The countdown is on for the Shaw Bears.
After the Bears' 68-13 win over Chowan Saturday at Durham County Stadium, Shaw is two wins away from advancing to the CIAA championship game, which, by the way, is at Durham County Stadium.
Technically, the Bears were in a three-way tie for first with Fayetteville State and Livingstone coming into the game, but the Blue Bears were defeated by St. Augustine's. The Broncos defeated Johnson C. Smith, but Shaw holds the tiebreaker by virtue of its win last weekend over the Broncos.
Shaw finishes the regular season on the road at Livingstone and at Smith -- both have losing records -- but the Bears can't afford to look past any team, just ask St. Aug's.
"Coach stresses everyday about taking it one game at a time," running back Raymon Williams said, who rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns, including an 86-yard kickoff return. "We don't take any team for granted."
Chowan will become a full-fledged member of the CIAA in July 2009, meaning the Hawks will compete in all sports instead of just football. Chowan made history this year by becoming the first predominately white institution to join a predominately black conference. But the Hawks (2-6, 1-4 CIAA) are not finding the conference very hospitable.
Shaw (5-3, 4-1), which has the No. 1 rushing defense in the conference, held Chowan to minus-7 yards rushing in the first half, and minus-12 yards for the game. The Hawks also had minus-1 yards in punt returns.
The Bears scored every way possible: offense, defense and special teams.
Quarterback Travis Robinson threw for 368 yards and five TDs, and backup QB Julius Gregory threw for another.
Despite the lopsided score, Shaw football coach Darrell Asberry had his team throwing late in the game. Asberry said he wasn't trying to make a statement.
"No, we're the team to beat now," he said. "Chowan just caught us on a bad day. We are starting to play Shaw football."