VIKINGS SURVIVE LATE RALLY; DEFEAT VIRGINIA UNION 27-21
Oct. 27, 2012
ELIZABETH CITY, NC- The Elizabeth City State University Vikings survived a furious fourth quarter rally by Virginia Union University to earn a 27-21 win over the Panthers Saturday afternoon at Roebuck Stadium.
The Vikings now move to 6-3 overall and 5-1 in the CIAA. With Chowan University's 33-21 win over Virginia State on Saturday, ECSU will claim the 2012 CIAA Northern Division title and a spot in the 2012 CIAA title game on November 10th in Durham against #2 ranked Winston-Salem State University.
With ECSU holding a 17-14 advantage, the Viking defense forced a turnover on downs with 9:10 left in the third quarter. ECSU took over at their own 31 yard line but on the very next play from scrimmage a fumble was recovered by the Panthers at the Viking 22 yard line.
Two plays later Nigel Rios got his first interception of the year, picking off a Kenneth Graham and 94 yards and a couple of cutbacks later gave ECSU a 24-14 advantage.
Brett Symonds put ECSU up 27-14 with his second field goal of the day from 29 yards out with 10:59 remaining in the game.
However the Panthers were not done yet. In a drive that began at their own 2 yard line, VUU orchestrated an 8 play, 98 yard drive capped by a Jerrell Washington 2 yard touchdown to pull the Panthers within six (27-21) with 4:15 left in the game. On the ensuing Panther kickoff, a squib kick bounced off an ECSU player and Virginia Union was in business, recovering the mishandled ball at the Viking 37 yard line.
The Panthers had 1st and 10 at the Viking 14 yard line before quarterback Kenneth Graham was hit for a loss of 8 yards by Brad Davis, pushing VUU back to the ECSU 22. An incomplete pass later, the Panthers called a timeout with 49 seconds left, facing 4 down with 18 yards to go. Graham's final pass of the game was pressured by Davis, tipped in the ECSU secondary and appeared to fall into the hands of VUU's Denzel Duchenne. Much the relief of ECSU fans and to the chagrin of the Panthers, the wide open Duchenne dropped the ball in the end zone and ECSU took over with 39 seconds remaining.
In his final game at Roebuck Stadium, All American Daronte McNeill went for 145 yards and two rushing scores. His two touchdowns came in the opening quarter giving the Vikings an early 14-0 less than nine minutes into the game.
ECSU will wrap up the regular season at Bowie State University on Saturday, November 3rd. Game time is scheduled for 1:30pm at Bulldog Stadium. For more information on ECSU Athletics, visit www.ecsuvikings.com and follow on Twitter @ECSUVikings.