St. Augustine’s threw aside all the season’s turmoil, disappointments and distractions to overwhelm its archrival and win its only game of the season.
The Falcons defeated Shaw 31-24 Saturday at Durham County Stadium to end its nine-game losing streak.
St. Aug’s (1-9, 1-6 CIAA) last victory was last season’s regular-season finale against the Bears (1-9, 1-6) in Raleigh.
Redshirt senior running back Roderick Davenport ended his college career becoming the Falcons’ all-time leading rusher with 2,809 yards and breaking the 2,747-career mark set by Walter Sanders. Davenport entered the game needing just 17 yards. He finished with 78 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown.
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“My teammates told me about it (record) after my first carry, but I couldn’t worry about that. I knew we had a long fight ahead of us in this game,” Davenport said. “This win felt like we won all our games.”
The Falcons defense intercepted Shaw freshman quarterback Terrence Shambry four times – two returned for touchdowns.
After trailing 17-3 at halftime, the Bears got their first touchdown of the game on running back Marquise Grizzle’s 4-yard plunge with 7:07 left in the third period. Grizzle became Shaw’s all-time leading rusher Oct. 31 in the Bears’ upset win at Winston-Salem State.
But a critical third-down penalty called against Shaw on St. Aug’s next possession extended the Falcons drive, and they made the Bears pay when quarterback D.J. Johnson found Jordan Turkvant with a 10-yard strike to extend the lead 24-10 with 12:27 left.
St. Aug’s final score came on Shambry’s fourth interception that defensive back Denzel Watkins returned for a 40-yard touchdown.
“We watched them on film this week, and a lot of their routes were like ours,” said Falcons defensive back Curtis Cole, who had two of the four interceptions. “So we were kind of anticipating where he was going to throw.”
On the Bears’ first possession of the game, Cole intercepted Shambry and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown. The Bears trimmed the lead 7-3 on place-kicker Joe Nguyen’s 35-yard field goal, but the Falcons returned the favor with their own 34-yarder to make it 10-3.
St. Aug’s extended its lead 17-3 right before the half on an 80-yard drive that Davenport sealed with a 1-yard plunge.
“I told the guys since we couldn’t win at our homecoming, we were going to make this (game) our homecoming,” interim Falcons coach Tim Chavous said. “And they took it to heart.”