BLUEFIELD, West Virginia — The Central State Marauders were edged on the road by the Bluefield State Blues on Saturday, 27-23.
The loss drops the Marauders to 1-2 overall while BSU improved to 2-1 on the year.
The Marauder moved the ball effectively down the field but failed to score any points in its final four trips to the red zone in the second half. CSU also fumbled the ball away twice with one giveaway resulting in a score.
The scoring began on CSU’s first turnover. A high snap bounced away from punter Hamady Diallo and BSU’s Reggie Redman recovered the ball and ran 14-yards for the opening score. The Marauders bounced back on the next possession as quarterback Brandon Kyles connected on deep passes of 40-yards to Brandon Brock and 34-yards to Twon Hines to set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Aaron Kennebrew with 13:54 to play in the opening half.
BSU took a seven point lead with 2:13 left before the break with a 8-play, 56 yard drive capped off by a one-yard run by Jahdi Loftland.
After fumbling the ball away after a big pass play in their first possession of the second half, Kyles struck again throw the air on a 54-yard pitch and catch to Hines and a 20-yard touchdown pass to Brock to knot the score, 14-14, at the 10:40 mark.
BSU answered with a 75-yard touchdown drive on its next possession ending with a pass from Wyatt Freeman to Perry Wilder from 12-yards out with 8:17 on the clock. The score was tied again 15 seconds later as Hines took the ensuing kickoff 92-yards for the touchdown.
CSU’s next two possessions resulted in missed field goal attempts of 32 and 33 yards with one attempt bouncing off the left post.
The Marauders appeared poised to claim the lead midway through the fourth quarter after recovering a fumble on a botched punt return gave CSU the ball at the BSU 27-yard line. CSU marched down to the one-yard line but failed to punch it in. After two failed field goals on its previous possessions, the Marauders opted to go for the score on fourth down but an inaccurate pass resulted in a turnover on downs with 7:17 left in the game.
Pinned back on their own six yard-line, BSU stunned the Marauders on third down as Freeman scrambled in his own endzone and found a wide open Khyon Smith for a 94-yard touchdown and the lead with 6:16 remaining. CSU’s Chazz Hunter managed to block the extra point attempt and Malik Johnson returned the ball for the rare defensive two-point conversion to make the score 27-23 in favor of BSU.
On the next possession, CSU threatened to score again as the offense went 64 yards and reached the BSU 11-yard line. Needing a touchdown, the Marauders came up empty on its next four pass attempts and gave the ball back to BSU with 2:53 left. After BSU struggled to run the clock, the Marauders regained possession at the BSU 46-yard line with 60 seconds left. On the first play of the drive, Kyles narrowly missed a streaking Micah Lowe for the potential game winner as the ball hit the ground passed Lowe’s outstretched arms. BSU managed to come up with the necessary stops in the final seconds of the game and went on celebrate the home field victory.