VALDOSTA, Ga. — After making program history a week ago, the No. 10 Bowie State Bulldogs historical 2021 season came to an end with a 41-17 loss to the No. 5 Blazers of Valdosta State in the NCAA DII Quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.
The Bulldogs found themselves on the unfavorable side of an offensive struggle with the Blazers who held BSU to 72 rushing yards and 149 passing yards for a total offense of 221 on the day. VSU accounted for 533-yards of total offense, featuring 348 through the air and 185 on the ground. Senior Ja’rome Johnson went 14-of-28 in pass completions for 149-yards and two touchdowns while senior Calil Wilkins finished with 62-rushing yards on 15 carries and senior Isaiah Rainey-Nix () grabbed three catches for 50-yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, sophomore Jordan Carter led the way with nine total tackles, including six solo while graduate senior Myles Wolfolk and graduate senior Simeon Gatling collected eight tackles apiece, respectively.
VSU jumped out to a 14-0 lead over the Bulldogs in the opening quarter, the Blazers scored the game’s first touchdown on a 26-yard reception scoot from Ivory Durham to Brian Saunds at the 12:20 mark, followed by a Durham to Lio’undre Gallimore 39-yard link with 6:19 on the game clock.
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The Bulldogs cut the first-quarter deficit to 11 when freshman Alen Omerhodzic capitalized on a 35-yard field goal to give BSU three (14-3) in the second quarter with 13:35 showing. However, on the ensuing drive, VSU used a seven-play drive worth 65-yards to go ahead 21-3 at the 10:53 mark.
With under six minutes remaining in the first half, Johnson dumped a pass to Rainey-Nix for a nine-yard reception that brought the Bulldogs within 11 again (21-10) but Valdosta State scored on a 23-yard reception that would give the Blazers a 28-10 lead at halftime over Bowie State.
The Bulldogs went scoreless in the third quarter while VSU strung together a pair of scores that featured a five-yard rushing touchdown from Seth McGill and a 24-yard field goal from Estin Thiele to stretch their lead 38-10 with 4:15 remaining in the third stanza.
Sophomore Raymond Boone caught his second interception on the day in the last two minutes of the third quarter that hoped to provide some spark offensively heading into the fourth quarter but after a three and out for the Bulldogs to start the fourth, VSU set up a 12-play drive (58-yards) for a 24-yard field goal with 6:44 left.
Bowie State saw the end zone for the second time on the day when Johnson set up sophomore Kwincy Hall for a 17-yard reception touchdown but that would be the last time any team scored as the Blazers took over on the final drive in winning formation as time expired.
The Bulldogs end their season with a 12-2 record, making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA DII Quarterfinals.
Courtesy: Bowie State Athletics