|Winless no more: J.C. Smith tops Shaw 13-10 for homecoming|
|Howard's 44-yard FG provides margin|
|Published Saturday, October 21, 2017 7:00 pm|
Johnson C. Smith found a winning combination for homecoming.
|Johnson C. Smith cornerback Basir Wright (20) celebrates his interception against Shaw with teammate Deston Thornton Saturday at McGirt Field. JCSU won 13-10 for their first victory of the season.|
The Golden Bulls earned a 13-10 win against Shaw – their first of the season – with basic football. The defense played its best game of the season in terms of points allowed and the special teams came up huge, with kicker Brandon Howard nailing the game-winning 44-yard field goal with a minute to play. In a season full of misfires, there was finally something worth savoring.
“The win was big for us,” said quarterback Terrance Ervin, who completed 17-of-28 passes for 231 yards. “We had a rough season and this was kind of the turning point where everyone was questioning and whatever like what was going on, so the win was big for us. It opened a lot of eyes that we can be good when we put our minds together and dig down deep.”
JCSU (1-7, 1-4 CIAA) turned the corner in the fourth quarter by scoring the final 10 points. Dedric Robinson scored on a 4-yard run with 5:23, then marched 28 yards over eight plays to set up Howard’s game-winner.
“I’m happy for our players,” Golden Bulls coach Kermit Blount said. “They worked tremendously hard to get to this point and I’m just happy for them. They get a chance to enjoy their homecoming and our seniors get a chance to enjoy their last homecoming. I’m really happy for our players.”
Upon further review
What went right: There was enough ball control to deliver Brandon Howard’s game-winning field goal with a minute to play. Ervin was solid, connecting with 17 completions to eight receivers.
What went wrong: The rushing attack gained 59 yards on 34 carries, but managed to keep Shaw honest with the game on the line.
“We wanted to try to control the clock,” Blount said. …“We really wanted to get our backs going and get the run game going to take the pressure off the quarterback a little bit.”
What needs work: JCSU won enough at the line of scrimmage in the fourth, but needs more consistency.
What went right: JCSU allowed only 10 points, their best effort of the season. The Golden Bulls allowed 91 yards on 12-of-30 passing with a couple of interceptions. Cornerback JeJaun McCalston had a strong game with six tackles, a pick and a pair of pass breakups.
What went wrong: Shaw ran for 222 yards on 34 carries, an average of 6.5 yards an attempt.
What needs work: The run defense needs shoring, a common theme all season.
What went right: Howard, whose struggles have been well documented, was clutch. He nailed 2-of-3 field goals, including the game-winner from 44 yards with a minute to play and averaged 42.5 yards on four punts with no blocks.
“I knew he was capable of making that 44-yarder because he makes them in practice from 54, 55 out,” Blount said. “I didn’t hesitate when it came to that. I knew if we gave him an opportunity to get it through the uprights he’d do it.”
What went wrong: Howard did miss his first field goal try on the opening drive.
What needs work: Other than the missed field goal, the Golden Bulls grade out an A.
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