Oct 19, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The Shaw University offense - which has struggled at times this year - came alive for homecoming to the tune of a 498-yard, 45-point performance as the Bears downed Livingstone Saturday afternoon at Durham County Memorial Stadium.
With the win, the Bears improve to 4-3 on the season and evens their conference mark at 2-2. Livingstone falls to 2-5, 1-2 in the CIAA.
The win on homecoming day is the Bears first in three years after two straight losses. "It feels good, kind of getting that monkey off our back," said head coach Robert Massey of the homecoming win. "It feels real good. I thought we could have played better offensively and defensively, but we'll take the win."
It may be hard to imagine the offense topping their 498 yards - 214 on the ground and 284 through the air. The Bears converted all five drives into the red zone into points, and were three of four on fourth down attempts.
Massey, though, sees room for improvement, "Talentwise, we should put up more points. I just think we're that good. We should put up more points talentwise."
The Shaw defense gave up 298 yards, but held the Blue Bear offense to only 65 yards on the ground. They gave up 233 passing yards, but hauled in three interceptions, likely good enough to keep them among the top in the nation.
The Bears committed 12 penalties - many of them on defense - for 95 yards, and that's what Massey took exception to.
"Defensively, we kept drives alive with the dumb penalties, again. Roughing the passer - we don't practice that. That should never happen. We've got to be smarter. Once the quarterback throws the ball, we have to leave him alone. We've got to get better."
The Shaw faithful might have feared another homecoming letdown after Livingstone opened the game with an 11-play, 65-yard drive that ended when Drew Powell hit Avery Collins on a 12-yard pass that gave the Blue Bears a 7-0 lead.
Shaw answered with a scoring drive, but only for three points as the drive stalled on the Livingstone ten, leaving a relative chip shot for field goal kicker Andres Magallon, who nailed the kick to trim the Blue Bear lead to 7-3.
Both defenses stiffened, with three short drives divided between the two teams, but Darnell Evans broke free on a 27-yard punt return, giving Shaw outstanding field position at the Livingstone 34. Quinshon Odom completed two passes, then Marquise Grizzle got some strong blocking and broke left and scrambled the 12 yards into the end zone for a Shaw 10-7 lead with 1:03 left in the first quarter.
The majority of the second quarter was a defensive battle, highlighted by an interception by Darnell Evans - who leads Division II in picks - with neither team mounting a sustained drive until the final five minutes of the half.
In between short rushes for Grizzle, Odom completed four passes, including a 17 yarder to Kelvin Wagner in the end zone to give Shaw a 17-7 lead as the final seconds ticked off the clock in the first half.
Shaw started the second half as they'd ended the first - scoring. On the first offensive play of the half, Odom found Ta'Juan Brown, who broke free of tacklers and covered 50 yards for a touchdown and a 24-7 Shaw lead.
The defense held Livingstone to a three-and-out, then took over the ball on the Shaw 35. Over the next five minutes on the clock, the Bears chewed up yardage with only two plays of more than 10 yards. After a 16-yard pass completion to Tyrone Craig put the Bears on the doorstep of the goal line, it took four tries, but Odom finally got the touchdown on a keeper up the middle for a yard. This gave Shaw a 31-7 lead.
Livingstone responded with a drive of their own, culminating with a 36-yard pass from Drew Powell to Jalen Hendricks to trim the Shaw lead to 31-14.
As the fourth quarter opened, a botched punt put Livingstone back in good field position on the Shaw 19. It took only two plays for Powell to find Anthony Holland in the end zone, trimming the Shaw lead to ten points, 31-21.
With 12:30 left in the game, Shaw took possession of the ball and Grizzle powered the Bears down the field. Once the Bears were inside the Livingstone 20, Odom put the ball up twice, eventually finding Brown for another touchdown strike - this one for 15 yards.
Livingstone then started their own drive, but on the seventh play, Shaw's Chris Ellerbe jumped the pass route and pulled in the interception, giving the Bears back the ball with 6:10 remaining.
The intention may well have been to simply grind down the clock with a series of rushing plays on the next Shaw drive, but on the first play from scrimmage, Grizzle broke tackles and sprinted free of the defense, covering 74 yards for a Shaw touchdown. The Bears now led 45-21.
Ellerbe put an end to the next Livingstone drive with his second interception of the game, giving Shaw back the ball with five minutes left in the game. Neither team mounted a serious drive the rest of the way, leaving the final score 45-21 in Shaw's favor.
Grizzle finished the day with 161 yards on 30 attempts and two touchdowns. Odom was 20 for 30 with no interceptions for 284 yards and three touchdowns. Brown was the leading receiver with five catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, in addition to the three interceptions, the Shaw defensive backfield was stellar with Arthur Williams tallying nine tackles, including eight solo hits and two and a half tackles for a loss. Darius Moffett also had nine tackles, with four and a half tackles for a loss.
For Livingstone, Justin Forte was the leading rusher with 43 yards. Powell Finished with 221 yards on a 20-for-38 performance. He gave up two of the three interceptions. Hendricks was his top receiver with seven catches for 94 yards.
Kenneth White led the Blue Bears with nine solo tackles, including one tackle for a loss. Andrew Fox had eight solo tackles and a tackle for a loss.
Next week, the Bears return to the road, when they travel to Charlotte for a date with Johnson C. Smith. Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m. Shaw does not return home until November 9 when they host Saint Augustine's in the season finale at 1:00 p.m. at Durham County Memorial Stadium.