By Gregory Goings
SALEM, Va. – No. 11 Bowie State University captured its second consecutive CIAA Football Championship on Saturday afternoon, defeating Fayetteville State University by a score of 23-7 and remaining undefeated at 11-0. This also marks the second season the Bulldogs have defeated the Broncos for the conference crown.
Junior Ja’rome Johnson (Washington, D.C.), the CIAA Offensive Player of the Year led the victorious Bulldogs offensively with 127 rushing yards 0n 12 carries (one touchdown) and added 90 passing yards, going 9-of-21. However, the Bowie State defense continued to dominate its opponents. Sophomore Joshua Pryor (Baltimore, Md.) led the attack, tying for game-high tackle honors with 10 total tackles (six solo), which included three sacks (21 yards) and 4.5 tackles for a loss (26 yards). For his efforts, Pryor was named Bowie State’s Player of the Game.
Fayetteville State redshirt sophomore Richard Latimer (Charlotte, N.C.) was the top offensive producer for the Broncos, completing 23-of-39 passes for a game-high 196 yards, but was sacked five times. Senior Stevie Green (Washington, N.C.) led the Fayetteville State ground game with 53 yards on 18 carries.
Bowie State senior Juantez McRae (Baltimore, Md.) forced a Fayetteville State fumble on the opening possession of the game and sophomore Demetri Morsell (Upper Marlboro, Md.) returned it for a 33-yard touchdown at the 14:14 mark of the first quarter to give the Bulldogs the early 7-0 lead. Redshirt senior Adam Gillis Jr. (Lanham, Md.) burst up the gut for a 16-yard touchdown with 8:47 to go in first quarter to push the Bowie State lead to 14-0.
Both teams were fairly equal in total yards in the first half of play, as Fayetteville State tallied 170 yards (55 rushing and 115 passing) while Bowie State accounted for 165 yards (128 rushing and 37 passing).
Fayetteville State junior Donshell Jetton (Mooresville, N.C.) trimmed the Bowie State lead down to 14-7 at 2:07 mark of the third quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run, capping off a 7-play, 41-yard drive.
Senior Gene Carson II (Accokeek, Md.) booted a 29-yard field goal with 6:17 left in the contest to give Bowie State a little breathing room at 17-7 over Fayetteville State.
The Bulldogs defense made another big play when needed when McRae intercepted a pass at the Fayetteville State 19-yard line and returned it for what everyone thought was a Bowie State touchdown. However, during the return, the Bulldogs were penalized 15 yards for unsporting conduct and began first and ten at the FSU 29-yard line. On Bowie State first play after the penalty, Johnson scampered in from 29-yards out to set the final margin of 23-7.
Bowie State held a slight advantage in total yards in the contest, outgaining Fayetteville State 330 to 318, held a 33:40 to 26:20 time of possession advantage and the Broncos tallied 21 total first downs compared to 15 for the Bulldogs.
Fayetteville State finishes the season with an overall record of 8-3. The Bulldogs will now await Sunday’s (Nov. 17) 5 p.m. NCAA Selection Show to see where Bowie State will play its opening round game and who the opponent will be.