VUU loses season opener; faces another tough competitor Saturday at Hovey Field
9/8/2017, 12:09 a.m.
Virginia Union University’s season opening football loss wasn’t without a silver lining.
The Panthers seem to have found a bruising ball carrier—Tabyus Taylor—to plug the considerable void left by the departure of William Stanback.
Making his VUU debut, the 6-foot, 250-pound Taylor rolled for 121 yards on 20 carries in the 42-13 loss last Saturday at Long Island University-Post.
The former Hopewell High School All-State performer figures to be a significant part of Coach Mark James’ offense on Saturday, Sept. 9, as the Panthers open their home schedule with a 4 p.m. kickoff against Newberry College of South Carolina.
Taylor’s arrival is well timed. Listed as a freshman, he plays the same position as Stanback, who ran for 1,299 yards and 15 touchdowns last fall. Stanback was signed by the NFL’s Green Bay Packers but cut last week.
Taylor is familiar to area football fans. During his senior season at Hopewell High in 2013, he rushed for 2,066 yard and passed for 1,057 yards with nine touchdowns. Named Conference 26 Player of the Year, he signed a letter of intent with Virginia Tech but never played for the Hokies because of academic and legal issues.
Another Panthers’ newcomer, quarterback Erwin Faison, completed 14 of 24 passes for 115 yards.
VUU had 333 yards to LIU-Post’s 385 and won time of possession – 32 minutes 49 seconds to 22 minutes, 11 seconds.
The Panthers had 11 rushing first downs to the Pioneers’ three. Native Floridian Arron Baker, a senior transfer to VUU from Alcorn State University, added another 70 yards rushing.
Baker scored 25 touchdowns for Alcorn State during the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Newberry presents another tough non-conference matchup. Newberry, which is in the South Atlantic Conference, defeated VUU 42-22 a year ago in South Carolina. The Wolves opened this season with a 31-14 loss at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C.