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College football: Blue Bears travel to face enigmatic foe

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 20, 2022

By Mike London

SALISBURY  — Livingstone College’s football team has no idea what to expect on Saturday.

Shaw University is Livingstone’s opponent, and Shaw is enigmatic.

There are the good Shaw Bears, but there also are the bad Shaw Bears.

Livingstone is going to play one or the other at Durham County Memorial Stadium at 1 p.m.

The Shaw Bears (2-5, 2-3) have beaten Bowie State this season, but they’ve also lost to Winston-Salem State.

That doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Bowie State is one of the CIAA’s stouter teams, while Winston-Salem State hadn’t won a game until the Rams knocked off Shaw last week.

Shaw is a 21-point favorite over the Blue Bears, according to the Massey ratings, and Livingstone is granted a very meager win probability of 3 percent, but Shaw has dropped three in a row, all close ones, so who knows?

Shaw is middle of the pack in the CIAA in the offensive and defensive numbers. Livingstone ranks 10th in the league on both sides of the ball.

Livingstone ranks last in the CIAA in rushing offense and rushing defense, and that’s a deadly combination.

Livingstone (2-5, 1-4) has been outscored by a cumulative 237-85 this season, but, to the Blue Bears’ credit, they won the two — Winston-Salem State and Elizabeth City State — that they had any chance to win.

Livingstone played about as expected last week. It was a nice day for homecoming, but the Blue Bears were overpowered 44-7 by strong and consistent Fayetteville State, which appears headed for the Southern Division title.

As far as history, Shaw has won the last four meetings against Livingstone, including a 20-9 victory last October.

But it looks like LC has a fighting chance Saturday as well as in the Blue Bears’ last two games against St. Augustine’s and Johnson C. Smith.

J.C. Smith lost to St. Augustine’s last week, a mystifying setback for the Golden Bulls against a team that ranks 162nd out of 163 Division II teams in scoring defense.

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