|Nick Jones hauls in a pass for Shaw against Charleston. (Robert Jowers photo)|
Game Of The Week: Virginia State 29, Fayetteville State 28
The Latrell Scott era got off to an exciting start, as Virginia State completed a stunning comeback to pull of a 29-28 on the road. VSU trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half before scoring 21 unanswered points to stun the home crowd in Fayetteville.
The game pitted two of the CIAA’s newest coaches, Scott and Fayetteville State’s Lawerence Kershaw. Kershaw’s team got off to the fast start, as quarterback Jemeryn Jefferson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another to help FSU to a 28-8 lead in the third quarter. But Scott’s Ace-In-The-Hole would be two players who followed him from James Madison: Quarterback Justin Thorpe and running back Jorian Anderson. The duo combined for over 350 yards of total offense and three touchdowns.
|Quinshon Odom threw for four TDs in Shaw’s season opener. (Shaw photo)|
Offensive Player Of The Week: Quinshon Odom, Shaw
After spending 2012 as James Stallons backup, Quinshon Odom hopped in the driver seat of Shaw’s offense and drove it like he never left. The senior quarterback completed 23 of 30 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-14 over Charleston (WV).
Defensive Player Of The Week: Chaz Robinson, St. Augustine’s University/ Donnie Owens, WSSU
Both St. Aug and Winston-Salem State lost their opening week games, but Robinson and Owens played exceptionally well. Robinson recorded 19 tackles, 2.5 for loss in a double-overtime loss to North Carolina Central. Owens was the best player on the field for WSSU in it’s Week One loss to UNC-Pembroke, recording eight tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in WSSU’s 25-21 loss.
Rookie Of The Week: AJ Guilford, St. Aug
Guilford showed up big time in his first college start, throwing three touchdown passes and giving NC Central all it could handle.
Trending Up: Shaw and St. Aug
Shaw’s offense exploded for 524 yards against a good Charleston team. Between Odom and Auburn transfer Kowasaki Kitchens connecting 12 times and Marquise Grizzle’s 147 rushing yards and two touchdowns, the Bears definitely put the conference on notice in Week One.
St. Aug came into the season predicted to finish third in the CIAA, but with longtime starter Teddy Bacote not coming back at quarterback, some questioned how sound a pick that was. All St. Aug did on Saturday was give the MEAC’s North Carolina Central all it could handle before falling in double overtime.
Trending Down: Winston-Salem State
Winston-Salem State played well in spurts, scoring 21 points in a row against UNC-Pembroke, but turnovers doomed them in the opener. WSSU still has plenty of talent, but that talent will have to gel together quickly if WSSU wants to win a quickly improving CIAA and make another playoff run.
*Virginia State is a sleeper in the CIAA’s Northern Division. The combination of Thorpe and Anderson, along with holdovers like Lamont Britt and Javion Smallwood give the Trojans a potentially potent offense.
*Winston-Salem State’s transfers may have gotten all the love during the offseason, but the new face with the biggest impact was Shaw’s Kowaski Kitchens. Kitchens was let go from Auburn after he and several other teammates were arrested for armed robbery in 2011. Kitchens caught two touchdown passes in his Shaw debut, and also broke the Shaw record for pass receptions with 12.
*Bowie State’s offense showed some big time explosiveness in Week One.
*The sky hasn’t fallen for WSSU, but the Rams have a lot of work to do. We’ll tell you why later this week.