College football: Livingstone at home vs. Shaw on Saturday
By Mike London
SALISBURY — Livingstone’s long losing skid ended last week with a 21-7 victory against St. Augustine’s.
It’s going to be a challenge to make it two wins in a row. The Blue Bears will be three-touchdown underdogs when they host Shaw at Alumni Memorial Stadium this Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
It’s only mid-October, but this is the last home game. LC only has four this season. They’ll be on the road at Winston-Salem State, Fayetteville State and Johnson C. Smith.
The Blue Bears (1-5, 1-2) might be playing Shaw (3-3, 2-1) at an opportune time. Shaw took a wet and draining home loss last week, falling 15-12 on a late field goal against Fayetteville State in a matchup of what are perceived to be the CIAA Southern Division’s top two teams.
Shaw’s CIAA victories have come against Virginia State, which is down some, and winless Lincoln. So there are reasons to be optimistic about Livingstone making this a lot more exciting than prognosticators expect.
Livingstone did a lot right last week. There were three fumble recoveries and four sacks by the defense. There also was a special teams touchdown.
Shaw has been excellent in the turnover department — plus-5. That puts Shaw in the top 25 nationally in Division II. Shaw has turned it over nine times while picking off six passes and pouncing on eight fumbles by opponents. Shaw’s defense is good and ranks second overall in the CIAA.
Shaw’s other strength is its running game. Freshman back Sidney Gibbs lead the CIAA in rushing with 87 carries for 520 yards. He ranks 35th nationally in rushing yards per game.
Shaw QB Peters Christian has been decent, with seven touchdown passes and five interceptions.
Shaw basically has scored twice as many points as the Blue Bears while allowing half as many points, but Livingstone’s lopsided losses to extra strong Bowie State (5-1) and Savannah State (5-1) skew the numbers some. The Blue Bears are probably better now than they appear on paper.
The Blue Bears have found a running game with Tecorey Tutson, who is now seventh in the CIAA in rushing with 221 yards. That helps.
Livingstone has been pretty solid in its last three halves of football.
If the Blue Bears can win the turnover battle again, it could get interesting on Saturday.