By: Christopher Streeter, VSU Sports Information
Ettrick, VA – Returning home after a long stretch of away games, the Trojans of Virginia State University hosted their first CIAA conference opponent of the season, Shaw University. The Trojans were seeking their first home win of the 2012 season, but came up short 16-6.
The opening quarter started off slow for both offenses. Defensively, both teams made it difficult for either side to have any significant offensive production. VSU’s defensive back Sean Smith (Rs.- Jr./ Atlanta, GA) recovered a fumble forced by linebacker Victor Kidd (Sr./ Washington, DC) and returned the fumble deep into the Bear’s territory. Due to penalties and tough defense by Shaw, Virginia State was unable to capitalize on the turnover. The Trojans collected 47 total yards (36 rushing, 11 passing) and the Bears had 60 total yards (17 rushing, 43 passing) in the first quarter. VSU’s Lamont Britt led the charge with 27 yards in the first quarter on seven rushes, but the quarter concluded with both teams deadlocked at 0-0.
The Bears controlled the momentum of the second quarter with a mixture of rushes and passes. Shaw ran 26 plays and collected 60 yards in the second quarter, while Virginia State ran nine plays for 26 yards. Late in the quarter, Shaw put together a drive going the length of the field, inside the Trojans 5-yard line. The Trojans’ defense protected the end zone and came up with three straight goal line stands. The drive was closed out with a crushing hit delivered in the backfield by linebacker Victor Kidd turning the ball over on downs. The Trojans gained possession on their own 2-yard line, but a breakdown in the offensive line allowed Shaw to penetrate and force a VSU safety. Shaw’s Oscar Petty scored the first points of the game, recording a safety to put the Bears ahead of the Trojans 2-0 with 11:57 in the second quarter.
At the half, the score remained 2-0 with Shaw leading the Trojans. VSU held the Shaw offense to 120 total yards through two quarters with no touchdowns. VSU quarterback, Jarred Battle (Sr./Norfolk, VA) had a rough time facing the Bears defense held to 34 total yards through the air.
VSU wide out Dion Futch (Jr./ Hampton, VA), opened up the second half with a 33-yard kickoff return, giving the Trojans great field position near midfield. Running back Lamont Britt carried a bulk of the load for the Trojans with seven rushes for 35yards in the third quarter. Shaw went to their running game led by Marquise Grizzle. The freshman hid behind the Shaw offensive line attacking the Trojans defense for the remainder of the quarter. Grizzle and the Bears collected 57yards on the ground and rushed for an 8-yard touchdown at the 5:58 mark in the third quarter. VSU ran 17 plays and collected 69yards. Defensively, they allowed 121 yards in the third quarter and were unable to score, trailing the Bears 9-0.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Trojans offense finally began to show life. Quarterback Jarred Battle led the attack, completing passes to four different receivers. Futch caught two passes and Gene Holloman, Jr. (So./Virginia Beach, VA) caught a 17-yard pass. It was evident that the Trojan defense was extremely tired, spending the majority of the game on the field. Shaw ran their offense for 11:40 throughout the fourth quarter, compared to 3:30 from Virginia State. Midway through the fourth quarter, Shaw capped off a long drive with a second rushing touchdown from Grizzle. The score at this point was Shaw 16-0. With a little over five minutes left in the game, Virginia State began to execute their no-huddle offense ran by Battle.
The Trojans finally scored on a 12-yard fade route from Battle to Ja’von Smallwood (Fr./ Virginia Beach, VA) in the red zone. Virginia State was unable to convert on a two point conversion attempt. Battle threw for 71yards in the final quarter, but the Bears still led 16-6 with 4:30 left. Shaw’s offense was able to hold on to their double-digit lead and hand the Trojans their second straight CIAA conference loss of the season.
Defensively, linebacker Bryce Willoughby (Sr./ Fort Washington, MD) led the Trojans with 8 tackles (7 solo, 1 assisted). Defensive back Virginior Loiseau (Jr./ Fort Meyers, FL) and linebacker Brandon Robinson (So./ Mechanicsville, VA) had six tackles each. Offensively, Battle completed a team season-high 19 completions on 32 attempts for 137 total yards. Smallwood led the receivers with a team season-high 8 receptions for 35 yards and his fourth touchdown of the season. Britt rushed for 61yards on 15 carries, averaging 4.1yards per carry in the backfield for VSU.
Virginia State’s (1-4, 0-2) football team will host Elizabeth City State University in their next game at home on Saturday Oct. 6th at 1:00 p.m. in Ettrick, VA. This will be a national television game and also will serve as Military Appreciation Day/Think Pink Game.