SALEM, VA — The CIAA football championship trophy is headed back to Virginia Union University after more than two decades.
Jada Byers carried the load for Virginia Union, running 40 times for 135 yards and two scores to lead the way as VUU controlled time of possession. Virginia Union held the ball for nearly 40 minutes.
When Fayetteville State did get the ball, its offense was largely ineffective. It put up only 130 yards of total offense, and 64 yards of that came on one play as Barry Elliot caught a early-third quarter pass that put FSU at the VUU goal line, but it was unable to punch it in and had to settle for a field goal. FSU came up with 66 yards on 41 plays outside of that big pass play.
Byers scored the first and last touchdowns for Virginia Union while quarterback Christian Allen plunged in for the second score to give FSU a 14-0 lead late in the second quarter.
The Broncos finally got on the board following Anderson’s run with a 91-yard kick return from Barry Elliot to cut the lead to 14-7 in favor of the Panthers as the sun set in Salem.
The loss puts Fayetteville State’s record as 8-3, ending an eight-game win streak and likely its chances of going to the NCAA Division II playoffs. Saturday’s game was the sixth consecutive title game appearance for FSU, with last year’s win over Chowan the lone win.
Virginia Union University avenged its lone loss of the season and improved to 10-1 on the year. It will likely be headed back to the NCAA Division II playoffs for the second consecutive season.
But in the mean time, the CIAA title is coming back to Lombardy Street.
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