Vikings Victorious Over Broncos in 20th Annual Down East Vikings Football Classic

Sept. 16, 2017

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. -- The Elizabeth City State University football team gained 510 yards of total offense in 79 plays to defeat the Fayetteville State University Broncos, 45-42 in the 20th Annual Down East Vikings Football Classic at the Rocky Mount Municipal Sports Complex, Saturday evening.

With the win, the Vikings improve to 2-1; while FSU falls to 1-2 on the season. Also, it was the first time since 2010 that Elizabeth City State defeated FSU in this Classic.

With 8:37 remaining in the ballgame, FSU's Brandon Smith returned a 90-yard kickoff, tying the game at 42-all. Senior quarterback Daquan Neal and the ECSU offense marched the ball down the field using 10-plays, 36-yards, and every bit of 5:35 of the game clock to setup kicker Joshua Laverty for the game-winning field goal with 2:50 remaining in the contest.

The Elizabeth City State defense held FSU's offense on its final drive to claim the moral victory. A back and forth scoring contest, junior running back Gregory Bryan got things started for the Vikings, scoring on a 53-yard touchdown pass from Neal in the opening seven minutes of the contest.

Freshman Greg Williams added a blocked punt that went out the back of the end zone, giving ECSU a slight 9-7 advantage. Laverty recorded a 26-yard field goal with 2:38 remaining in the first quarter, gifting the Vikings a 12-7 lead. The Broncos came rushing back with a score of their own and with 2:15 remaining in the first quarter on a 50-yard run from scrimmage, making it a 14-12 contest.

The Vikings once again answered, when Neal connected with sophomore running back Deshon Saunders on a 23-yard touchdown pass play, taking a 19-14 lead. FSU returned the favor by recording two more touchdowns before the half, taking a 28-19 lead into halftime.

Elizabeth City State's defense came out of halftime on fire, making two huge stops; which eventually led to points and regaining a 29-28 lead over the Broncos. The Vikings never looked back. A basket catch by sophomore tight end Carlton Evans from Neal gave ECSU a seven point deficit over FSU. The Broncos would drive 66-yards down the field using only one play to knot the game up at 35-all.

Saunders added another score for the Vikings, making it a 42-35 contest. Fayetteville State's running back Stevie Green was named Offensive Player of the Game after finishing with 255 yards on 23 carries; while ECSU's Miacah Cooper was named Defensive Player of the Game with 5.5 tackles. Neal finished with four touchdowns, 355 yards passing, on 31 completions in 44 attempts.

The Vikings return home to host Johnson C. Smith next Saturday in Roebuck Stadium. Game time is slated for 1 p.m.

Follow Elizabeth City State Athletics via its official website at: to get pre and post-game stories and updates. Also follow us on twitter at: @ECSUVikings and on Instagram: @ecsusports