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Livingstone-JCSU preview box

JOHNSON C. SMITH (1-8, 1-5 CIAA) at LIVINGSTONE (0-9, 0-6 CIAA)

Commemorative Classic — Alumni Memorial Stadium — Livingstone campus — Today, 1:00 p.m.

Live stats:  www.bluebearathletics.com

LAST WEEK: Livingstone lost a heartbreaker at home to Fayetteville State, 28-26, yielding a late TD to the Broncos. The Blue Bears had one last possession but could not get into field goal range. J.C. Smith managed only four first downs and 75 yards total offense in a 24-0 loss at St. Augustine’s.

COACHES: Livingstone — Daryl Williams’ record is 15-33, in his fifth season. He is a graduate of Tennessee State, where he was All-OVC as a quarterback. JCSU — Kermit Blount is in his third season and his record with the Charlotte school is 8-21. Prior to coming to JCSU, he served as head coach for five years at Delaware State. Before that, Blount was at Winston-Salem State, where his teams were 91-87-3.

SERIES:  At stake is the Commemorative Classic trophy, a 20-pound monument that has resided in a J.C. Smith display case since the Golden Bulls outscored the Blue Bears, 30-8, last Nov. 5 in Charlotte.

Smith leads the all-time series, 46-31, with three ties, since the rivalry launched on Dec. 27, 1892. JCSU — known as Biddle Memorial Institute until 1922 — prevailed, 5-0, that afternoon on Livingstone’s snow-blanketed front lawn.

WORTH MENTIONING: The most points scored by Livingstone against JCSU came in a 49-25 win in 1995. On the flip side, the Bulls beat Livingstone, 83-6, in 1964.

KEY PLAYERS: Livingstone — Senior running back Jarius Richardson, who missed two games with an ankle injury, returned on Oct. 7, left last week’s game early with another leg injury.  The leading rusher for the past two seasons, Richardson, unfortunately, has just 330 yards in this injury-plagued season.

Sophomore running back Justin Ruffin, of Salisbury, rushed for 99 yards against FSU after Richardson went out. Ruffin has taken over the team lead with 399 yards this season, and averages 50 yards per game. Ruffin also has 10 catches out of the backfield for 80 yards, including a long of 22 yards.

Quarterback Xavier Longerbeam has missed two games with injuries but has thrown for 665 yards while completing 56 percent of his passes (72-for-128). He has two TD passes and three interceptions. Another QB, Thaddeus Bell, has passed for 596 yards on 71-of-124 throws. Bell has five scoring passes and four interceptions. Two of Bell’s scoring tosses came last week against the Broncos.

Everett Ransom leads the Livingstone’s receiving corps with 34 catches for 428 yards, including three touchdowns. Spencer Ludin has 31 grabs for 277 yards and one TD. Andrew Gamble has 20 catches for 263 yards and a score, while Jordan Cartwright has 17 for 116.

On defense, lineman Armond Cox leads the team with 47 tackles, including 11.5 for losses. Linebacker-safety Jarod Richardson follows with 46 stops and he also has 11 tackles for loss and a 22-yard interception return for a touchdown against St. Augustine’s.

Defensive back Elems Ukwu has 34 tackles and two interceptions. Freshman defensive back Walter Watkins also has 36 tackles and two INTs. Kevin Williams leads the team with three interceptions and Gregory Hines has two. Blake Hickman returned an interception for a touchdown against WSSU.

Livingstone averages 15.7 points and 280 yards per game. The Blue Bears have averaged allowing 37.3 points and 366 yards per game.

JCSU — The Bulls’ leading rusher for the season, Jachin Watkins, has just 263 yards — an average of 33 per game and 2.7 per carry.

The Bulls rely on he pass and quarterback Terrance Ervin has thrown for 945 yards and for TDs. He has completed 47 percent of his passes (85-of-182) and has thrown seven INTs.

Ervin’s favorite target has been receiver Roderick Carter (14 catches for 181 yards).

On defense, the JCSU is led by senior defensive back Carlo Thomas, who has 53 tackles and one interception.

As a team, JCSU averages 11.3 points and 205 yards per game. The Bulls have allowed 28 points per game and 336 yards each time out.

NEXT WEEK: The CIAA Championship game will be played on Saturday, Nov. 11, in Salem, Va. The winner of the the league’s Northern Division will battle the Southern Division’s representative.

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