CHARLOTTE, N.C.- The Johnson C. Smith University football team defeats Virginia State University 28-21 on Saturday afternoon inside Irwin Belk Complex to open conference play. JCSU improves to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in the CIAA; while the Trojans drop 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the conference.
The Golden Bulls started fast by putting up 21 points in the first quarter and held off the VSU comeback for a victory. Sophomore quarterback Keahn Wallace (Homestead, FL) capped the opening JCSU 10-play, 72 yard offensive drive with a one yard scramble into the end zone. Wallace later completed TD receptions to junior receiver Chris Patterson (Penelton, SC) and senior receiver Matthew Jeffries (Gainesville, GA) to give the Golden Bulls a 21-0 advantage.
Virginia State did not score their first points until the third quarter of the contest. LaMonta Green connected with Lemont Lewis for an 18 yard touchdown catch with 11:22 on the clock in the third. JCSU answered with a masterful 15-play, 85 yard touchdown drive that lasted close to six and half minutes. Wallace found freshman receiver Fred Scott (Stone Mountain, GA) on a seven yard lob to the left corner of the end zone for the score.
The Trojans forced Wallace to slightly lose his composure at the top of the fourth quarter. On 3rd and seven at the VSU 47, Wallace had a pass intercepted by Sean Smith and returned 58 yards for a touchdown. JCSU still held a 28-14 lead with around 13 minutes remaining.
VSU produced the final points of the contest with less than a minute left. Jarred Battle checked in at quarterback after an injury to LaMonta Green. Battle completed a five yard TD pass to William Mitchell with 47 seconds on the clock. However, the Golden Bulls recovered the VSU onside kick to clutch a conference win.
“We made some big plays and put together some strong drives in this one; we have to eliminate the turnovers, but we're moving in the right direction,” said JCSU head coach Steven Aycock. “It's good to get back to back wins and hopefully build momentum, but we still have to focus on playing four strong quarters of football.”
Wallace completed 31 of 43 passes for a season-high 338 yards and three touchdowns. But he also had two interceptions. Jeffries led the team with seven catches for 87 yards, followed by Scott with six receptions and 79 yards; both caught touchdowns. Seven different receivers made a catch; six of them had multiple receptions.
Senior tailback Dedrick Anderson (Winston-Salem, NC) produced a season-high 105 yards on the ground off 19 carries. Junior tailback Denzel Hartley (Lithonia, GA) returned from a rib injury to pick up 30 yards off 10 attempts.
Senior safeties Chris Sams (Decatur, GA) and Jerren Banks (College Park, GA) each recorded an interception in the game. Senior linebacker Darryl Rankin (Charlotte, NC) racked up a team-high seven tackles, including four solo.
JCSU will now return to the road and face Lincoln University out of the Northern Division. The Golden Bulls challenge the 0-4 Lions on Saturday, September 29th at 1:00 p.m. at the Lincoln University Stadium.