11 respectively.

The Vikings defense was led by senior tackle Devon Price who had seven tackles, a sack and two tackles for a loss. Junior defensive back Nigel Rios picked up six tackles and two pass breakups and four other Elizabeth City State players recorded five tackles each.

Elizabeth City State (7-3 overall, 6-1 CIAA) will represent the CIAA Northern Division in the CIAA Championship Nov. 10 against the defending CIAA Champions, Winston-Salem State.

Greg Goings

Special to the AFRO