S.C. State embarrassed N.C. Central on national TV at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium Thursday night.
NCCU fans had been asked to wear white shirts for a strong look of solidarity on ESPNU — a so-called whiteout.
Instead, they got a blowout, 44-3.
“Didn’t get anything going, both sides of the football, offensively, in particular,” NCCU coach Dwayne Foster said. “Didn’t run it like we wanted to run it and execute like we thought we should.”
Nationally televised games ideally keep folks on the edge of their seats. Not this time. Many NCCU fans left their seats very early.
“We messed that up for sure,” SCSU coach Buddy Pough said. “I was a little bit surprised, but we needed to get in here and get a win. We needed to get something that was not going to be so nail-biting. We’ve had some tough, tough games. I was glad for us to get it over in the first half.”
SCSU stepped onto NCCU’s home field with both the No. 2 offense and defense in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
The Bulldogs also showed up averaging 30.5 points per game, tops in the league. They outdid themselves.
“You don’t ever know if a game like this is going to happen,” Pough said. “You come out, things start breaking your way. You get a break here or there, that kind of stuff. The next thing you know, you’ve kind of got a run or so.”
S.C. State had the ball first and came out with a no-huddle offense that had the Eagles on their heels. The Bulldogs drove the ball with confidence, converting on a fourth-and-one to extend the possession.
NCCU strong safety Ryan Smith ended all of that by intercepting SCSU quarterback Richard Cue. But the Eagles wound up punting.
The Bulldogs’ offense came out hurrying again, and in five plays Cue tossed a short pass to Dennis Rowe for a 36-yard touchdown catch and run.
NCCU gave the ball right back when running back Idreis Augustus fumbled. The Bulldogs recovered on NCCU’s 21 and kicked a field goal.
SCSU running back Xavier Quick punched in a 2-yard touchdown before the first quarter ended for a 17-0 lead, the Eagles down big early.
NCCU beat the Bulldogs 40-10 last season. That was embarrassing, Pough said.
“Last year, it was a similar kind of situation. It just happened in the opposite direction,” Pough said.
The Eagles got the air sucked out of them when an apparent touchdown by linebacker Allonte Tuppins was called back. NCCU fans were convinced he’d stripped a Bulldog ball carrier before running some 70 yards for a touchdown. Instead, SCSU kicker Nick Belcher lined up for another field goal and made it from 26 yards out.
SCSU kept harassing NCCU quarterback Jordan Reid. The Eagles couldn’t get much of anything going, punting a lot and keeping their defense on the field. That’s what the Eagles’ minus-11 rushing yards got them.
The Bulldog offense kept capitalizing on that, applying pressure with its no-huddle approach, keeping NCCU’s defenders panting.
NCCU’s offense finally crossed midfield halfway through the second half, but ended up punting.
SCSU finally punted for the first time with 6:08 left in the first half.
NCCU managed to put some points on the scoreboard with Oleg Parent’s 46-yard field with 3:10 left in the half. The Eagles eked out a first down on that drive, their first of the game.
Quick jogged into the end zone one more time before halftime, another two-yard touchdown run to give SCSU a 34-3 lead.
Not much changed in the second half. It was all SCSU all night.
The Bulldogs (5-2, 3-0 MEAC) remained undefeated in the league, handing NCCU (3-3, 1-1 MEAC) its first conference loss.
|S.C. STATE 44, N.C. CENTRAL 3|
|South Carolina State||17||17||10||0—44|
|North Carolina Central||0||3||0||0— 3|
SCSt—Rowe 36 pass from Cue (Belcher kick), 8:07.
SCSt—FG Belcher 29, 6:18.
SCSt—Quick 2 run (Belcher kick), 1:28.
SCSt—FG Belcher 26, 11:04.
SCSt—J.Taylor 9 run (Belcher kick), 8:39.
NCCe—FG Parent 46, 3:10.
SCSt—Quick 2 run (Belcher kick), :45.
SCSt—FG Belcher 40, 8:29.
SCSt—Lewis-Freeman 1 run (Belcher kick), 5:10.
|Time of Possession||34:30||25:30|
RUSHING—SC State, J.Taylor 17-75, C.Brown 11-70,
Lewis-Freeman 14-57, Quick 9-24, Cue 3-22, Davis 1-0, Wiley 1-(minus 1),
Team 1-(minus 15). NC Central, Augustus 9-5, Tucker 2-4, Wright 2-3,
K.Thompson 3-3, Swinson 1-1, Bell 2-(minus 4), Reid 9-(minus 23).
PASSING—SC State, Cue 18-27-1-191, Wiley 3-5-0-53. NC Central,
Reid 9-25-0-116, Bell 0-1-0-0, Team 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING—SC State, McDonald 10-70, Hemingway 3-22, Rowe 2-75,
A.Smith 2-14, Davis 1-23, Givens 1-19, West 1-13, Lewis-Freeman 1-8.
NC Central, Wilkins 3-29, Poole 2-23, L.Scruggs 2-14, Swinson 1-50,