Elizabeth City State jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead and held off a Johnson C. Smith University comeback bid in the second half to take a 20-17 CIAA win at Roebuck Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
ECSU (3-1, 1-0 CIAA) jumped up 7-0 earlier after Daquan Neal ran an option over the left side at the 7:47 mark of the first quarter. The 53-yard Viking drive went seven plays. ECSU would add another touchdown on another four-yard run, this time from Chase Byrum with 2:48 on the first quarter clock, putting ECSU up 14-0.
JCSU (0-4, 0-1 CIAA) responded, as Desmond Dozier (Longs, S.C.) took a three-yard pass from Terrance Ervin (Richmond, Va.) with 14:12 left in the second quarter.
Carlo Thomas (East Orange, N.J.), the holder on JCSU PAT attempts, was able to call an audible and ran in the two-point conversion to pull to within 14-8. Sophomore Brandon Howard (Columbia, S.C.) knocked in a 22-yard field goal to bring JCSU to within 14-11 with 5:12 remaining in the first half.
Dozier gave JCSU its first lead of the season after he caught a 38-yard strike from Ervin, putting JCSU up 17-14 with 11:39 left in the third. ECSU battled back, with Byrum collecting a 26-yard pass from Neal to provide the eventual game-winning score, 20-17.
Both teams had numerous opportunities in the fourth quarter. JCSU had one last shot to put together a game-winning drive after forcing an ECSU punt.
The Golden Bulls took over at the their own 23-yard line and with a fourth-and-one play at their own 32, JCSU had a false start penalty and was forced to punt. The JCSU defense came up big again, forcing another ECSU punt and took over at the 2:12 mark, but was unable to produce a first down, turning it over on downs. ECSU would then bleed the clock to send JCSU to the 20-17 defeat.
Individually, Ervin threw for 171 yards and two scores on a 15-of-32 effort while throwing one interception. Dozier was the lead receiver, catching three passes for 55 yards and two touchdowns. Dedric Robinson (Pageland, S.C.) led the Golden Bulls on the ground, rushing six times for 44 yards.
Defensively, Marcel Toran (Washington, D.C.) had 11 tackles and one tackle for loss. Kahj Huitt (Smyrna, Ga.), Kyaire Bynum (Lancaster, Pa.) and Daryl Napper (Winston-Salem, N.C.) each had five tackles.
JCSU will return to play on Saturday, Sept. 30, hosting CIAA Northern Division opponent Chowan. Kickoff at the Irwin Belk Complex is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.