In one of the wildest endings to a college football game, Shaw University saw a nine-point lead disappear in the final 2:46, as two special teams miscues led to a miraculous comeback by Bowie State, the defending CIAA champion.
Bowie State blocked not one, but two Bears punt attempts in the fourth quarter, turning both blocks into touchdowns, escaping Raleigh with a 26-21 win over Shaw.
After going up 21-12 on a Marquis Gorham 39-yard run, the wheels started to fall off for the Bears, who became unglued in the fourth, not doing themselves any favors by picking up several penalties in the final minutes.
“Undisciplined football,” Shaw coach Adrian Jones said about the end of the game. “We just didn’t do what we were supposed to do playing a good football team. We had the game in our hands, we just let it go.”
Jones knows his team had Bowie beaten in the fourth quarter, but the difference was the Bulldogs kept fighting even when they were down.
“Something good happened, they kept playing,” Jones said. “Something bad happened, they kept playing. We didn’t do it at the end. We played three-and-a-half quarters of football and in those last three minutes we let it go. We can’t do that. We can’t win championships playing that type of football.”
Shaw gained 100 more yards than Bowie (388 to 288) but were penalized 10 times for 76 yards, including two personal fouls in the fourth quarter. The first was a personal foul on offensive lineman Ari Long, who was ejected. After Long’s ejection, the Bears rushed the ball three times, but Bowie forced a punt. The punt was blocked by Blake Dove and recovered in the end zone by Juantez McRae, cutting the lead to two after the successful PAT.
Shaw recovered the onside attempt but was stuck in neutral and forced to punt once again. Dove got a hand on it again, and Reicardo Smith returned the ball to 20. After the play, Bears punter Beni Kensemi was flagged for throwing his helmet and Bowie set up shop on the 5. Two plays later Gaston Cooper (15 of 31 for 148 yards) hit DuShon David (5-72) in the back of the end zone for the score.
“There were a lot of things that happened that shouldn’t have at the end of the game,” Jones said.
On the last two punts, the Bears thought they had the right protection, even calling a timeout to make sure they did on the final kick. But Jones said it had nothing to do with schemes.
“Our guys just didn’t give enough effort,” he said. “They (Bowie) wanted it more than we wanted it.”
Records: Bowie (2-0), Shaw (0-2)
THREE WHO MATTERED
(Marquis Gorham, Shaw) The Bowie win overshadows a spectacular day from the Shaw senior. Gorham caught five passes for 126 yards and one score and ran the football one time for a 39-yard touchdown.
(Torrin Campbell, Shaw) Bears quarterback completed 16 of 23 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns before going down with an injury in the third quarter.
(Blake Dove, Bowie State) Bulldogs defensive back blocked two punts in the fourth quarter, both leading to Bowie touchdowns.
Saturday was the first time since 2010 Shaw played a home game in Raleigh. That game was played at Southeast Raleigh High School.
Shaw learned the hard way that special teams matter. Besides the two blocked punts in the final three minutes, the Bears missed two field goals inside the the 35-yard line in the third quarter.
B — Carson 27-yard kick
S — Bender 18-yard pass from Campbell (Kensemi kick)
S — Gorham 75-yard pass from Campbell (Kensemi kick)
B — Wilkins 2-yard run (Carson kick)
B — Safety
S — Gorham 39-yard run (Kensemi kick)
B — McRae block punt return (Carson kick)
B — David 5-yard pass from Cooper (Carson kick)