BOWIE, Md. - The 18th ranked Bowie State Bulldogs did not disappoint the homecoming crowd on Saturday afternoon and blew out the Chowan Hawks 64-17 to remain unbeaten at 6-0 (3-0 CIAA) and opened CIAA Northern Division play at 1-0.
The Bulldogs amassed a season-high 569 yards of total offense with junior quarterback Ja'rome Johnson (Washington, D.C) leading the attack with a career-high 193 rushing yards (3 TD's) to go along with 97 passing yards (3 TD's). Freshman Victor Olayinka (Glenarden, Md.) led Bowie State in receiving yards with 53 on two catches that included a 37-yard touchdown pass.
The Bulldogs duo of redshirt freshman Jonathan Ross (Waldorf, Md.) and senior John Johnson (Washington, D.C.) tallied six tackles apiece to lead the Bulldogs defense.
Bowie State's opening drive saw Johnson connect with Olayinka for a 37-yard pass and catch down to the Chowan 38-yard line. The Bulldogs drove to the Hawks 10-yard line, but the Hawks defense would hold BSU to a 27-yd field goal from senior Gene Carson that put BSU in front 3-0.
On the next drive for Chowan (1-5, 0-3 CIAA, 0-1 North), Deshaun Wethington (Suffolk, Va.) recorded his first carry in nearly three weeks with a gain of nine yards. Wethington would add a first down run of 12 yards on his second carry. Bryce Witt (Sutherland, Va.) found Samuel Dunn (Suffolk, Va.) for a gain of eight yards on fourth down to keep the drive alive. Witt would find Torrance Brumfield (Alta Dena, Calif.) and Adrian McNeil (Charleston, S.C.) on back-to-back plays to move into the BSU redzone. Witt would call his own number from five yards out to score to take the lead at 7-3.
Once again, the Hawks' defense stepped up as Connor O'Brien (Greenville, N.C.) picked off a Johnson pass and returned it 55 yards down to the BSU 8-yard line. Following a penalty, CU's Wethington punched the ball down to the 4-yard line before Jackson Brooks (Elon, N.C.) connected from 23 yards out to give the Hawks a 10-3 lead.
Bowie State would get a big return by redshirt freshman Raymond Boone (Landover, Md.) called back on a holding penalty. Johnson would get most of that yardage back on a run of 46 yards on BSU's next play from scrimmage. Bowie State would trim the deficit to 10-9 on 16-yard touchdown reception by Olayinka at the 13:53 mark of the second quarter.
The Bulldogs defense held on Chowan's next possession and Bowie State responded with a 6-play, 74-yard drive drive to regain the lead 16-10. Redshirt senior Adam Gillis Jr. (Lanham, Md.) punched it in from 10 yards out at the 9:08 mark.
The Hawks' next drive would turn the ball over on downs and BSU's Calil Wilkens rushed for a 3-yard touchdown, capping off an 8-play, 66-yard drive to push its lead to 23-10.
Bowie State would tack on another score before the half converting on a fourth-and-long, 30-10. The score was setup on a fake, 51-yard field goal with redshirt junior holder Reicardo Smith (Fort Washington, Md.) tossing a 31 yard pass the senior DuShon David (Washington), setting the Bulldogs up with a first and 10 at the Chowan 3-yard line. Johnson connected with redshirt senior Geordan Clark (White Plains, Md.) for six more points.
Bowie State would use a 56-yard rush by Wilkens to set the Bulldogs in perfect position at the Chowan 19-yard line. Four plays later, Johnson rushed for an 11-yard score that extended the Bulldogs lead to 37-10 at the 9:51 mark of the third quarter.
The stingy Bulldogs defense would hold once again on the next Hawks possession and found paydirt via a 57-yard scamper by Johnson, pushing the Bowie State lead to 43-10. The scoring drive was setup when sophomore Demetri Morsell (Upper Marlboro, Md.) intercepted a Witt pass.
Bowie State padded its already comfortable lead on Johnson's third rushing touchdown of the afternoon, this from 40 yards to make the score 50-10 with 3:10 left in the quarter. The Bulldogs would put seven more points on scoreboard less than three minutes later on a Johnson to senior Derrick Kittrell (Baltimore, Md.) 29-yard pass, catch and score and 57-10 advantage.
Chowan's Wethington would break the 100-yard mark with a 49-yard touchdown run at the 12:15 mark of the fourth quarter to close the gap slightly to 57-17.
BSU redshirt freshman Jordan Carter (Bryans Road, Md.) recovered a Chowan fumble and returned it 21 yards down to the Hawks' 9-yard line. Four plays later redshirt freshman Elisha McDonald (Greenbelt, Md.) would score his second touchdown of the season, pounding in from three yards out to account for the final margin of 64-17.
Wetherington led Chowan on the ground with 161 yards on 21 carries and Witt threw for 136 yards, completing 13-of-24 passes but was intercepted three times and sacked four times.
The Bulldogs will play in front of nationally televised audience for the second time this season next Saturday (October 19), as Bowie State faces Virginia State in the Trojans' Homecoming game. Kickoff in VSU's Rogers Stadium will be 2 p.m.