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Turnovers plague Central State University Marauders in 34-23 loss to Elizabeth City State (344 hits)

The Central State University Marauders dropped their season opener, 34-23, to Elizabeth City State University on Saturday afternoon.

The Marauders began the game on a high note, scoring the first 14 points. Junior quarterback Trent Mays capped off a 9 play – 68 yard drive with a 5 yard run for CSU’s first score. The offense manufactured an impressive 12 play – 85 yard drive with tight end Martell Clark making a outstretch 10-yard touchdown catch to take the 14-0 lead at the 8:28 mark of the second quarter.

ECSU responded on its next possession when running back Greg Bryan broke through the defense to the open field and went 64 yards down the sidelines for the score.

The final 6:53 of the first half concluded with a barrage of turnovers from both teams. CSU fumbled away its next possession on its own 13 yard line to give ECSU prime field position. ECSU gave the ball right back when quarterback Dequan Neal’s pass was tipped by K’Jamus Sanders and picked off by Javion Williams. The Vikings regained possession right back when Johnathan Turnage came up with a interception off a Mays pass attempt. Neither team managed to manufacture any points off the late first half turnovers as the Marauders remained ahead 14-7 at intermission.

Pinned back inside of their own 10 yard line, a mishandled snap by ECSU gave CSU a safety at the 14:28 mark. From that point on, the Vikings regained their focus and seized momentum, scoring the next 27 points. In a brief appearance, backup quarterback Navarro Price connected with Sayquan Holder for a 34 yard touchdown at the 09:20 mark of the third quarter. Neal was reinserted on the next ECSU drive and led his team on a 78 yard touchdown drive to give his team a 21-16 edge going into the fourth quarter.

After a BJ Harrington interception halted another Marauder drive, ECSU quickly marched 89 yards down the field finished by a Neal touchdown pass to Deon Yarborough. The Vikings added another touchdown at with 9:29 left on the clock when Neal found Yarborough through the air for 50 yards and ran it in himself from two yards out on the next play to increase the lead to 34-16.

CSU added a touchdown with 6:06 remaining and recovered the ensuing onside kick, but any hopes of a CSU comeback fizzled out when BJ Harrington collected his third interception of the afternoon on a tipped pass. The ECSU offense took over and successfully ran out the clock.

Neal led the way for the Viking offense throwing for 231 yards and 2 touchdowns and adding 1 rushing touchdown. On the defensive side, Harrington set a school record with 3 interceptions in a single game to go along with 7 tackles.

In his first start at quarterback, Mays stood out for CSU on the offensive side of the ball, throwing for 197 yards and 1 touchdown while rushing for 2 touchdowns. Freshman linebacker Kailen Abrams finished with 11 tackles to lead the Marauder defense.

The Marauders will regroup and prepare to travel to Clark Atlanta University next Saturday. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 6 pm.

Quotes – Central State Head Coach Cedric Pearl

“We have to be better when it comes to protecting the ball. We can’t turn the ball over five times and expect to win.”

“Our guys were unable to match the energy of ECSU in the second half. We made mistakes and they took advantage of them when it counted.”

“We evaluate our overall performance through film sessions over the next few days and work on correcting our mistakes. I expect our guys to come to practice motivated and ready to move forward to next week.”

“Entering next week, we know we are going to face another good quarterback. Coach Ramsey always does a great job with his team at Clark Atlanta. CAU had a solid win this week and will come in to next week’s game with a high level of intensity. We will be ready while continuing to place emphasis on playing disciplined football.”

Next Game:
Date: Sept. 9
Opponent: Clark Atlanta University
Time: 6 pm
Venue: CAU Panther Stadium
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Posted By: Reginald Culpepper
Tuesday, September 5th 2017 at 2:26PM
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