Sept. 17, 2011
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - The Fayetteville State Broncos did everything they could to get back into the game after a rough start.
It wasn't enough.
Daronte McNeill rushed for 147 yards and two scores and Kevin Swain added 86 yards and a touchdown as Elizabeth City State downed the Broncos 42-21 on Saturday night at Luther "Nick" Jeralds Stadium.
After the Vikings raced out to a 14-0 lead, the Broncos fought back into the game by the midway point of the second quarter. Freshman quarterback Chauncey Concepcion (Charlotte, N.C.) came off the bench early in the period and immediately gave Fayetteville State (0-3) a spark, moving the Broncos 69 yards in just four plays. He capped the 2-minute, 12-second drive by buying himself time in the pocket to find Antonio Allen (So., Raleigh, N.C.) all alone for a 35-yard touchdown, bringing the Broncos within a score, 14-7, with 14:49 remaining in the first half.
But the deluge, despite only a misting rain and unseasonably cool temperatures, began just 5 minutes later.
McNeill capped Elizabeth City State's (2-2) own 4-play scoring series with a 10-yard touchdown run, a drive that took only 78 seconds after quarterback Creven Powell had found Jermain Lindsay for a 48-yard gain up the middle. That handed the Vikings a 21-7 lead.
The Vikings stayed in control from there. DeAundre Barfield scored from 3 yards out after a Concepcion interception with 8:58 to go.
Just 3 ½ minutes later, John Davis recovered a Fayetteville State fumble and ran 5 yards into the end zone for a 35-7 Elizabeth City State lead, which the Vikings took into the half.
"You can't win a game with three turnovers, especially when those turnovers come in the red zone," said Fayetteville State coach Kenny Phillips. "We went from 14-7 to 35-7 in the blink of an eye. The snow ball started rolling downhill and we couldn't stop it."
But then they did, thanks in part to Preseason All-American Andre Lyles'
(Sr., Ahoskie, N.C.) game-high 17 tackles, 10 of which were solo tackles. And Fayetteville State managed to make some noise of its own in the second half.
Midway through the third quarter, Elizabeth City State punter Ricky Jarman fumbled the snap inside the 10-yard line. Moments later, Christopher Hairston (Fr., Jacksonville, N.C.) rushed 8 yards for the touchdown, making it 35-14 with 7:50 to go in the period.
The Broncos didn't stop there, and really made Elizabeth City State sweat a few minutes later when John Brown (Fr., Fayetteville, N.C.) recovered another Vikings fumble on the Elizabeth City State 25. But the drive stalled when, after kicker Austin Turner's 22-yard field goal was waved off for delay of game, he misfired from 27 yards after a high snap.
Still, the Broncos didn't back down. Early in the fourth quarter, Brandon Blumears-Cluff, who re-entered the game to start the second half, connected with Cedrick Snead (Sr., Garner, N.C.) on a screen pass for a 17-yard touchdown, bringing the Broncos within two touchdowns, 35-21, with 11:50 to go.
"Our third quarter had a chance to be like their second quarter," Phillips said. "But where they converted our miscues into points, we didn't always capitalize on their mistakes."
Elizabeth City State, led by McNeill, wore the Broncos down with a 15-play, 84-yard drive -- all rushing plays -- that took a whopping 8:50 off the clock before McNeill scored from a yard out to essentially seal the win, 42-21, with 3 minutes remaining.
Elizabeth City State took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, going 45 yards on nine rushing plays on the opening series of the game before Swain scored from 4 yards out to make it 7-0 with 11:17 to go in the opening period.
The Vikings struck again with 2:06 to go in the quarter when William Davis returned a Blumears-Cluff (Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.) interception 56 yards for the touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
Cluff led the Broncos with 45 yards rushing on seven carries while Hairston added 30 yards on 10 rushes in his first significant action of the season. Snead had four receptions for 72 yards while Cluff finished 9 of 26 for 106 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Powell was 4-for-8 for 49 yards for the Vikings.
Fayetteville State travels to play rival Winston-Salem State next Saturday.