College football: Turnovers, once again, hurt Livingstone
WSSU 34, Livingstone 17
First downs 21 16
Rushing yardage 134 204
Passing yardage 281 205
Passing (C-A-I) 23-45-0 13-23-0
Punting 5-40.2 3-38
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties 3-15 6-52
Livingstone 0 3 0 14 — 17
Winston-Salem 7 10 10 7 — 34
WS — Greene 59 run (Suarez kick), 10:30, 1st
WS — Suarez FG 25, 14:55, 2nd
LC — Manzo FG 27, 10:10, 2nd
WS — Felder 105 kick return (Suarez kick), 9:55, 2nd
WS — Johnson FG 43, 7:31, 3rd
WS — Felder 10 pass from Sims (Suarez kick), 0:00, 3rd
LC — Higgins 1 pass from Powell (kick failed), 11:00, 4th
WS — Felder 60 pass from Sims (Suarez kick), 9:00, 4th
LC — Hendricks 26 pass from Powell (Hendricks pass from Powell), 5:08, 4th
Rushing — Livingstone: Powell 24-85, Clawsondy 14-39, Green 3-10. Winston-Salem State: Greene 11-97, Johnson 5-66, Lewis 8-49, Massey 3-15.
Passing — Livingstone: Powell 23-44-0, 281; Hendricks 0-1-0. Winston-Salem State: Sims 12-20-0, 181; Johnson 1-3-0, 24.
Pass receiving — Livingstone: Higgins 8-94, Hendricks 6-67, Bowden 3-79, Brown 3-9. Winston-Salem State: Caver 4-43, Felder 3-83, Benis 2-30, Williams 2-18.
By David Shaw
WINSTON-SALEM — Livingstone’s tune is still getting plenty of airplay around the CIAA, but it slipped in the charts Saturday.
The Blue Bears once again hurt themselves with turnovers — this time it was two lost fumbles in the second half — and fell 34-17 at Winston-Salem State.
“We can’t beat good football teams making the mistakes we made,” coach Daryl Williams said. “This game, more than any, we beat ourselves. Anyone who saw the game can tell you that.”
It was the third time Livingstone (5-3, 2-3) lost at Bowman-Gray Stadium in four October games.
Livingstone outgained the 15th-ranked Rams 415-409, but it failed to reach the end zone until the fourth quarter.
“We had a couple of good chances,” quarterback Drew Powell said. “That’s what makes this so hard. It’s a game we could have won.”
Instead the Blue Bears were left scratching their heads, pondering what might have been. Powell provided another strong effort, completing 23 of 44 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Austin Higgins made eight receptions for 94 yards. And the Livingstone defense recorded three sacks and limited Southern Division leader WSSU (7-1, 4-0) to 16 first downs. But none of that matched the impact of Livingstone’s 25th and 26th turnovers.
“It could have gone a whole lot better,” freshman Jerrod Brown said. “We made mistakes. And nine times out of 10 the team with fewer turnovers wins the game.”
The Blue Bears trailed 17-3 at the half despite taking just 14 snaps in WSSU territory. Five were in the red zone on a second-quarter drive that ended with Leonardo Manzo’s 27-yard field goal. Seconds later Winston-Salem State’s Brendan Felder, a North Carolina transfer, returned the ensuing kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown, deflating LC beyond recovery.
“Guys over-pursued, got out of their lanes and the kid ran it back,” Williams said. “But that was just one play. We made a ton of mistakes.”
Brown, a member of Livingstone’s special teams, offered more insight.
“Everybody’s got their own job to do,” he said. “When you don’t do it, that’s what happens. When the play is there you’ve got to make it.”
Opportunity knocked again when the Blue Bears took the second-half kickoff and marched deep into Winston-Salem State territory. Powell’s 67-yard completion to Higgins put the ball on the Rams’ 12 and two running plays moved it to gates of the end zone. But on second-and-goal from the 1, running back Anthony Green juggled a pitch and fumbled over the goal line. Winston-Salem State’s James Hickman recovered.
“It was a decent pitch,” Powell said. “It’s just something that’s not supposed to happen. But, it’s football, and that one didn’t help.”
The takeaway springboarded the Rams to a mid-quarter field goal. Livingstone’s deficit ballooned to 27-3 when quarterback Phillip Sims lobbed a 10-yard TD pass to Felder on the last play of the third period. Powell brought the Blue Bears back to life in the final quarter, tossing touchdown passes to Higgins and Jalen Hendricks. Sandwiched between them was Sims’ 60-yard scoring pass to the wide-open Felder, who outran the Blue Bears’ secondary for a 34-9 lead with nine minutes to play.
Winning coach Kienus Boulware, a Livingstone assistant in 1997-98, felt a key was preventing Hendricks (6 catches/67 yards) and Powell from turning the game into an aerial circus.
“We identified Nos. 1 and 2 as the key guys here,” he said. “We put pressure on (Powell), but he still managed to hurt us with his scrambling and his arm.”
Higgins chose only to look at the result.
“Mental mistakes,” he said. “All those little things we didn’t do. That’s what beat us today.”
NOTES: There was more bad news for the Blue Bears. Hendricks suffered a possible fracture of his left index finger while diving for an incompletion with 4:15 remaining. His TD catch was his 12th of the season. … Linebacker Kenneth White had eight tackles, 1.5 sacks and two tackles-for-loss for Livingstone.
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