Bowie State University has cast one of the top football teams in the Central Interscholastic Athletic Association ever since Damon Wilson took over as head coach in 2009. And according to the experts, this year should prove no different for the Bulldogs.

Coaches and sports information directors of the CIAA recently predicted that BSU would finish second overall in the 2011 conference season. The Bulldogs finished second in the CIAA North in 2010 with a 6-1 conference record, just a couple overall wins behind Virginia State University for the CIAA Championship berth.

Coach Wilson is hoping his third season as coach is the charm, as he returns 95 percent of his offensive unit from last year, including senior Clifton Budd, who set several school passing records after converting from receiver to quarterback. Budd’s dual threat ability to both run and pass combined with the strong play of running back Tariq Jones makes Bowie State tough to stop offensively. BSU Sports Information Director Greg Goings said the team’s offense should be just as explosive as it was a year ago, when they blew out Chowan University, 59-19, in the season finale.

“Bowie State should be pretty explosive and will have a lot of players returning that now have a grasp of the offense,” Goings stated. “Bowie State will be young at some positions on the defensive side of the ball, but expect the returning veterans to lead without any let down in productivity.”

Some of the defensive leaders mentioned include senior linebacker Delano Johnson and defensive back Kenneth Turner, the only two Bulldogs selected to the CIAA preseason defensive team. Johnson broke a school record with seven blocked punts/field goals in 2010.

Bowie State will open the season on road game against Assumption College in Worcester, Mass. The Bulldogs will return to Bowie State for their season-opener against Benedict College on Sept. 10.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor