|Injuries take toll on JCSU|
|Defense, QB hit hard during three-game slide|
|Published Thursday, October 31, 2013 6:17 am|
Johnson C. Smith football is hurting, and it shows.
|Johnson C. Smith defensive end Jovantay Williams reaches out to snare a Shaw fumble in an Oct. 26 game. The Golden Bulls (4-4) have lost three straight games going into Saturday’s CIAA South contest at St. Augustine’s.|
Injuries have caught up to the Golden Bulls, who take a three-game losing streak to St. Augustine’s on Nov. 2. With key personnel missing at defensive line, linebacker and quarterback, JCSU (4-4, 2-3) has lost four of its last five games.
“They fought like hell and the guys we had to reach back for stepped up as good as they could,” Golden Bulls coach Steve Aycock said, “but on a 68 (player) roster, when you’ve got 20-some main contributors banged up, it’s tough when they’ve got to play (hurt) week in and week out.”
Statistics confirm Aycock’s assertion. Over the last three games with quarterback Keahn Wallace limited by an ankle injury, JCSU is averaging 280 yards total offense and 25.3 points per game. In the first three games, the Golden Bulls averaged 483 yards and 42.1 points.
For the second straight week, Andrew Alexander (Ardrey Kell High) was efficient in relieving Wallace, completing 18-of-31 passes for 174 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 39-33 loss to Shaw. He rallied the Golden Bulls in the fourth quarter with scoring passes to Avius Capers (Independence High) and Evan Jones.
“I’ve got to take my hat off to Andrew,” Aycock said. “He doesn’t get a lot of reps in practice because of his major (biology) and he has a lot of lab work…but he got us into a rhythm. He’s playing faster and he did a pretty good job.”
Defense is where JCSU is really hurting. The last three opponents averaged 39.3 points and 469.3 yards per game compared to 30 points and 317.2 yards over the first three weeks. Without a more efficient offense, the Golden Bulls are struggling to contain opponents.
In last week’s loss to Shaw, the Bears ran for 246 yards and backup quarterback Trevius Folston connected on 4-of-6 passes for 128 yards and a pair of touchdowns in relief of starter Quinshon Odom.
Shaw running back Marquise Grizzle ran for 167 yards and two scores on 30 carries.
“We had an opportunity to get into this dadgum thing,” Aycock said. “It’s situations when you’re banged up and with the injuries we have, we can’t afford to make mistakes.”
The Golden Bulls don’t have room for error over the final two games. A winning record is possible, but they’ll need to sweep St. Aug’s and Central State (Ohio) on the road. Aycock inists JCSU is capable of meeting the challenge.
“We’ve developed a champions step up-type mentality,” he said. “That’s a pride thing. We want to finish above .500.”
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