HBCU Football Wrap-Up-Week 14
Written by Roscoe Nance, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com Sunday, 02 December 2012 20:14
Unbeaten Winston-Salem State, the No. 1 seed in its region, is in the Division II playoff semifinals for the second consecutive year thanks to a dramatic goal line stand in the final minute Saturday that preserved a 21-17 home victory against Indiana University (Pa.).
The Rams (13-0), champions of the CIAA, will host West Texas A&M Saturday with the winner advancing to the Division II Championship Game Dec. 15 in Florence, Ala., where it will play the winner of the Valdosta State-Minnesota State-Mankato State semifinal contest.
“It’s gratifying to be back in the semifinals,’’ Winston-Salem coach Connell Maynor said. “We had high expectations all season getting back (to the semifinals) and getting revenge. It shows how hard the guys worked. It’s hard to go undefeated and make it back to the semifinal. It’s hard just getting back to the playoffs. We don’t take it for granted.’’
Winston-Salem lost to Wayne State 21-14 in the 2011 semifinals. The Rams are the only team among last season’s final four to make the playoffs this year.
Winston-Salem took the lead with 3:51 when quarterback Kameron Smith connected with Ricky Rozier on a one-yard touchdown pass. Smith, who suffered a shoulder injury in the first half of the CIAA Championship Game three weeks and hadn’t played since, replaced Anthony Carrothers when the Rams got the ball after the Crimson Hawks went ahead for the first time in the game, 17-14.
“Anthony kept grabbing his shoulder and he played good for the first three quarters,” Maynor said, explaining his decision to change quarterbacks. “I just felt like I needed to go with Smith. I felt like the team needed a boost and we were down, and I knew if I put Smith back in it would get the crowd back in the game. It picked everybody up and that was the shot in the arm I was looking for.”
Smith’s heroics set the stage for a valiant comeback effort by IUP. Quarterback Mike Box completed four consecutive passes for 73 yards, giving the Crimson Hawks (12-2) first-and-goal at the 10-yard line with less than a minute remaining in the game. On fourth-and-goal from the five, Box looked for Tyler Dummermuth in the end zone. However, defensive end Casey Davenport, who put heavy pressure on Box, hit the quarterback’s arm just as he released the ball, and the pass fell harmlessly to the ground short of its mark.
“The defense bent but it didn’t break,’’ Maynor said. “I’ve been saying all year the defense is underrated. But you know how the media and fans are. They want to talk to the people who score the touchdowns.’
The game featured an intriguing matchup between the Crimson Hawks’ defense, ranked No. 1 in Division II while allowing 257.8 yards a game, and Winston-Salem’s high-powered offense, which averages 472.1 yards a game and is No. 17 in the nation. The Crimson Hawks held the Rams in check relatively well, limiting them to 29 yards on the ground and 338 total yards; 165 of Winston-Salem’s total yards came on three plays – 62 on a screen pass to Jameze Massey that setup a one-yard touchdown run by Rozier, 48 on a pass from starting quarterback Anthony Carrothers to Jahuann Butler and 45 on a Hail Mary touchdown pass from Carrothers to Kenny Patterson that gave the Rams a 14-7 halftime lead.
Carrothers, who transferred from Grambling State two years ago, threw for 279 yards while completing 10 of 25 attempts.
Winston-Salem’s defensive unit, not as heralded as the Rams’ offense, more than held its own. In addition to the goal line stand that won the game, the Rams forced three turnovers and sacked he quarterback twice.
“It just shows that our guys depend on each other, they had a little adversity but there’s nothing you have to choke over so they just kept fighting,” Maynor said. “I don’t think one of our guys ever believed we were going to lose this football game.”
Elizabeth City State 28, Tuskegee 13: The Vikings continued the CIAA’s recent dominance of its Pioneer Bowl matchup against the SIAC with a stunning victory at A.J. McClung Stadium in Columbus, Ga. The loss for the Golden Tigers ended their 10-game winning streak, which started after a 7-6 loss to Alabama A&M Labor Day weekend. It was the third consecutive win for the CIAA in the only NCAA-sanctioned bowl game involving two HBCUs. The SIAC leads the series 9-5. Tuskegee was making an unprecedented 10th Pioneer Bowl appearance. The Golden Tigers are 7-3 in the Pioneer Bowl, including a 21-6 victory against Elizabeth City in Pioneer Bowl XI. Pioneer Bowl XIV was highlighted by the duel between two of the top running backs in black college football, Tuskegee All-American Derrick Washington, who entered the game ranked No. 8 in Division II with 1,494 rushing yards, and Daronte McNeill, who had 1,108 yards for Elizabeth City. Washington, a transfer from the University of Missouri and a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, which goes to the top player in Division II, gained 185 yards on 20 carries; McNeill finished with 148 yards on 19 carries, and he scored a pair of touchdowns. Each player was named his team’s MVP for the game. The Vikings (8-4), runners-up in the CIAA to unbeaten Winston-Salem State – a No.1 seed in the Division II playoffs – subdued the SIAC champion Golden Tigers (10-2) with an opportunistic brand of football. The Golden Tigers, who were making an unprecedented 10th appearance, amassed 514 yards total offense. But they were guilty of five turnovers, two of which Elizabeth City converted into 14 points. Tuskegee went ahead 6-0 in the second quarter when backup quarterback Rashard Burkette scored on a 19-yard run. The Golden Tigers maintained their lead until Elizabeth City quarterback Tyrell Hougton and wide out Antonio Huff hooked up on a nine-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter. Tuskegee was poised to regain the lead as the fourth quarter started. On the first play of the period, Washington set sail for what appeared to be a 63-yard touchdown run. However, as he neared the goal line, he slowed up, and Vikings cornerback Josh Brooks stripped the ball. The ball rolled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback. Elizabeth City got the ball at its 20-yard line and drove 80 yards for a touchdown for a 14-6 lead. McNeill scored on a 44-yard run on the Vikings’ next possession for a 21-6 Elizabeth City lead with 4:38 remaining the game. Tuskegee countered with a six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Nared to Marquel Gardner and trailed 21-13 with 2:48 left. The Golden Tigers got the ball back at their 37 with 2:01 showing on the clock. They drove to Elizabeth City’s 22 yard in seven play, and then disaster struck. Brooks stepped in front of Nared pass and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown that sealed the victory for the Vikings.
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