Oct. 31, 2009
SALISBURY - It's a done deal.
Fayetteville State's 31-8 win over Livingstone on Saturday gave the Broncos their fourth Western Division title since 2002.
More importantly, FSU (7-3, 6-1 CIAA) can now focus on the CIAA Championship game, Nov. 7 in Durham.
"This is the first championship game I've gotten a chance to play in," said senior safety Jeff Gowdy. "It's almost surreal, because our only goal is to get to the championship game and we finally get a chance to do it."
The Broncos don't have an opponent yet though.
Elizabeth City State, Bowie State and Virginia Union are tied atop the Eastern Division after Saturday's games. All three teams have 5-2 records in the CIAA and 2-1 records versus their common opponents of Lincoln, St. Paul's and Virginia State.
The CIAA will hold a tiebreaker procedure at 1 p.m. in the CIAA Office on Sunday.
FSU head coach Kenny Phillips said the lack of a championship game opponent doesn't matter much to his team.
"The only thing it affects with us is getting prepared to play one of the teams on the other side," said Phillips. "We have to hold back our preparation but that's it.
Regardless of who we play, we have to go out Monday, motivate and get our guys ready for the championship game."
Added Gowdy: "We're just happy we're here. We don't care who it is from the East. I don't care if it was the New England Patriots. We're going to out there and play to the best of our ability."
Saturday's win over Livingstone was Phillips' ninth in his 10 years at FSU and gave the Broncos their seventh winning season in the same time frame.
"We've got a solid program here," Phillips said. "We just have to continue to improve on some things. We have to keep going forward and make sure we don't move backwards, especially with Winston-Salem State coming back in next season."
For the second straight week, the Broncos' defense held an opponent to negative yards rushing.
The Blue Bears (0-10, 0-7 CIAA) rushed for -21 yards on 22 attempts. In its last two games, FSU has given up -93 yards rushing.
"It wasn't hard to get excited for the game," said Gowdy. "It's always good to perform to the best your abilities, just in case someone is watching."
Joseph Brown, a senior linebacker, led Phillips' defense with eight tackles, three tackles for loss a sack and a forced fumble.
Senior running back Calvin Harris continued to pace the FSU offense, gaining 92 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Harris has at least one touchdown in five straight games.
"He's a very good football player," said Phillips. "He's taken advantage of the opportunity with Richard (Medlin) being banged up. He's matured a lot as a football player since his freshman year."
Since starting the season 0-2, FSU has won five straight and seven of its last eight games.
"I'm very proud of this football team," Phillips said. "These guys responded to the 0-2 start and have played eight very good football games."
For information on tickets to the CIAA Championship game, visit www.theciaa.com.
NOTES: FSU placekicker Austin Turner made a 34-yard field goal in Saturday's win. Turner tops the CIAA with 17 field goals this season. He needs one more to tie the single-season and career FSU mark for field goals... FSU has only lost two CIAA games since 2007... The Broncos have outscored their opponents 80-18 in the second quarter this year... Marcos Esquivel returned a fumble for a touchdown against Livingstone. FSU has eight non-offensive touchdowns this season... The Broncos have won six straight and nine of their last 10 road games. This season FSU allowed just 11.4 points per game in five away contests.