BOWIE -- It was one of those afternoons that coaches like to describe as a "learning experience."
Bowie State's season opener against Livingstone College turned into a series of freshman mistakes, leaving the Bulldogs with a 19-3 loss at Bowie Field and a lot of things to work on in practice this week.
For freshman quarterback Keino Fitzpatrick, the mistakes started early, as he fumbled the second offensive snap of the game to give the visiting Bears (1-1) the ball and an excellent scoring opportunity at the Bowie 35-yard line.
It took senior quarterback Delwin Clark eight plays to lead Livingstone to the game's first score. It came on a 1-yard run by sophomore halfback Rob Clodfelter, one play after Clark had rolled to the left for 21 yards on a third-and-seven situation for Livingstone.
The Bowie defense stiffened throughout the rest of the first half, but the Bulldog offense was hampered by two interceptions and a pair of fumbles before the half ended with Bowie down, 6-3.
Bowie scored its only points on a 42-yard field goal by Mark Fitzpatrick on the first play of the second quarter, and the Bulldogs seemed on the verge of taking the lead on their next possession after a holding penalty gave Bowie a first-and-goal at the Bear 8.
But on first down, Fitzpatrick's pass deflected off the hands of tight end Wayne Fajerski in the end zone and Livingstone defender Fred Johnson pulled it in for the interception. The Bowie offense never seriously threatened again.
Fitzpatrick finished with just two completions on 13 passes for 17 yards, and the Bulldog offense ended the day with six turnovers and only 95 total yards -- 68 coming on runs by senior halfback Butch Wilson.
"Keino did what freshmen sometimes do and we have to live with that," said Bowie coach Sanders Shiver. "I think we have enough talent to win, but I don't know if we have enough time for them to grow up. The mistakes we had in this game were different than the kind that we had last season. These were more freshman jitters, as opposed to those beating yourself kinds of things.
"It seemed we just couldn't get the breaks to go our way."
A couple of fumbles early in the second half provided the Bears with a chance to pad their lead, and Clark connected with Reynaldo Pearson for a 23-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-down play midway in the third quarter.