BOWIE, Md.–Bowie State University Bulldogs redshirt sophomore running back Keith Brown rushed for a game-high 120 yards and one touchdown, but Virginia State University (VSU) Trojans running back Lamont Britt ran for a 4-yard touchdown in overtime to spoil the Bulldogs Homecoming with a 26-20 victory.

Bowie State took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter when redshirt sophomore quarterback Jared Johnston teamed with junior receiver Prince Onuoha on a 9-yard scoring strike in the corner of the end zone with 8:58 left. The extra point by redshirt sophomore kicker Mario Diaz-Aviles was blocked.

Junior kicker Devonte Hunt scored Virginia State’s first points of the afternoon with 9:07 left to play in the second quarter on a 24-yard field goal.

VSU’s junior running back Bryan Jones pounded in from two yards out with 27 seconds left in the second quarter, shifting the advantage over to the Trojans, 10-6. Possession time in the first half of play was dominated by Virginia State, holding a 20:13 to 9:47 advantage.

Bowie State (4-3, 1-3 CIAA) regained the lead on its first possession of the third quarter on Johnston’s 46-yard pass to freshman receiver Maxie Stevens, putting the score at 13-10 Bulldogs.

Virginia State went three and out on their next possession and Bowie State took advantage of the opportunity, driving 64 yards in eight plays, capped off by a one yard score by Brown at the 6:19 mark of the third quarter and a 20-10 lead.

Virginia State’s Hunt booted a 30-yard field goal with 13:35 remaining in the third to cut the Bowie State lead down to 20-13.

Bowie State appeared to be in the driver’s seat with just over two minutes left in regulation. Faced with a fourth and 14 from the Virginia State 21 yard-line, the Bulldogs decided to attempt a 38-yard field goal. Unfortunately for Bowie State, the Diaz-Aviles kick was blocked by Virginia State ‘s Rontrelle Knockett, giving the Trojans a last chance.

Following two short completed passes, senior quarterback Jarred Battle connected with freshman receiver Ja’von Smallwood for 23 yards down to the Bowie State 25 yard-line. Battle then teamed up with receiver Jacob Kellam for a 25-yard touchdown. Hunt calmly added the extra point, tying the game at 20-20 with 1:02 left on the clock.

In the overtime period, Virginia State won the toss and elected to go on defense first. The BSU Bulldogs ran three plays and attempted a fake field goal on fourth and 11 with no success.

Virginia State’s Britt scampered 21 yards down the sideline on the Trojans first play of overtime and followed up with the winning 4-yard touchdown run.

Leading the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s (CIAA) Trojans on offense was Battle with a game-high 201 passing yards, completing 21-of-32 (two interceptions) and one touchdown. Battle’s top target was Jones with seven catches for 39 yards. The Virginia State defense was led by sophomore linebacker Brandon Robinson with team-high 11 tackles.

Virginia State (3-4, 2-2 CIAA) amassed 422 yards (221 rushing) of total offense while limiting Bowie State to 287 total yards (173 rushing).

Bowie State’s Johnston finished the afternoon with 114 passing yards, completing 11-of-24 (one interception) and two touchdowns. The Bulldogs’ defense was led by redshirt freshman linebacker Antoine Young and junior defensive back Delante White with a game-high 13 tackles each.

Bowie State hit’s the road for its next two divisional match-up’s, making stops at Virginia Union University Oct. 20 at 1 pm then head north to face Lincoln University of Pennsylvania on Oct. 27 at 1:30 pm.

Greg Goings

Special to the AFRO