Sep. 12—ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — Down by six points after three periods of play, Bluefield State College scored the only 14 points of the fourth quarter to pick up its first football win in 41 years, defeating the Elizabeth City State Vikings 35-27 on Saturday afternoon.
Quarterback J'Rell Joseph threw for 232 yards and four touchdowns for Bluefield State (1-1). Perry Wilder had five receptions for 87 yards, including a 75-yard catch-and-run for a crucial touchdown.
The Big Blue defense limited their hosts to 4 of 13 on third-down conversion tries. Xavier Curry was in on nine tackles, with seven solo stops, two tackles for loss of yardage and an interception. Jhordan Inniss had nine solo tackles and a pass breakup.
Eshawn Carter and Justin McElveen picked off passes in the second half for the Big Blue.
The Vikings (0-2) utilized all three phases of the game to fashion a 21-0 lead in the first eight minutes of the contest at Roebuck Stadium. Josiah Hayes scored on a punt return, Zion Riddick caught a touchdown pass to end a six-play drive and Kaezahn Johnson ran 25 yards to the goal line with a recovered fumble.
Bluefield State caught fire in the second quarter to tie the game 21-21 at halftime.
Kentavious Jefferson, who amassed 119 receiving yards in BSC's first game on Sept. 4, got the rally going with a 16-yard touchdown reception to end a 10-play march that covered 65 yards.
Courtland Washington recovered a fumble by the Vikings on a punt-return attempt to set the stage for a quick touchdown by the Big Blue. Wilder snagged Joseph's pass on the next snap from scrimmage, and conveyed the ball 75 yards to the end zone in eight seconds.
The BSC defense forced a three-and-out on the Vikings' next possession. The Bluefield State offense then knitted together an eight-play drive and scored on a 15-yard pass to Berkarion Black with 27 seconds remaining in the first half.
Carson Crossman's point-after kick was good to produce the scoring deadlock.
Vikings quarterback De'Abrie Smith completed an 80 yard pass play to Brandon Joyner for the only points of the third quarter. The extra-point kick was blocked by Bluefield State.
Early in the fourth quarter, McElveen picked off a pass by Smith and returned it 14 yards to the Vikings 1 yard line. Markaden Bryant soon carried the ball into the end zone and Crossman's kick gave BSC a slim 28-27 lead with 10:42 left.
Carter's interception gave Bluefield State the ball back and the West Virginians drove 62 yards in three minutes for the game's final score, an 8-yard pass to Black with 5:43 remaining.
The home team drove to the Bluefield 8 yard line on its next possession but three passes fell incomplete to end the march.
Bluefield State's Braxton Vanscoy uncorked a 67-yard punt with half a minute left in the game to pin the Vikings back at their own 15 yard line, and the Big Blue defense preserved the road win by stopping the final four plays in the game.
Bluefield State is scheduled to play its third game next Saturday at Johnson C. Smith State University in Charlotte, N.C. Game time is 6 p.m.
Bluefield State has revived its intercollegiate football program this season and was playing only its second game after a 41-year hiatus.
Elizabeth City State is a historically black college, an NCAA Division II school and a member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA).