Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) Vikings laid claim to the CIAA Northern Division title, defeating Bowie State University (BSU) Bulldogs 23-12 on Oct. 22. The loss eliminates Bowie State from a chance at playing in the conference championship game, and evens their record at 4-4 overall and 3-3 in the CIAA.

Bowie State totaled 374 yards on offense, including 204 rushing yards and 170 passing, while Elizabeth City State accumulated only 314 yards of total offense, 219 rushing and 95 passing. But the Bulldogs, the CIAA’s most-penalized team, shot themselves in the foot again as they were flagged 12 times for 82 yards. Elizabeth City State was not immune from the penalty bug either, penalized 10 times for 84 yards.

Elizabeth City State’s Kevin Miller booted a 24-yard field goal with 5:32 left in the second quarter to tie the game at 3-3. Elizabeth City then capitalized on a Bowie turnover and DaRonte McNeill hauled in a sideline pass from Creven Powell, scoring a 33-yard touchdown. Miller converted the extra point to take a 10-3 advantage. The touchdown was set up when Justin Beatty intercepted a pass by Bowie State junior Tyrae Reid Jr. Reid returned the interception 33 yards to the end zone, but a holding penalty and an unsportsmanlike penalty negated the score.

Bowie State cut Elizabeth City’s lead to 10-6 with 10:19 remaining in the third quarter following a 27-yard field goal, capping off a 10 play, 67-yard drive. But McNeill increased the ECSU lead to 16-6 on an eight-yard touchdown with 12:20 remaining in the game.

BSU’s Reid was picked off for the second time, this time at the Elizabeth City four-yard line by Josh Brooks, who took the ball all the way back to Bowie State’s 10-yard line. Two-plays later, McNeill found the end zone again, and Miller’s extra point pushed ECSU ahead 23-6 with 10:10 left to play.

With 8:52 left on the clock, BSU’s Reid connected with junior Douglass McNeil III for a 23-yard touchdown trimming the BSU deficit to 23-12.

Elizabeth City State (6-2, 4-1 CIAA) was led on offense by McNeill’s 159 rushing yards and Powell’s 95 passing yards. Dewitt Dixon paced the Vikings defense with 10 total tackles
Senior Tariq Jones led the Bowie State offense with 87 rushing yards on 15 carries and fellow senior James Proctor recorded a team-high 100 all-purpose yards. Defensively, junior Bekewele Amadi and sophomore Eric Walters led the Bulldogs with 18 and 9 tackles respectively.

“The guys played hard…we turned the ball over and didn’t capitalize on our red zone opportunities,” said BSU third-year head coach Damon Wilson. “Defensively, I think we played well enough to win a game but didn’t execute when we needed to and lost to a good Elizabeth City State football team.”

Bowie State will finally wrap up its six-week road swing on Oct. 29, traveling to Shepherdstown, West, Virginia to take on the Shepherd University Rams in a non-conference contest.


Greg Goings

Special to the AFRO