Oct. 22, 2011
SALISBURY, N.C. -- Even as Livingstone's Tyhiem Pitt was racing 100 yards down the sideline to tie the game after a blocked field goal midway through the second quarter, it never felt as though the Fayetteville State Broncos were in any kind of danger.
That's because Chauncey Concepcion was at quarterback.
The Broncos' freshman was brilliant at times on Saturday, leading Fayetteville State to more than 300 yards of total offense in the first half alone as Fayetteville State did enough to down Livingstone 17-7 on its Homecoming on Saturday at Alumni Memorial Stadium.
Concepcion (Charlotte, N.C.) had more than 100 yards rushing before the 9-minute mark of the second quarter as the Broncos (3-5, 3-2) dominated the field of play in the first half, rolling up 328 total yards to Livingstone's 27 by the break. Making just his third collegiate start, Concepcion finished with 183 yards passing, though he did have three interceptions, and a career-high 125 yards on the ground on just 13 carries.
"He ran the ball exceptionally well, and threw it well except for the three miscues," Fayetteville State head coach Kenny Phillips said of Concepcion. "Overall, he did a really nice job."
After completing his first five passes, it was clear Concepcion was on his way to enjoying his finest performance of his young collegiate career.
He tossed a 17-yard touchdown to tight end Xavier Molina-Williams (Jr., West Covina, Calif.) to march the Broncos to a 7-0 lead on the opening drive of the game, serving as the masterful architect in a 11-play, 76-yard series that took more than 6 minutes off the clock. He competed 6 of 7 passes for 66 yards on the drive, adding 15 yards on the ground to keep the chains moving.
He appeared to lead the Broncos to another scoring drive from their own 11 early in the second quarter, but Austin Turner's (Sr., San Diego, Calif.) 32-yard field goal attempt was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Pitt, one of the leading tacklers in the CIAA, scooped the ball up in the end zone and raced untouched to tie the game at 7 with 9:33 remaining in the first half.
But Concepcion and the Broncos shrugged it off, covering 78 yards in 11 plays on the ensuing drive thanks to two third-down conversions by Concepcion. After Chris Hairston's
(Fr., Jacksonville, N.C.) apparent scoring run was negated by one of Fayetteville State's nine first-half penalties, Concepcion bailed the Broncos out with a 13-yard quarterback draw for a 14-7 lead with 4:57 left in the period.
Despite the close score, the Broncos owned the first half. Fayetteville State held the ball nearly 23 minutes of the first half, picking up 17 first downs while Livingstone (1-7, 0-5) managed just one.
Still, the game remained close throughout the second half. While Livingstone was able to move the ball just enough to start the second half to pin the Broncos deep in their own territory to start two drives, the Blue Bears never truly threatened to score until late in the game.
Meanwhile, the Broncos continued to pile up the offensive numbers, many of them a result of Concepcion's play. Taking over on their 4 with 7:38 to go in the third period, Fayetteville State went to its running game with Colon Bailey (So., Manteo, N.C.) and Marquavis Alston (Fr. Rocky Mount, N.C.) as the duo got the Broncos out of the shadow of their own end zone and near midfield.
But Fayetteville State, beset by a season-high 14 penalties for 122 yards, continued to get in its own way. But on this occasion, a penalty by the Broncos paid off. After Concepcion's pass came up short of the first down on 3rd-and-15, the Blue Bears elected to push Fayetteville State back to its 35 and replay the down.
And like he did for much of the first half, Concepcion bailed the Broncos out, completing a beauty of a pass to Molina-Williams for a 31-yard gain to keep the drive alive. Though the Broncos stalled at the Livingstone 4, Tony Mayo (Fr., Jacksonville, N.C.), in relief of the struggling Turner, connected on a 21-yard field goal with 14:14 left in the fourth quarter, giving the Broncos a 17-7 lead. The score capped a 16-play, 91-yard drive that covered more than 8 minutes.
Trying to respond, Livingstone made its one drive into the red zone, moving the ball to the Broncos' 5. But on third-and-short, Fayetteville State linebacker Dennis Rorie threw Terrill Gourdine for a 2-yard loss. After a timeout, the Blue Bears decided to kick the field goal, but Hillman Tabi's 24-yard attempt sailed wide left with 8:46 remaining in the game.
Fayetteville State did enough on its next drive to move the ball to midfield, but more importantly, milked over 6 minutes off the clock before punting the ball away with 2:40 to go.
A late fumble by Livingstone sealed the win for the Broncos.
"It wasn't pretty, but it was a win," Phillips said. "We'll take it."
Fayetteville State finished with a whopping 471 total yards to just 123 for the Blue Bears, who were held under 100 total yards until their final drive in the waning minutes. The Broncos had 25 first downs to Livingstone's eight, and finished with 288 yards of rushing.
Bailey, who rushed for a career-high 148 yards in last week's overtime loss to Shaw, added 44 yards on 18 carries on Saturday. Molina-Williams enjoyed the best game of his Broncos' career, catching seven passes for 91 yards and the score.
Down to their third-string quarterback, Craig Murdock, Livingstone did not pick up a first down until the 4:12 mark of the second quarter. Murdock, who came into the game having completed just three of 10 pass attempts for 10 yards, was 6-for-15 for 49 yards. Jamel Moore led the Blue Bears with 43 yards rushing on seven carries.
Fayetteville State travels to play Johnson C. Smith in Charlotte next week.