VUU gets crushed by Bowie State, but still has chance for 2nd place in CIAA

10/28/2021, 6 p.m.
Virginia Union University so needed its “A” game to upset Bowie State University. Instead, it settled for a “D”—short for …
Virginia Union University #2 Bryan Epps, left, and #15 Marquis Hamilton, right, close in on Bowie State University #19 Kwincy Hall. Photo by Clement Britt

Virginia Union University so needed its “A” game to upset Bowie State University.

Instead, it settled for a “D”—short for disappointment.

Visiting Bowie State had more offense, more defense and many more points in a 27-7 victory over the Panthers that eliminated VUU from the CIAA Northern Division race.

VUU seemed primed for an upset following an impressive win at Chowan University on Oct. 16, but the Panthers’ gas tank appeared to be running on empty against the Bowie State Bulldogs.

Bowie State, with its seventh straight win, is ranked 24th in the NCAA Division II. The Bulldogs are now likely to represent the Northern Division in the CIAA Championship game in Salem on Nov. 13.

Coach Alvin Parker’s Panthers can still take second place in the Northern Division with wins at Elizabeth City State University this Saturday, Oct. 30, and against Virginia State University Saturday, Nov. 6, at home at Hovey Stadium.

VUU got in the first lick against Bowie State as wide receiver Jaiden Reavis returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown. The senior from Highland Springs High School added seven pass receptions for 109 yards.

Freshman Jada Byers, the CIAA rushing leader, settled for 45 yards on 16 tries.

Quarterback E’Mond Caldwell, filling in for normal starter Khalil Morris, had an up-and-down afternoon against a relentless rush.

A graduate student, Caldwell was 13 for 27 through the air for 180 yards, but he was intercepted twice and sacked three times. Defensively for VUU, Marquis Hamilton had nine tackles and Teyon Davis made an interception.

Aside from Reavis’ scintillating opening kickoff return, BowieState dominated the game.

The Bulldogs piled up 20 first downs to the Panthers’ 10 and outgained the home team 394 yards to 244. Bowie State controlled the ball for 36 minutes compared to VUU’s 24.

Quarterback Ja’rome Johnson was, as usual, the big show for Bowie State. The Washington, D.C., native hit 12 of 17 passes for 112 yards and ran for another 100 yards with a 20-yard touchdown.

Johnson is polishing his résumé for CIAA Offensive Player of the Year. The Bulldogs will close the regular season at Lincoln University this Saturday, Oct. 30, and at home against Elizabeth City State on Saturday, Nov. 6.

The Elizabeth City State Vikings are coming off a 32-28 win over Chowan University, but the week before, the Vikings lost 17-14 to Lincoln.

VUU will need to defeat Elizabeth City State to have a chance of finishing with a record above .500.