Bowie State @Chowan University
Keys to Victory
By Anthony Vieira
Coming off a bye week, the 5-4 Bulldogs hit the road to face the 3-6 Chowan University Hawks on Nov.6 in the regular season finale. This would be a huge game for BSU, a game in which it had to win in order to have a shot to play in the CIAA Championship. With both Virginia State and Bowie leading the Northern Division at 5-1(conference record), this was simply a game of pride for Chowan (3-3 conference record). Here were my keys to victory going into the game.
Offense: Attack, attack, attack! Chowan is coming off an embarrassing 55-14 loss to Elizabeth City. The week before that game, it was blown out 35-14 by Shaw University. If the Bulldogs want to hand the Hawks a third consecutive loss, it must be able to exploit that defense. The
Hawks have given up a dreadful 39.3 points per game, and have allowed opposing rushers 5.8 yards per carry. Through the air, opposing quarterbacks average 7.8 yards per pass attempt.
Coach Wilson has to be licking his chops, because there are so many ways to attack this defense. Maybe BSU will spread the ball around and take shots deep down the field. QB Clifton
Budd has certainly been outstanding when the ball is in his hands. Maybe the coaching staff is planning to pound the ball with Tariq Jones and Ramono Flowers. Either way may be effective, bu I believe the Bulldogs will be most successful with a balanced attack. A healthy mixture of runs and passes will keep the Chowan defense off balance, setting up big plays. The fact that this game is on the road makes it even more important that BSU gets off to a good start. Fortunately, the Hawks have been outscored 96-28 in the 1st quarter this season.
Defense: Although Bowie State and Chowan University average around the same points per game, (20.7 and 18.7 respectively) the records of these two teams are significantly different. The stop unit of BSU has been the difference this season. This defense has played extremely well, and have only allowed an average of 16.7 points per game. The Hawks have struggled running
the football all season long, averaging just 2.1 yards per carry. This spells trouble for Chowan,
because the Bulldogs have been very stout against the run this season ( 2.8 yards per carry). If
the Bulldogs can put the clamps on the ground game, the Hawks will have to move the chains
aerially. Chowan has had some success when throwing the football this season, but the Bulldog
defense will be up to the task. Opposing offenses have only averaged 5.5 yards per pass attempt
against the Bulldogs. But the greatest challenge the defense faces is shutting down WR Robert
Holland. Holland is the Hawks leading receiver with 57 receptions, 731 yards, and 7
touchdowns. The stop unit will certainly need to pay close attention to this WR. If the Bulldogs
can stop the run, generate constant pressure on QB Ryan Simpson, and shut down Holland, it
will be another strong defensive outing.
Prediction: Bowie State is the better football team, but it cannot afford to underestimate
Chowan. Despite the team's 3-6 record, it is 2-1 in home games this season. The lone home loss
is a close game (20-13 loss) to Northern Division leader Virginia State. But even with that being
said, I really don't think Chowan stands a chance in this matchup. This game means more to
the Bulldogs. A win and a Virginia State loss would put BSU in the CIAA Championship Game.
The players want to win and Coach Wilson will have the team pumped up. 28-7 Bulldogs