Byrum, defense lift Vikings past Golden Bulls w/Video

Elizabeth City St. 20 Johnson C. Smith 17


By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Saturday, September 23, 2017

In the past two weeks, the Elizabeth City State defense has been porous.

Entering Saturday afternoon's Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association opener against visiting Johnson C. Smith, ECSU had allowed 42.6 points per game.

The ECSU defense came to play against the Golden Bulls as the Vikings secured a 20-17 win at Roebuck Stadium.

The Viking defense held Johnson C. Smith (0-4, 0-1 CIAA) to 294 yards of total offense and only allow the Golden Bulls to only convert on three out of 15 third downs in the contest.

“Defense played an outstanding game,” ECSU head coach Earnest Wilson said.

Holding a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter, the Vikings needed another defensive stand from the unit.

With the Golden Bulls on their own 30-yard line on 4th and three, the Vikings forced JCSU quarterback Terrance Ervin to throw an incomplete pass for the turnover on downs.

The Vikings were able to run out the clock to secure the win.

ECSU (3-1, 1-0 CIAA) had plenty of players step up defensively. Jonathan Turnage led the Vikings with nine tackles, while Vincent Thomas posted two sacks.

ECSU had contributions in special teams as the Vikings blocked a punt, while punter Fisher McInville played a key role in forcing the Golden Bulls to move the ball on long drives with the placement of his punts.

“Every kick is a new kick,” McInville said. “When we get the ball down at the 1-yard line, it's the best feeling in the world.”

Offensively, the Vikings got off to a decent start in the first quarter.

ECSU took a 7-0 lead on a 4-yard run by Neal on an apparent designed roll out to his left.

The Vikings went up 14-0 on a Chase Byrum 4-yard touchdown run.

Byrum's score was set up by a Daquan Neal to Deon Yarborough pitch and catch inside the JCSU 10-yard line.

Yarborough led the Vikings with 54 receiving yards, while Neal threw for 211 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

“We came out strong,” Byrum said. “It was an ugly win, but it is a win.”

Byrum shared carries with Victor Greene in the contest.

“They did a great job,” Wilson said. “I'm extremely proud of them.”

Both received increased workload with top backs Gregory Bryan and Deshon Saunders out of the lineup.

Byrum was appreciative of the coach giving him the opportunity.

“It meant a lot,” Byrum said. The running back led the team with 52 yards and added 36 receiving yards.

He also gave credit to his offensive line.

“The boys work hard,” he said. “They do not take plays off. They don't get enough credit.”

The Golden Bulls got on the scoreboard in the second quarter on an Ervin 3-yard touchdown pass to Desmond Dozier.

The pass by Ervin was just past the outstretch arm of Turnage.

A Brandon Howard field goal cut ECSU's lead to 14-11 at halftime.

JCSU took a 17-14 lead in the third on an Ervin 38-yard pass to Dozier.

On the play, it appeared to be a missed assignment defensively by the Vikings as Dozier was wide open.

On the next drive, the Vikings took the lead for good as Neal scrambled and found Byrum in the back corner of the end zone for a 26-yard scoring connection.

Following next week's game vs. Shaw, ECSU will be home for two consecutive weeks as they will host Virginia State on Oct. 7 and Lincoln (Pa.) on Oct. 14.