Vikings roll past the Broncos 43-31 at the Down East Viking Football Classic

April Emory
September 18, 2006 ROCKY MOUNT, NC- In what can only be described as a total team effort, the Elizabeth City State University football team upended the Fayetteville State University Broncos 43-31 Saturday night at the 9th Annual Down East Viking Football Classic. ECSU, who is now off to its first 3-0 start sine 1995, can now celebrate their second win at the Down East Classic. Their first victory came in 2003 when they defeated N.C. Central 25-23. With the win the Vikings snap a losing streak to the Broncos that dates back to 1995 when ECSU last defeated FSU 22-7. Until Saturday, the Broncos had been perfect (4-0) at the Rocky Mount Athletic Complex where they served as the inaugural guest on September 12, 1998. The tone for the high scoring affair would be established within the first six minutes of the game. After the game's opening drive by the Broncos was punted away, ECSU was able to jump on the board first when Billy Wiggins, II returned the punt 71 yards for a 7-0 Viking lead. On FSU's ensuing possession they returned the favor when a 13-yard touchdown run by Calvin Harris capped an 8-play, 80 yard drive for a 7-7 tie. The Broncos would capture their first lead of the day via a 32-yard field goal by Eric Lamoureux with 6:22 remaining in the first quarter. To close out an exciting opening quarter, it took only one play for the Vikings to regain the lead when Curtis Rich, Jr. caught Chris Carter in stride for a 75-yard touchdown and a 13-10 lead after a fumble extra point attempt. In the second stanza, the Broncos would get their final lead of the evening on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Jay Autry to Daryl Barnett. The Broncos were threatening again when an Autry pass was intercepted by Dwight Richardson at the Viking 10-yard line. The Vikings were able to take advantage by marching down the field with a 12-play 75 yard scoring drive that was capped off by a 7-yard TD reception by Lonnie Davis with 8 second remaining before the intermission. The second half would begin with Chris Carter's second score of the afternoon, a 15-yard touchdown reception, which gave ECSU a 26-17 lead. Less than two minute later the Broncos responded with 3 play, 50 yard scoring drive to pull FSU within two (26-24). Unfortunately for the Broncos (1-3, CIAA 0-1), Autry threw 3 of his 4 interceptions in the 3rd quarter (one of which led to another Viking touchdown as the quarter came to a close) to handicap FSU's chances of capitalizing on any of their momentum. On the other hand, the Vikings' momentum never waned as they added a field goal and a touchdown in the final quarter. The latter, which was a 3-yard scoring run by Brandon Fields, came as the nail in the Bronco's coffin. Just a few plays earlier FSU had the ball at their own 20 when two plays into their drive Emanuel Plummer forced a fumble that was recovered by Aaron Powell. That play capped an extraordinary evening for Plummer who finished the day with a game high 13 tackles to go along with a forced fumble, a breakup, a sack and a quarterback hurry. Dwight Richardson had two interceptions on the day while All-American Candidate Maceo Thomas, who was double teamed most of the afternoon, finished with 7 tackles, a breakup and a sack. Offensively, Curtis Rich, Jr. had a superb game passing for 255 yards and 4 touchdowns. His longest of the day was an 84-yard TD pass to Casey Owens. Chris Carter finished the day with 6 catches for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns. On the ground Brandon Fields and Dennis Hamilton effectively shared the rushing load, carrying the ball a combined 30 times for 90 and 57 yards, respectively. The Vikings (3-0, CIAA 1-0) will return to action on Saturday, September 23, 2006 as they travel to Newberry, SC to face Newberry College. Game time is slated for 1:00pm. For more information on ECSU Athletics, visit www.ecsu.edu.