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Rivalry week
Golden Bulls, Wildcats square off at J.C. Smith
Published Thursday, September 19, 2013 7:27 am
by Herbert L. White

Keahn Wallace hasn’t forgotten his first encounter against cross-county rival Davidson.

Johnson C. Smith defensive end Chris Randolph (52) tracks down Bowie State running back Kendall Jefferson during the Golden Bulls’ 58-41 win on Sept. 14. JCSU hosts cross-county rival Davidson Saturday at 2 p.m.

In 2011 as a Johnson C. Smith freshman, Wallace completed 11-of-29 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown in Davidson’s 35-7 victory. His counterpart, Jonathan Carkhuff, had a field day, passing for 427 yards and five touchdowns. Two scores went to receiver Lanny Funsten, who caught seven passes for a career-best 195 yards, including a school-record 99-yarder.

“They snuck up on us my freshman year and they beat us pretty bad,” quarterback Keahn Wallace said. “I doubt that will happen this year.”
Wallace and the Golden Bulls will get their chance to prove it Saturday at McGirt Field. Davidson and JCSU have played three times, with Davidson winning the last two. This year, the teams are off to decidedly different starts, with the Golden Bulls 2-0 while the Wildcats are 0-2 after a 34-18 loss to Division II Lenoir-Rhyne last week in Davidson’s home opener.

“We’re excited about the opportunity,” first-year Wildcats coach Paul Nichols said on his weekly video program. “We’re excited to take our game into Charlotte, which is an area where we have our largest alumni base and we look forward to bringing them all out to the game and showing them a good show. I know our kids are excited about getting back on the winning side and showing what we have down in Charlotte.”

Said JCSU coach Steve Aycock: “It’ll be great for the city. Davidson played us tough in ’11, but we’ve got a different style of defense going, different personnel and hopefully the defense can keep us in it. I know we can score.”

Carkhuff is still Davidson’s quarterback, but the Wildcats are struggling on both sides of the ball. Davidson has been outscored 76-24 and outgained by an average of 441.5 yards per game to 341 yards. Carkhuff has completed 49-of-88 passes for 588 yards and four scores.

Points will be a premium against JCSU, which is averaging 42.7 a game.

“They’re an undefeated football team right now,” Nichols said. “They score a lot of points and in watching film…they’re a highly athletic football team. They have a tremendous amount of skill and they do a nice job up front.”

Containing Carkhuff will be a priority for JCSU, which was battered for 522 yards in last week’s 58-41 win against Bowie State. The Golden Bulls nearly squandered a 23-point lead when defensive end Chris Randolph’s fumble return to the Bowie State 9 led to a 1-yard Wallace plunge for a 37-28 lead with 7 minutes, 27 seconds left. They also rang up five sacks to push their total to 14.

“We were a little bit winded, but we kept fighting and pushing,” Randolph said. “As a defense, all of us did our part and we made sure we kept pressure on the quarterback.”

Wallace, a preseason all-CIAA pick who sat out the season opener against Livingstone for violating team rules, set a school record in his debut against Bowie State. His 425 yards on 28-of-37 passing and four scores broke the old standard of 389 yards set by Wesley Tate in 1991.

“I was just eager to get back,” Wallace said. “I was so ready to get out here, I think that’s what propelled me. We’ve just got to finish, and that starts with me.”

JCSU has won six straight dating back to the 2012 campaign. In order to extend the streak, the Golden Bulls will have to play at peak efficiency.

 “The way our team is set up, anybody can have a big day – defense, offense, everybody,” he said. “When we all click, that’s when you see points like this.”
Davidson will be looking to break into the win column before heading into Pioneer League play.

“It’ll be a great challenge for us,” Nichols said . “…As we go forward with our last nonconference game of the year, we’ve shown significant improvement from week 1 to week 2. If we’re able to demonstrate the same improvement, and we will, we’ll feel pretty good about the result on Saturday.”


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