Greetings, Lion fans, and we here at The Wire hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. We’re starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
In this edition of the 2020 season preview, we take a closer look at the Bowie State Bulldogs, who make the trek south to Commerce from Maryland for a 6 pm kickoff. The Bulldogs, CIAA conference champions in 2019, finished the season 11-1, with first round loss to a name that Lion fans are familiar with, Carson Newman. Let’s break down the matchup.
2019 Record: 11-1, CIAA Conference Champions
Biggest Win: Fayetteville State, 23-7 (Conference Championship)
Biggest Loss: Carson Newman, 17-9 (First Round Division II Playoff)
Returning Starters: 7 Offense, 6 Defense
Points- 39.6 ppg
Rushing- 210.3 ypg
Passing- 212.6 ypg
Total- 422.9 ypg
Rushing- Jarome Johnson, QB, (6’1″ 170 lbs., Sr.) 113-1,177 yds. 12 TD Long 69
Calil Wilkins, RB, (5’8″ 205 lbs., Sr) 148-731 yds. 5 TD Long 56
Passing- Johnson 131-225-9 1,860 yds. 22 TD Long 80
Receiving- Darius Bowman, WR, (5’9″ 165 lbs., RS-Soph.) 17-284 yds., 10 TD Long 75
Montez Clay, WR, (5’11” 185 lbs., RS-Sr.) 16-250 yds., 4 TD Long 38
THE SKINNY-Johnson returns for his senior season as the main cog in the Bulldog offense. A dual threat quarterback much in the mold of Miklo Smalls, Johnson is very capable of making plays with his feet as well.
Bowie State loses their top three receivers from 2019, but return two very capable wideouts in Montez and Clay. They will certainly be a challenge with a balanced attack and the ability to put up a lot of point in a hurry.
Points- 15.5 ppg
Rushing- 107.5 ypg
Passing- 183.1 ypg
Total- 290.7 ypg
Tackles- Joshua Pryor, DL, (6’4″ 280 lbs., RS-Jr.) 70 (35 solo), 13 sacks
Jordan Carter, LB, (5’11” 185 lbs., RS-Soph.) 39 (25 solo)
Chauncey Jackson, LB, (6’0″ 218 lbs., Sr.) 39 (20 solo)
Interceptions- Demetri Morsell, DB, (5’11” 170 lbs., Jr.) 9 3 TD’s Long 92
THE SKINNY-Pryor returns as the anchor of the defense, Morsell is a big play ball hawk in the secondary, with 3 returns for touchdowns. They are an experienced and talented group that thrives on turning the opponent over.
Punt Returns- Morsell- 9-19.3 yds. Long 24
Bowman- 6-17.3 yds. Long 39 1 TD
Kick Returns- Victor Olayinka, WR (5’10” 165 lbs., Soph.) 17-17.8 yds, Long 31
Raymond Boone, DB (6’0″ 195 lbs., RS-Soph.) 8-20.5 yds. Long 32
THE SKINNY-Bowie State is replacing both their punter and kicker this season. Morsell, Bowman, along with Olayinka and Boone, are very effective in the return game while not being particularly explosive.
THE LOW DOWN-AD Tim McMurray pulls a rabbit out of his hat and scheduled the Lions a great matchup, especially early in the year. Bowie State comes in off an outstanding season that resulted in a conference title and playoff berth. This will certainly help David Bailiff and his crew come playoff time, when the difference in seeding and hosting a game at home can be razor thin. The Lions, on the surface, have a tremendous advantage here. Bowie State makes the trek to Commerce on what surely will be a warm and sultry evening. In addition, the Bulldogs do not seem to be as strong as their record would indicate. Their collective record of their opponents in 2019 was 31-45, including playoffs. The offense is trying to replace their top three receivers from last year, and defensively, the Bulldogs thrive on turnovers. If the Lions are able to secure the ball, and play to their potential, they should win this one.