Fayetteville State outlasts Shaw, headed back to CIAA title game

Fayetteville State’s offense woke up just in time, and the reigning CIAA Champions clinch the southern division for the sixth-straight year.

DURHAM, North Carolina —Fayetteville State got a 60-yard touchdown reception from Joe Owens, Jr. to Nigel Fitzgerald with 20 seconds remaining in the ballgame to give the Broncos a 21-14 win over Shaw on Saturday afternoon at Durham County Memorial Stadium.

The Broncos improved to 7-2 on the year and 7-0 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association play, while the Bears fell to 2-7 and 2-5.

Owens Jr. led Fayetteville State’s passing attack with 280 yards through the air, tossing one touchdown and two interceptions.

Owens Jr. totaled 34 yards to lead the Broncos ground attack in the game, picking up 11.3 yards per carry along the way. Derrick Alston Jr. also tacked on 33 yards and one touchdown on the ground.

Nigel Fitzgerald reeled in four catches for 91 yards and one score. When asked about the game-winning play, Nigel responded, “I wouldn’t say the play was for me, it was a shot play and thank God Joe found me. I could make the play for the team so we’re going to the next game with a victory.” Coach Hayes was proud of the way his team found a way to push through, “Joe made a great pass to Nigel. Nigel made a big play. Touchdown Broncos! We are going to Salem for the sixth consecutive year.”

Marquan Williams got in on the action in the passing game as well, hauling in four balls for 69 yards. The Broncos also got 61 yards receiving from Julian Milligan in the contest.

Kolby Merritt showed out for the Fayetteville State defense, totaling 10 tackles, 2.0 TFL, and two sacks. Anthony Binyard added four tackles, 1.0 TFL, and one sack, and Elijah Casey had six tackles, 1.0 TFL, and one sack in the win.

Fayetteville State’s defense held up against Shaw’s offense, giving up 299 total yards. The Broncos’ defense lived in Shaw’s backfield all game, piling up six sacks and 10 total tackles for loss.

How It Happened

Fayetteville State got on the scoreboard first with 6:41 left in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead. Another Broncos score then extended the lead to 14-0.

After Shaw tied the game at 14-14, Fayetteville State scored again with 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter with a 60-yard touchdown reception from Joe Owens, Jr. to Nigel Fitzgerald to jump back ahead 21-14. Both teams played the rest of the game without scoring.

Game Notes

» Fayetteville State out-gained Shaw 410-299, including a 280-157 advantage through the air.
» The Broncos scored first with 6:41 left in the first quarter and never trailed the rest of the game on their way to victory.
» Fayetteville State had their highest scoring quarter in the fourth period when they put up seven points.
» Fayetteville State converted 3 of 8 third downs while Shaw was successful on 6 of 14.
» The Broncos had two players with more than eight tackles in the ballgame led by Merritt, who had 10.
» The Broncos racked up 10 tackles for loss and added six sacks.
» Fayetteville State got off to a great start in the contest, putting 14 unanswered points on the board before Shaw could respond.
» Jr. Owens completed 71.9% of his passes on the day, going 23-for-32 while averaging 8.8 yards per attempt.
» Navian Hillard led the Bears passing attack, completing five of his 12 attempts for 74 yards and one touchdown.
» Sidney Gibbs led the Shaw rushing attack with 72 yards.

The Broncos will host Winston-Salem State on Saturday, November 4 at 2 p.m. for senior night.

Fayetteville State outlasts Shaw, headed back to CIAA title game
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