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Livingstone begins CIAA play at Bowie State

By Dennis Davidson

dennis.davidson@salisburypost.com

Livingstone opens its CIAA schedule at Bowie State (Md.) this evening, and even though Coach Daryl Williams is hoping to see some defense, the game has all of the makings of a shootout.

Last season, when the two teams met in Salisbury, Livingstone’s Leonardo Manzo kicked a 25-yard field goal as time expired for a thrilling, 36-33 win. The Blue Bears had tied the game at 33-all with 8:13 left on a 6-yard scoring pass from quarterback Drew Powell to wide out Jalen Hendricks.

Taking last year’s game into account and the fact that dynamic duo Powell and Hendricks are back for their senior year, tonight’s game could have some fireworks. And Bowie State will have plenty of ammunition as well.

Transfer QB Matthew Goggans, a 6-3, 225-pound graduate student, has been the CIAA “Quarterback of the Week” all three weeks in 2015. The California native has already thrown for 1,038 yards in three games, with nine TDs and just one interception. Goggan is completing 53 percent of his passes.

Bowie (2-1) defeated Merrimack (35-32) and Brevard (35-21) on the road and lost at Division I Central Connecticut State last week, 21-14.

Livingstone (1-0), after opening with a convincing, 49-6 win over Benedict, won in consecutive weeks against non-counters Virginia-Lynchburg (48-19) and Central International (40-0).

In the win over Bowie State last year, Powell passed for 329 yards and four TDs, with Hendricks being his main target, to the tune of nine catches for 114 yards. Powell, from Upper Marlboro, Md., looks at the game as a homecoming of sorts, if any extra incentive is needed.

“First and foremost, we are excited and pleased where we are right now and we’re fortunate to be healthy, except for a few nicks and bruises,” said Williams. “The last two weeks have given us a chance to see what a lot of our backups could do.”

Williams knows that the Blue Bears will have to be ready to defend Bowie State’s passing attack. Goggans threw 68 passes last week against CCSU. The Bulldogs had just four yards rushing against the FCS opponent but they did churn out 173 yards on the ground against Brevard.

“We’re playing better defense, so I don’t expect a shootout,” said Williams. “We respect Bowie, they’ve got a good coaching staff and a lot of good athletes. They like to throw the ball around, so our pass defense has got to be pretty good. I expect our secondary to do a better job than past years and not let guys run free on pass routes.”

Williams added that a pretty good rivalry has developed between the two schools, and last year’s last-second Livingstone win has only enhanced it.

“They were upset with coming down here last year and losing by a field goal at the horn,” said Williams. “They have said that they are looking forward to playing us, so we’re looking forward to being there. I expect a physical game and if it does turn into a shootout, then we’ll be ready to go at it — but we don’t need any heroes, we just need everybody taking care of his own job.”

A good matchup in the game will be the Blue Bears’ Hendricks going against Bowie State defensive back Curtis Pumphrey, a red-shirt senior. Williams was also impressed, on film, with Bowie’s senior defensive lineman Anthony McDaniel, all 6-1, 275 pounds of him.

“Our offensive line held its own against them last year and we’ve challenged them all week to keep Drew clean when he’s in the pocket,” added Williams.

Tonight’s game will mark the 30th overall meeting between the Blue Bears and Bulldogs and Livingstone College leads the series, 18-11. However, Bowie has won four of the last six meetings with Livingstone.

The teams are 8-8 in games played at Bowie, and Livingstone has not won there since a 42-14 decision in 1999. That game was played before 5,355 fans, the second largest crowd in the series’ history.

The two schools met for the first time in 1973, won by Livingstone, 43-0. The Blue Bears won eight of the first 10 games played between the two rivals.

Note: Livingstone left Thursday at midnight. Williams said the team will do some sight-seeing on Friday, with possible stops at the Washington Monument and the Washington Redskins’ stadium … “We’ve put the work in during the week so that when we get there, we can just relax and play football.”

 

 

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