GREENSBURG, Pa. – The Bowie State University football team opened the 2017 season with a 48-7 road victory at Seton Hill University on Saturday afternoon at Offutt Field.
The victory broke a two-game series skid for the Bulldogs (1-0) who had lost the previous two matchups with Griffins heading into Saturday.
Junior Amir Hall threw for 361 yards and five touchdowns on 23-of-26 passing. Hall, the 2016 CIAA Offensive Player of the Year also accounted for 50 rushing yards, second best on the team.
Junior co-captain Derrick Tate tallied a team-best five solo tackles (six total) while junior teammate John Johnson, IV (Washington, D.C.) and redshirt sophomore Tommar Phillips (Lanham, Md.) added five total tackles each for Bowie State.
Redshirt senior Robert Chesson (Annapolis, Md.) rushed for 77 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries to carry most of the load for the Bulldogs, while junior transfer Lansana Sesay (Bowie, Md.) caught seven passes for a game-high 148 yards in his Bulldogs debut.
As a team, Bowie State amassed 599 total yards of offense (382 passing and 217 rushing) and the Bulldogs defense held Seton Hill to just 151 yards of total (39 passing and 112 rushing). The one glaring negative statistic for Bowie State was penalties as the Bulldogs were penalized 17 times for 175 yards.
“We’re very happy to start the season 1-0 but extremely disappointed in the number of penalties we had today”, said Bowie State head coach Damon Wilson. When asked what was the most impressive part about the teams play, Wilson said “Our overall effort was outstanding!”
Seton Hill scored the first points of the season as Evan Byrd rumbled 66-yards for the touchdown. Santiago Henao added the extra point for the early 7-0 lead at the 13:55 mark of the first quarter.
Bowie State responded when Hall connected with Clark from 16 yards out with 6:45 to go in the opening quarter. Sophomore Gene Carson (Accokeek, Md.) added the extra point to tie the game at 7-all. The Hall and Clark duo teamed up again at the 3:55 mark, this time for a 62-yard pass, catch and score. Carson’s extra point gave the Bulldogs a 14-7 advantage.
The Bulldogs pushed its lead to 21-7, this time on the legs of Hall, as he rushed down the sideline for a 15-yard score with 8:13 remaining in the second quarter. Hall goes deep again, connecting with Sesay for a 57-yard touchdown, pushing the Bulldogs lead to 28-7 over Seton Hill.
Bowie State accumulated 339 yards in total offense in the first half compared to 140 yards for Seton Hill. Penalties were a sore spot for the Bulldogs in the first 30 minutes as Bowie State was flagged 10 times for 95 yards.
Bowie State added six more points early in the third quarter (11:56) when Hall found redshirt senior Kerrick Pollock (Miami, Fla.) wide open in the back corner of the Griffins end zone, extending the Bulldogs lead to 34-7.
Chesson punched it in from 1-yard out and Carson converted the extra point at the 7:29 mark of the third quarter, to give Bowie State a comfortable 41-7 cushion. Redshirt junior Adam Gillis, Jr. scored his first points of the new year, strolling in for a 9-yard rushing touchdown, padding the Bulldogs at 48-7 at the 2:49 mark.
Other top statistical players for Bowie State include redshirt sophomore Geordan Clark (White Plains, Md.) with 85 reception yards and Pollock added 68 reception yards. Redshirt junior Brandon Abrams (Bowie, Md.) finished with 55 rushing yards.
Seton Hill’s Byrd was his teams’ top offensive player with 67 rushing yards. Noah Davis and Fadan Allen were the Griffins’ leading tacklers with seven apiece.
The Bulldogs will hit the road next week when they head to the defending CIAA Champions of Winston-Salem (N.C.) State University to battle the Rams in Bowman-Gray Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m. and will be carried live on the ESPN3 app. Winston-Salem State defeated #19 UNC Pembroke 34-31 on Thursday (8/31) afternoon.