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Livingstone-J.C. Smith preview

LIVINGSTONE (2-7, 1-5 CIAA) at J.C. SMITH (2-7, 2-4)

The Commemorative Classic 

Charlotte — Irwin Belk Complex — Today, 1:00 p.m.

Video and live stats available at www.goldenbullsports.com

   COACHES: Livingstone — Daryl Williams’ record is 15-23, in his 4th season. Prior to joining Livingstone, Williams was an assistant at Alabama State (2001-07) and Texas Southern (2007-2011). JCSU — Kermit Blount is in his second season with the Golden Bulls and has been a collegiate head coach for 23 years, with an overall record of 112-129-3. Blount’s teams were 61-31-2 during 17 seasons at Winston-Salem State (1993-2009).  He also coached four seasons at Delaware State (2011-14).

LAST WEEK: The Blue Bears fell behind, 22-0, to Fayetteville State on the road, scored 22 points of their own in the third period, but came up short, 43-28. Livingstone gained 383 total yards for a good offensive showing, but the defense allowed 481 yards to the Broncos. FSU had 290 yards passing and put the game away with two fourth-quarter TD throws. Livingstone running back Jarius Richardson totaled 130 yards rushing, including a 75-yard scoring play.

The Golden Bulls jumped out to a 24-0 lead and coasted to a 34-8 victory over St. Augustine’s in Charlotte. JCSU’s success was all on the ground, rushing for 218 yards against the Falcons while attempting just nine passes during the entire game, QB Gabriel Yuille completing four throws for just 29 yards. The Bulls’ kicker, Brandon Howard, booted three FGs, one from 49 yards.

LAST YEAR: Livingstone won in the mud at Alumni Memorial Stadium in Salisbury, 35-12. The Golden Bulls led at halftime, 12-7, thanks to an 89-yard kickoff return by JCSU’s Fred Scott. But the Blue Bears’ defense was strong in the second half, and forced five turnovers for the game, including a 55-yard pick six from linebacker DeMarcus Nolan that iced the victory.

Livingstone’s All-CIAA quarterback-receiver combo of Drew Powell and Jalen Hendricks concluded their careers in style, connecting for two touchdowns. Powell completed 21 of 33 passes for 269 yards — with a wet, muddy football. Hendricks caught six passes for 79 yards and the two scores.

SERIES: This is now called the Commemorative Classic, honoring the first football meeting of two historically black colleges in the nation. JCSU was known as Biddle College when the two schools met in Salisbury on Livingstone’s front lawn, to play football on a snowy Dec. 27, 1892. Biddle won that first game, 5-0.

The two schools do not agree on how many games there have been in the series, probably due to different record-keeping methods in the early years. The Post’s research results show 79 previous meetings, including Livingstone’s 35-12 victory last year. The Golden Bulls lead the series, 45-31-3.

The Blue Bears’ win last season snapped a six-game JCSU winning streak in the series. Livingstone also had a six-game winning streak in the series, 1994-1999. The longest streak belongs to JCSU, which did not lose to Livingstone from 1928-1967, though the schools did not play every year back then. That period saw 16 wins by the Bulls (10 in a row) and three ties —1929 (0-0), 1957 (19-19) and 1966 (13-13).

Livingstone dominated the series during the Biddle College years, winning eight of the 10 games. The Charlotte college’s named was changed to Johnson C. Smith in 1922.

WATCH FOR: The Blue Bears are eighth in the 12-team CIAA in points per game, averaging 18.7. JCSU is 10th with 16.7 points per game. When it comes to total offense per game, the Bulls are dead last in the conference with 212 yards. That number ranks JCSU’s offense 168th out of 170 in NCAA Division II. Livingstone is eighth in the CIAA, averaging 305 yards each time out.

Livingstone’s defense is ranked fourth-best in the CIAA, allowing 342 yards of total offense per game. However, the Blue Bears allow 32.4 points per game, some of which has to be blamed on the offense’s 24 turnovers, 161st worst in the Division II. The Bulls have 22 turnovers of their own.

JCSU allows an average of 32.8 points per game, so today’s game could be a shootout — depending, of course, on turnovers.

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