|Golden Bulls aim to build on win streak|
|JCSU looks to earn third straight|
|Published Wednesday, September 26, 2012 2:57 pm|
Johnson C. Smith football is starting to play up to its potential.
|Johnson C. Smith receiver Matthew Jeffries leads the Golden Bulls in receiving with 23 catches for 301 yards and a pair of touchdowns. JCSU goes for its third straight win Sept. 27 against Lincoln (Pa.) in a CIAA game.|
The Golden Bulls, who take on CIAA North rival Lincoln (Pa.) on Sept. 29, are aiming for their first three-game win streak since 2006. A victory over the Lions – whom JCSU hasn’t played since 1960 when Lincoln left the CIAA – would keep the Golden Bulls (2-2, 1-0 CIAA) atop the South Division.
“(Getting to) 2-2, that’s big, even though we had a great chance to be 4-0 right now,” JCSU quarterback Keahn Wallace said after Saturday’s 28-21 win against Virginia State in the conference opener. “We had a great chance to win the first two, (but) things happen and things get screwed up. But now this 2-2 feels a lot better than us being 1-3 or 0-4.”
Beating Virginia State for the second straight year not only put Smith in a tie in the South with St. Augustine’s and Winston-Salem State, it boosts the Golden Bulls’ confidence heading to Lincoln, which rejoined the CIAA three years ago.
“Playing in the CIAA now is going to be a challenge, a dogfight,” JCSU coach Steve Aycock said. “Our week’s preparation leads over to good play on the weekend, so we’re excited about it. We (can) rip off these next few and give ourselves a chance (to compete in the South). ”
The Golden Bulls have done a better job of competing during the streak. The offense piled up 471 yards against Virginia State, with Wallace hitting 31-of-43 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns in addition to running for another. Tailback Dedrick Anderson, who rushed for 39 of his 105 yards in the fourth quarter, drained the clock while moving the ball downfield.
“(Offensive coordinator) Steve Shipp put in great predicaments and gave me great calls to excel,” Wallace said. “All we did was take advantage. If we see someone we like, we’re checking (to a different play). All we did was keep ourselves going.”
JCSU is finishing better, too. In losses to West Virginia State (34-31) and Tuskegee (Ala., 35-17), the Golden Bulls squandered halftime leads. In the wins, JCSU came from behind to beat Concordia-Selma (Ala.) 23-18 and stayed in front of Virginia State.
“We were shooting ourselves in the foot,” said JCSU safety Chris Sams, whose first-quarter interception return led to Wallace’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Chris Patterson. “We were playing selfish defense. Everybody just wanted (to play on) their own. When we started to play unselfish, play (our) role, we …win.”
Said Aycock: “In the first couple of games, we won the first half and played flat in the second half. This time, we put four quarters together. If we can play solid offense, play solid defense and special teams, all of it will come together for us.”
The defense has improved, holding Virginia State (1-3, 0-1) to 242 yards, including 77 at the break, forced three turnovers and hounded Trojans quarterback LaMonta Green (11-of-23, 104 yards) before knocking him out in the fourth quarter. They’ll look to add another strong effort against Lincoln, which lost its CIAA opener to Livingstone last week.
“The confidence of our team just came together,” Sams said. “We’ve got each other’s back, no matter what. We can make it three in a row, one day at a time, one practice at a time.”
“We’re starting off the conference great,” Wallace said. “We just need to keep on – game after game after game. Keep coming out fast and finishing fast.”
• Senior left guard Jordan Mosely was named CIAA offensive lineman of the week for the week – the first honor for Mosely and the Golden Bulls this season.
Mosely the Golden Bulls produce a season-high 471 yards of total offense. Senior tailback Dedrick Anderson (104 yards) and sophomore quarterback Keahn Wallace (338 yards) each produced season-high totals as a result.
“This is very humbling to receive this honor and without question I share this accolade with the other four men on the line,” Mosely said. “Individual awards are appreciated, but I’m constantly focused on our team. This honor is more meaningful to me, because our team won the game.”
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