Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bethune-Cookman and Winston-Salem State Claim Add's HBCU Sports Report National Football Titles; Final Top Ten Polls Released


The season ended just as it began for Bethune-Cookman.  The Wildcats are atop the season-ending Football Championship Series-Division I Add's HBCU Sports Report Football Poll, making them the FCS HBCU National Champions.

The Wildcats, who finished the season 10-3, lost only one game in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, late in the season in an upset by Norfolk State.  Their other two losses came to the nation's top FBS-Division I team, Florida State, and to 11th-ranked FCS team Coastal Carolina in the first round of the FCS playoffs.  The Wildcats ranked second in the MEAC in total offense and defense and sported the nation's third ranked defense.

The nation's sixth-ranked defense belonged to the second-ranked Tennessee State Tigers.  TSU (10-4) narrowly lost their opening game to Bethune-Cookman, but ran off seven straight wins before their first of two losses to Eastern Illinois, the second in the second round of the FCS playoffs.

In the Division II poll, Winston-Salem State again went undefeated in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and finished 10-2 to claim the Add's HBCU Sports Report Division II National Championship. Their only two losses came to top ten Division II team UNC-Pembroke in their opener and to Shephard in the second round of the Division II playoffs last week.  The Rams dominated the CIAA, leading the conference in total offense and defense.  That defense also led the nation in total defense.

Tuskegee didn't make the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship game after losing to eventual SIAC champions, Miles.  But the Golden Tigers were dominant otherwise.  Their only other regular season loss was to Winston-Salem State.  Tuskegee's season ended in the first round of the Division II playoff in a close loss to North Alabama.

Here are the complete final 2013 FCS-Division I and Division II HBCU football polls:

FCS - Division I

1) Bethune-Cookman
2) Tennessee State
3) Southern
4) Jackson State
5) South Carolina State
6) Alcorn State
7) Alabama State
8) North Carolina A&T
9) Prairie View A&M
10) Howard

Division II

1) Winston-Salem State
2) Tuskegee
3) Virginia State
4) Miles
5) Lane
6) Shaw
7) Stillman
8) Johnson C. Smith
9) Bowie State
10) Albany State

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Miles and Albany State to Decide SIAC Title; Big MEAC Game for Hampton, Bethune-Cookman; Rest of Today's HBCU Football Action

From The Albany Hearld

Championship football Saturday in the HBCU ranks has hit a big bump in the road with the cancellation of today's Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship game between 10-0 Winston-Salem State and 9-1 Virginia State after VSU players jumped on Winston-Salem State's quarterback in a pre-championship luncheon Friday.

But there is big HBCU football today.

In the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, surprising Miles College, which knocked off the nation's second-ranked Division II HBCU football team, Tuskegee, last week, faces surging Albany State in the SIAC Championship Game in Atlanta.

Albany State's road to the title game seemed like a dead end during October.  The Golden Rams lost four of their first five games, one of them to Miles.  But they finished the season with four straight wins, including last week's victory over Fort Valley State to put them in the title game.

Miles started out the season with losses West Georgia and one of the top teams in Division II, West Alabama.  But besides a surprising hiccup to Central State, the Golden Bears haven't lost since September.  And they upset Tuskegee last week.

Both teams derailed a possible rematch from last year's Tuskegee romp over Fort Valley State.  Now they will have a rematch from the 2011 championship game. 

"It's been Albany State and it's been Miles College two out of the three years," said Miles head coach Reginald Ruffin to al.com. "So, that says a lot about both programs. You guys can expect an exciting game. You won't be disappointed in either team. I can promise you that."

For the final couple of weeks of the regular season, every game is a big game for South Carolina State, Bethune-Cookman, Delaware State and Hampton in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. With Bethune-Cookman losing last week and South Carolina State winning Thursday, the Bulldogs top the MEAC this week.  But Hampton, a game behind both teams, could make a mess of things with a win over Bethune-Cookman today while Delaware State hopes for a little help as they are also a game behind. 

"I don't have to remind the guys what's at stake," Hampton head coach Donovan Rose told The Daily Press. "They're 5-1 and we're 4-2, so we get an opportunity to tie them in the conference. There's some other things going on with other schools, but what a great situation to come back and play the defending champions and to be in a situation where you put yourself in the equation."

In the SWAC, the title game is still three weeks away but the match-up is already set. Jackson State, undefeated in the conference at 8-0 and 7-2 overall (forfeit from Grambling doesn't count in overall win total), will take on Southern (6-2, 6-4 overall).  

Jackson State will have a tough game on their hands this week as they take on the team trailing them in the Eastern Division, a very good Alcorn State team.  Southern will host Division II Clark Atlanta in a much easier contest.

Here is the complete schedule of HBCU football action today:

- Alabama State is at Mississippi Valley State
- Prairie View hosts Abilene Christian
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff visits Alabama A&M
- Howard is at Texas Southern

- Savannah State visits North Carolina A&T
- North Carolina Central hosts Norfolk State
- Delaware State is at Florida A&M

- Tennessee State hosts Murray State
- Langston hosts Wayland Baptist
- Glenville is at West Virginia State
- Lincoln (Mo.) hosts Southwest Baptist
- Central State is at West Alabama

Luncheon Altercation Leaves Winston-Salem State QB Injured and WSSU-Virginia State CIAA Championship Football Game Canceled


Photos by The Winston-Salem Journal
The images from the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association football championship game this today weren't supposed to be these.  A bloody Winston-Salem State starting quarterback Rudy Johnson being led away with an ice pack over his eye.  And five Virginia State players accused of beating him up.  A day before the game.

But that's exactly what happened.  And it has resulted in the unprecedented cancellation of an entire championship game weekend.

Johnson was beaten up in the bathroom during a pre-championship game awards luncheon by a group of Virginia State players.  One player, VSU running back Lamont Britt, has been arrested and faces charges of misdemeanor assault and inflicting serious injury. He was being held in jail with a bond set at $7,500.  His court date is Dec. 9.

A swollen and bloody Johnson was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released.

“Rudy’s fine, and he’s keeping ice on it, so the swelling will go down,” WSSU head coach Connell Maynor told the Winston-Salem Journal. “The team is upset, and they are in shock, and they wanted to play the game. I couldn’t guarantee that I could keep all 55 of my guys in check for the game, and all it would take would be one comment or something like that. So no coach could guarantee that.”

That's why CIAA officials cancelled today's huge football conference championship game between Virginia State and host Winston-Salem State and the CIAA volleyball championships, also to be held at WSSU this weekend, after the Friday altercation.

"On the eve of such an important weekend for dozens of our student-athletes, many of whom have waited a lifetime for such a moment, we are left to focus instead on what might have been," said CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter.

"Our singular focus is on the safety and security of the CIAA's student-athletes and those who follow them," she said. "It is important that everyone involved in the CIAA embody our mission every day by acting as upstanding individuals on and off the field. We must work together to hold each other to higher standards of responsible judgment and conduct because we must demand that if we are to succeed.

"We did not make this decision lightly, as its impact is far and wide - affecting our student-athletes, alumni, fans, sponsors and more. But the CIAA has long had policies to encourage responsible behavior, and must consider what is necessary to assure days like today are not repeated, ever."

Virginia State officials, who still had ticket information for the game up on their website Saturday morning, have been tight-lipped about the situation.

"Virginia State University is aware of an incident involving student-athletes from Winston Salem State and Virginia  State Universities," the school said in a statment on their athletic department website. "VSU officials are fully cooperating with the CIAA in their investigation, and as a result, will not be able to comment any further.

"In light of the incident, the CIAA has cancelled the Championship Football game. We ask that any inquiries regarding the game should be directed to the CIAA."

But there is no question about what happened in the mind of WSSU Chancellor Donald Reaves

"I am saddened to report that at [Friday's] CIAA pre-championship game luncheon held at the Anderson Center of the WSSU campus that our starting quarterback, Rudy Johnson, was viciously beaten by one or more members of the Virginia State football team," Reaves said in a statement.

"There is no excuse for the behavior of the Virginia State players," he said. "One suspect has admitted to his role in the attack and has been arrest on criminal assault charges. The University Police Department is attempting to identify the other VSU players who were involved. Today's event was supposed to be a celebration for both teams and for all the players who were being recognized for an outstanding season. The actions from the Virginia State players certainly changed the outcome for everyone."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

ECSU's Rosetta Becerra Leads All-CIAA Volleyball Honors

ECSU's Rosetta Becerra
Elizabeth City State's Rosetta Becerra, who led the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association in kills per set and was the CIAA's second-best in kills overall, has been named the conference Volleyball Player of the Year.

Becerra, a junior sports medicine major, led the Vikings in points and digs and ranked in the CIAA's top ten in kills per set, kills, digs per set, digs and was 11th in hitting percentage.

She leads the All-CIAA Volleyball team, which had three Winston-Salem State players on the first team squad (Katelin Wensley, Olivia Owens and Kayla Brass) and another, Avoni Seymour, on the 2nd team.

Virginia State freshman Diamond Simpson was named Rookie of the Year while her coach, Ivana Rich, was named Coach of the Year.

The full All-SIAC squads are listed here http://www.theciaa.com/sports/wvball/2013-14/releases/131112_allconf_and_allrook_team.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bethune-Cookman and Tuskegee Both Upset on Saturday; Recap of All HBCU Football Action From Saturday


A wild HBCU football day saw the nation's top Division I-FCS HBCU football team lose and the second-ranked Division II HBCU team go down.

First, Norfolk State ran out to a 20-point lead and withstood a late Bethune-Cookman rally to defeat the Wildcats 27-24 in a huge national and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference upset Saturday.

Norfolk State, which had only won two games all season, the last in early October, jumped out to a 10-0 first quarter lead before Isadore Jackson's 35-yard touchdown run pulled the Wildcats to a 10-7 deficit that made the home crowd breathe a little easier.

But the Spartans ran off 17 straight points on 2-yard Tyler Clark touchdown pass Natturner Harris 31-yard fumble return for touchdown (which put Spartans up 24-7 at halftime) and a third-quarter Cameron Marouf field goal.

Bethune-Cookman fought back in the fourth quarter with Nick Addison returning a fumble 14 yards for a touchdown, Jonathan Cagle's field goal and Jackson's second touchdown run, an 11-yarder, followed by a successful two-point conversion, to pull within a field goal.

But the Wildcats rally fell short.

Clark finished with 151 yards passing and a touchdown while Rolandan Finch had 110 yards rushing and a TD.  The Norfolk State defense held the conference's top offense to 272 yards total offense on the day, forcing a fumble and three intereceptions.

The loss, Bethune-Cookman's first Division I-FCS loss this season, gives South Carolina State a share of the MEAC lead with Bethune-Cookman.

Bethune-Cookman (8-2, 5-1 in the MEAC) hosts Hampton next week while Norfolk State is at North Carolina Central.

Miles Jumps On Tuskegee Early to Claim SIAC West Division Title

Miles College led by as many as 27 points early and held on to upset the nation's second-ranked HBCU football team, Tuskegee, 41-36 to win the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference West Division and go on to the SIAC Championship Game.

David Thomas had four first half touchdown passes and one rushing TD to lead the Golden Bears to a 34-7 lead in the second quarter.  The Golden Tigers countered with three Micha Thornton touchdown runs to cut the lead to seven points heading into the fourth quarter.

Thomas threw another touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.  Thomas finished with 312 yards and five touchdowns passing along with 104 yards rushing and another touchdown to lead the Golden Bears.  Linebacker Julanta English had eight tackles and forced a fumble for the Miles defense.

Thornton had three touchdowns while Hoderick Lowe rushed for 107 yards for Tuskegee.  Rasha Burkette added 322 yards and a touchdown passes for the Golden Tigers.

The loss leaves 8-2 Tuskegee, the defending SIAC champs, waiting to see if they will be extended a bid to the Division II playoffs.  Their only other loss was to the nation's top Division II HBCU team, Winston-Salem State.

Miles, 6-4 on the season, counts a victory over Albany State (a 19-10 winner over Fort Valley State to claim the Eastern Division title), their opponent in the SIAC Championship game next week at Atlanta's Lakewood Stadium. 

- Johnson C. Smith 26, Central State 24
- Virginia State 46, Virginia Union 3
- Winston-Salem State 28, Fayetteville State 14
- Shaw 32, St. Augustine's 14
- Livingstone 36, Virginia-Lynchburg 13
- Chowan 77, Lincoln (Pa) 14
- Bowie State 30, Elizabeth City State 21 

- Mississippi Valley State 20, Texas Southern 17
- Alcorn State 50, Prairie View 35 -- Alcorn State scored 33 unanswered points to down Prairie View 50-35 and deny the Panthers an opportunity to play in the SWAC Championship Game.   The West Division title goes to Southern.
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff 45, Grambling 42
- Jackson State 26, Alabama A&M 20
- Southern 31, Alabama State 28

- Stillman 42, College of Faith 0
- Clark Atlanta 35, Edward Waters 28
- Albany State 19, Fort Valley State 10 -- In a battle for the SIAC East Division crown and a place in the SIAC Championship game, Albany State defeated Fort Valley State 19-10.  The win is Albany State's fourth straight.
- Lane 48, Benedict 7
- Kentucky State 44, Morehouse 0

- Morgan State 24, North Carolina A&T 23
- Hampton 29, North Carolina Central 21
- South Carolina State 25, Florida A&M 21
- Howard 42, Savannah State 14

- Lincoln (Mo) 42, Northeastern State 33
- Shippensburg 42, Cheney 0
- Tennessee State 31, Austin Peay 6 -- Ronald Butler threw for two touchdowns while the Tennessee State defense held Austin Peay to 92 yards total offense as the Tigers broke a two-game losing skid to defeat the Governors 31-6.  The Tigers, now 8-3, host Murray State as the Tigers hold onto hopes for a NCAA Division I-FCS playoff bid.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Winston-Salem State and Bethune-Cookman Continue to Top Add's HBCU Sports Report Top Ten Football Polls


Heading into the final weeks of the regular season, the two leaders in the Add's HBCU Sports Report Top Ten polls - Bethune-Cookman and Winston-Salem State -- are holding firm to their top spots.

In Division II, Winston-Salem State defeated sixth-ranked Shaw 28-24 last weekend, but had to come from behind with less than a minute left in the game to do it.  It kept in tact their 17-game CIAA winning streak and their undefeated record in conference play so far this year. 

In the FCS poll, Tennessee State has company in the second place ranking this week.  TSU was blown out for a second week in a row, this time to another Ohio Valley Conference and national FCS ranked team, Eastern Kentucky.   The Tigers are holding on to their spot, but only on the strength of their schedule and having easily defeated fellow No. 2 HBCU team, Jackson State who was idle this past weekend.

Here are the complete FCS and Division II Add's HBCU Sports Report Top Ten Football polls for this week: 

Division I- Football Championship Series
1) Bethune-Cookman
2) Tennessee State
2) Jackson State
4) South Carolina State
5) Alabama State
6) Alcorn State
7) Prairie View
8) Southern
9) North Carolina A&T
10) Delaware State

     Division II
1) Winston-Salem State
2) Tuskegee
3) Virginia State
4) Fayetteville State
      5) Stillman
6) Shaw
7) Miles
8) Benedict
9) Johnson C. Smith
10)St. Augustine's

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Winston-Salem State Survives Shaw; Alabama A&M Surprises Alcorn State; Tenn. State Blanked by EKU; Scores from ALL HBCU Football Games

Photo by Garrett Garns/WSSU Photography

Rudy Johnson's 17-yard touchdown pass to Chase Powell with 59 seconds left in the game helped Winston-Salem State avoid a huge upset bid as the Rams survived Shaw 28-24.

Winston-Salem State, the nation's top HBCU Division II team and one of the nation's top Division II teams overall, had led by 21 points midway through the second quarter and looking like they were going to cruise to another CIAA win. Johnson had thrown three touchdown passes, one to Powell, another to Graham Love and a third to Eric Williams. 

But the Bears scored 24 unanswered points (Trevius Folston threw two touchdown passes to David Jordan, Andres Magallon kicked a field goal and Darnell Evans picked off a Johnson pass and went 88 yards for a final touchdown midway in the fourth quarter) to take the lead with a little more than eight minutes left in the game and send a huge gasp throughout Division II and the CIAA.

The Rams got the ball with 3:32 left in the game and drove 81 yards over the next 2:20, culminating in Johnson's game-winning toss to Powell.  Shaw had one last drive that ended in downs at the Winston-Salem State 38.

Johnson finished with 208 yards and four touchdown passes, but with two interceptions.  Johnson also led the Rams with 71 yards rushing. Folston had only 140 yards passing, but with two touchdowns.  Marquise Grizzle rushed for 109 yards on 24 carries.

Winston-Salem State (8-0, 6-0 in the CIAA), now hosts Fayetteville State next Saturday in a game that will decide the Southern Division title. Shaw (5-4, 3-3) lost a chance at the CIAA Southern Division title with the loss.  They close their season next week when they host St. Augustine's. 

Final Minute TD Toss Gives Morgan State 30-27 Win Over Hampton 

Robert Council threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Nate Ingram with 26 seconds left in the game to give Morgan State a 30-27 win over one of the hottest teams in the nation, Hampton.

The Bears led 23-7 at halftime as three different players scored TDs (Council a touchdown run, Tubotein Taylor on a 93-yard kickoff return and Lamont Brown's 11-yard sprint). 

Hampton stormed back.  Jorrian Washington returned the second-half kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, followed by a Marcus Hampton 31-yard TD run and Antwon Chisholm's fourth-quarter 58-yard touchdown jaunt to go up 27-23 with ten minutes left in the game.

But Council drove the Bears down the field with less than three minutes left in the game to throw his touchdown pass and end Hampton's three-game winning streak.

Morgan State (3-6, 3-2 in the MEAC) moves into a tie for fourth place with the Pirates.  The Bears, who have now won three of their last four games, host North Carolina A&T next Saturday.  Hampton (3-6, 3-2) hosts North Carolina Central next week.

Lee's Three Touchdown Tosses Lift Alabama A&M to 19-18 win over Alcorn State
Jaymason Lee threw three touchdown passes to lead Alabama A&M to a 19-18 upset win over Alcorn State Saturday.

The Bulldogs had been down by as much as 15 points after midway through the second quarter.  But Lee's third touchdown pass of the game, a 26-yarder to Jonathan Dorsey late in the third quarter, erased Alcorn State's lead and ended the Braves four-game winning streak.

"I'm proud of my team. They made some great plays today," said Alabama A&M head coach Anthony Jones.  "I've said all along we are a good football team and we are better than what our record says."

Alabama A&M (3-6, 3-4 in the SWAC), which got Jones his 100th career win, takes on the SWAC's top team, Jackson State next Saturday. The SWAC's second-best team, Alcorn State (7-3, 5-2), hosts Prairie View Saturday.

Here are all of the HBCU football scores from Saturday:

- St. Augstine's 13, Johnson C. Smith 6

- Fayetteville State 34, Livingstone 31
- Bowie State 76, Lincoln (Pa) 19
- Elizabeth City State 28, Virginia Union 21
- Virginia State 28, Chowan 0

- Bethune-Cookman 38, North Carolina Central 14

- North Carolina A&T 59, Virginia-Lynchburg 12
- South Carolina State 45, Savannah State 9
- Florida A&M 16, Norfolk State 6
- Delaware State 22, Howard 20

- Albany State 31, Benedict 6
- Tuskegee 41, Central State 10
- Lane 38, Kentucky State 28
- Shorter 58, Clark Atlanta 14
- Fort Valley State 46, Morehouse 19
- Miles 31, Stillman 30

- Grambling 47, Mississippi Valley State 40
- Alabama A&M 19, Alcorn State 18
- Kentucky 48, Alabama State 14
- Southern 31, Texas Southern 24 (Fri, Nov. 1)

- Eastern Kentucky 44, Tennessee State 0
- West Chester 66, Cheney 14
- Central Oklahoma 49, Lincoln (Mo) 42
- Langston 20, Panhandle State 19
- Notre Dame 42, West Virginia State 16

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Morehouse May Lose Basketball Exhibiiton to North Carolina State Today, But Young Team Will Gain Experience in Big Time and While Athletic Department Gets Needed $$$$;

Two years ago, Kentucky defeated Morehouse 125-40 in what Morehouse coach Grady Brewer said he wanted to use to give his young team experience in playing in big time places and situation.

Tonight, Morehouse, a Division II team, will visit North Carolina State, a Division I team in the heralded basketball crazed Atlantic Coast Conference for a exhibition hoops game.

The score, which likely won't be close, will not even matter.

Both sides will get exactly what they want from this not-so even encounter in Raleigh, N.C.

That's the beauty of these guarantee games in college basketball.   Smaller schools get hundreds of thousands of dollars to show up and serve as the Washington Generals for a large school hungry for momentum and an excited fan base.

But Morehouse head coach Grady Brewer said his team gets a little big more, mainly a look at what it takes to be on the big stage and to see what it takes for a good team to be a winning team.

He may be on to something.

After getting plastered by Kentucky 125-40 in an exhibition two years ago, his Maroon Tigers basketball program has been able to look a lot like the teams that have pasted them.  This past season they finished 20-8 with a share of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference East Division regular season title and a close loss in the SIAC Tournament championship game.

And with not much to lose since, well, they are expected to lose, Morehouse gains a little more publicity for its athletics and admissions areas. 

So it's a win-win for Morehouse, even though tonight's appearance in Raleigh will likely be a big loss on the court.

Former Also-Rans Morgan State and Hampton Battle As Two of MEACs Best; Preview of ALL HBCU Football Action Today


Photo courtesy of Hampton Athletics

Honestly, no one before the start of this season would have thought this game would mean much.  But it will, somewhat.

The Morgan State Bears, winners of two of their last three games, host the Hampton Pirates, an MEAC team that resurrected themselves from a to run off three straight wins to sit in a tie for second place in the conference.

Hampton is 3-1 in the conference, only a game behind league-leaders Bethune-Cookman, while Morgan State is 2-2 in the MEAC and themselves looking to move into second place in the conference.

This from two teams who combined for an 0-10 record before October rolled around. 

"The reason why we've had success is, it starts at practice," Pirates head coach Donovan Rose told The Daily Press. "We compete in everything we do, every drill. It makes it easier so when you get to the game, the speed is still there. I think our guys, they understand. Winning is kind of contagious and they're reacting.

"Right now, we're still 3-5," Rose said. "You can dress it up how you want to, we're 3-5. Regardless of non-conference games, we're 3-5. We're humble. Nobody has a big head. We haven't done anything. We're just going to keep playing, keep working."

Morgan State head coach Donald Hill-Eley said his team shook off the early losses to bigger teams and programs so they could be focused on the biggest task at hand, MEAC games.  And it's shown.

“As we’ve said before, we want to do well in conference play," he said. "You want to do well in all your games, but as we were waiting on the maturity from these guys, we wanted to do well in the conference. That win keeps us elevated in the conference and keeps things in perspective for whatever may happen.”

Morgan State has done it with the MEAC's second-best rushing offense, led by freshman Lamont Brown's 453 yards on the ground.  Brown is in the MEAC top ten in rushing and total offense.  Quarterback Seth Higgins has been consistent, rushing for 282 yards this year and passing for 452.  Junior linebacker Cody Acker (65 tackles and 1.5 sacks ) and defensive end Chris Robinson (3 sacks) lead a Bears defense that is stingy against the pass defense as they are the MEAC's second toughest to throw against.

Hampton is nearly just as tough against the pass, ranking third in the MEAC in overall pass defense and tops in pass defense efficiency. Linebacker Delbert Tyler leads the MEAC in tackles while fellow linebacker Joshua Thorne and defensive back Carvin Johnson are all in the top ten in tackles. Defensive end Miles Groome is third in the conference in sacks and had a monster game against Delaware State with 3.5 sacks, nine tackles and forced two fumbles.

Led by quarterback Jaylian Williamson, the Pirate offense is efficient and lead the conference in field goals, meaning they dont do it with big plays.  Just a steady Pirate ship.   

Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

Here is a look at all the other HBCU action around the country today:

- Two 3-5 teams overall, Virginia Union and visiting Elizabeth City State, are more importantly 3-2 in the CIAA Northern Division and will be battling each other for second place.  The Vikings will be looking to extend their winning streak to three games, while VUU will try to rebound after having their three-game winning streak snapped last weekend.
- Fayetteville State hosts Livingstone in their homecoming game this weekend.  More importantly, the Broncos are 4-1 in the CIAA and still holding on for an outside chance at a Southern Division title behind Winston-Salem State.
- Bowie State hosts hard-luck Lincoln (Pa), a team that is 1-6 and winless in the CIAA this season.  3-5 Bowie State has only one conference win among its three wins overall this season.
- Three is the big number in Raleigh, N.C. this weekend.  Reeling Johnson C. Smith is trying to break their three-game losing streak while St. Augustine's, 3-5 overall, is trying to get their third CIAA win of the season.
- Winston-Salem State has sailed through the CIAA regular season at 7-0 so far and can clinch at least a tie for the Southern Division title.  But Shaw isn't any cupcake. The Bears are 5-3 overall, 3-2 in the CIAA and capable of pulling off an upset -- though the chance is remote.
- Virginia State, undefeated in the conference and the only team that can say they are just as good - or better - than Winston-Salem State, can clinch the CIAA Northern Division title with a win over Chowan.  Chowan's up-and-down season comes to the Hawks looking to break a two-game losing streak and finish 2013 at .500 over the next couple of weeks.

- One of the top HBCU teams in Division I-FCS, Alabama State, steps foot into Southeastern Conference territory when they visit Kentucky, a 1-6 team suffering through an ugly season.  
-  This is the very definition of a trap game.  Alcorn State, 5-1 in the SWAC and 7-2 overall, is looking to climb into second place in the East Division while Alabama A&M is suffering through a 2-6 season. But Alcorn State will be facing a stingy Bulldogs defense, top-ranked in the MEAC allowing the fewest yards and points per game this season.
- It's homecoming weekend in Grambling, which means a program that lost in overtime last week after an emotional coming-back-to-the-field will riding even more emotion when they host Mississippi Valley State.  The two teams only account for one win this season, and that comes from the Delta Devils.

- The team leading the SIAC East Division, Albany State, doesn't even have a .500 record overall this season.  And now visiting Benedict will be trying to make an even bigger mess of the East Division. The Rams are 3-4 overall but 2-0 in the SIAC while Benedict is 4-4 and 2-1.  A Benedict win is vital if they want to make it to the SIAC title game.  An Albany State win would set up an even bigger game next week with second-place Fort Valley State as the decider of the East Division champ.
- Morehouse will look to play the spoiler role when they visit Fort Valley State.  Fort Valley State is holding on to a chance to take the East Division crown with a needed win this week and potentially a huge game next week against Albany State (see above).
- Miles visits nearby rival Stillman in a huge game for the Golden Bears.  A Miles win would set up a big battle with Tuskegee next week for a share of the West Division crown.  Miles is 2-1 in the SIAC while Tuskegee is 2-0.  Stillman is no pushover.  They are 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the SIAC themselves.
- Tuskegee, the second-best HBCU Division II in the country and one of the best D-2 teams overall, is poised to return to Atlanta for the SIAC Championship game.  They control their own destiny. A win over Central State and over Miles next week is all they need.  But Central State has won two of their last three games, including a win over Miles, and barely lost to Stillman last week.
- Clark Atlanta hosts Shorter College, an 0-8 team, in the first meeting between the two schools.

- Bethune-Cookman, sporting Division I-FCS' second-best defense and the MEAC's top offense and defense, has won 17 straight conference games as they head to North Carolina Central today.  But the Eagles are looking to get over the .500 mark overall and in conference play.
- North Carolina A&T is looking to win back-to-back games for the first time this season since September when they host Virginia-Lynchburg on homecoming Saturday in Greensboro.
- Norfolk State tries to break their three-game losing streak against today's homecoming foe, fellow 2-6 team, Florida A&M. The Rattlers are trying to break their own two-game losing skid.
- Second-place South Carolina State is back on the road, this time trying to bounce back from last week's loss to MEAC leader Bethune-Cookman as they visit Savannah State.  Last place Savannah State has the conference's worst defense while the Bulldogs sport the top scoring offense.
- Both Delaware State and visiting Howard have a lot to play for today, even if there aren't many MEAC implications.  The Hornets, at 3-2 in MEAC play, are hoping to make a play for third place in the MEAC and keep working towards a .500 record overall.  Howard is trying to equal DSU's conference mark and extend their winning streak to three.

- Tennessee State tries to put behind last week's drubbing by the nation's best offense and their first loss since their season-opener as they visit tough Eastern Kentucky.  TSU leads the conference in defense, while EKU is second in defense and have the Ohio Valley Conference's top rushing defense. That makes for tough sledding for TSU leading rusher, Tim Broughton, who leads the OVC with 918 yards rushing so far this season.
- After losing their first four games this season, Langston is now looking to extend their winning streak to four games when they visit Oklahoma Panhandle State.
- Lincoln (Mo.) tries to get their first win since beating Grambling in September when they face winless Central Oklahoma.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Bethune-Cookman Takes Top Spot in Top Ten Poll; Winston-Salem State and Tuskegee Continue to Lead Division II Poll

Bethune-Cookman's big win over the MEAC's second-best team, South Carolina State, along with Tennessee State's second loss of the sesaon, has propelled the Wildcats to the top spot of this week's Add's HBCU Sports Report HBCU Football Top Ten Poll for Division I-FCS teams.

Led by a stifling defense, Bethune-Cookman shut down fourth-ranked South Carolina State 14-3 in a battle for the conference lead.  Second-ranked Tennessee State fell from the top spot after Eastern Illinois, the nation's second ranked FCS school with the nation's top offense, got an easy 34-15 win in Nashville Saturday.  TSU's two losses this season, the other to Bethune-Cookman, came as star quarterback Michael German didnt play. 
The other big story in the D-1-FCS poll is the Hampton, one of the hottest team in the nation. After starting the season with five losses, the Pirates enter the top ten after three straight wins and a 3-1 record that has them solidly in third place in the MEAC.
In the Division II Top Ten poll, Winston-Salem State and Tuskegee continue to lead.  Winston-Salem got an easy win over Livingstone while Tuskegee had no trouble with Kentucky State. 
Shaw, now 5-3 overall after defeating ninth-ranked Johnson C. Smith Saturday, moved into the sixth spot.  Benedict, with its late win over Morehouse Saturday, is now ranked eighth. 

Here are the entire Add's HBCU Sports Report Top Ten Football Polls:

Division I- Football Championship Series
1) Bethune-Cookman
2) Tennessee State
3) Jackson State
4) South Carolina State
5) Alabama State
6) Alcorn State
7) Prairie View
8) Southern
9) North Carolina A&T
10) Hampton

     Division II
1) Winston-Salem State
2) Tuskegee
3) Virginia State
4) Fayetteville State
      5) Stillman
6) Shaw
7) Miles
8) Benedict
9) Johnson C. Smith
10)St. Augustine's

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bethune-Cookman Shuts Down South Carolina State; Tennessee State Loses to Eastern Illinois; Recap of ALL HBCU Football from Saturday


Photo by Nigel Cook/Daytona News Journal

Bethune-Cookman has answered any questions about who rules the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conferenc right now.

Quarterback Quentin Williams threw for a touchdown and ran another early as the Wildcats then let a suffocating defense do its work as they defeated South Carolina State 14-3 in a huge homecoming game in Florida Saturday.

Williams threw a four-yard TD to Isadore Jackson in the fourth quarter and then added a six-yard touchdown run in the second quarter of the battle of the MEAC's only two undefeated teams in the conference.

Bethune-Cookman's defense was the story of the day as they only allowed South Carolina State 65 yards rushing and 78 yards passing.  The Bulldogs got inside the Bethune-Cookman 25-yard line five times, but was denied touchdowns each time.

Bethune-Cookman (7-1, 4-0 MEAC) now has sole possession of first place in the conference.  They take visit North Carolina Central next Saturday.  South Carolina State (5-3, 3-1) sees their four-game winning streak end and settle into second place in the MEAC.  They are at Savannah State next weekend. 

Garappolo Throws Four TD's as Eastern Illinois Cruises to 34-15 Win Over Tennessee State

Photo by George Walker IV/The Tennessean
The nation's top offense proved they were no match for one of the country's top defenses Saturday.

Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garaoppolo threw for 410 yards and four touchdowns as the Panthers, Division I-FCS's No. 2 team, led by as many as 25 points to defeat Tennessee State 34-16 in a huge Ohio Valley Conference battle on homecoming day in Nashville.

Eastern Illinois' high flying offense piled up 567 total yards on a Tennessee State defense that had been giving up only half that much all season long.  They didnt take very long to show their stuff.  Garoppolo threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Keiondre Gober early in the first quarter.  Shepard Little added a 21-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter before Garoppolo threw another TD pass, this time a 34-yarder to Jeff LePak, to give Eastern Illinois a 21-3 halftime lead. 

Garoppolo added another TD pass to Gober early in the third quarter to push their lead to 28-3, and putting the game out of reach.

Little finished with 138 yards rushing and a touchdown while Gober was one of three Eastern Illinois receivers to have more than 100 yards receiving.  Gober had 126 yards and two touchdowns, Erik Lora caught ten passes for 105 yards and LePak had 112 yards and a touchdown.

TSU's Ronald Butler threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns while running back Tim Broughton led the Tigers ground game with 93 yards.  Starting quarterback, senior Michael German, didnt play due to a sprained shoulder.  TSU's two losses have come when German hasn't played.

Tennessee State (7-2, 4-1 in the OVC) drops to second place in the conference with the loss.  They head to Eastern Kentucky next weekend. Eastern Illinois (7-1, 4-0) visits Tennessee Tech.

Texas Southern Defeats Grambling in Overtime 23-17 

Photo from Yahoo Sports

In probably the most watched game of two teams who had won a combined one game, Texas Southern came back from an early 10-point deficit to defeat Grambling 23-17 in overtime Saturday.

Grambling players were playing their first game after boycotting football for a week over frustrations over their facilities conditions, travel and other issues. The Tigers storied football program was winless this season after going 1-10 last year and is on their third coach this season.   The boycott created a huge national stir that showed how players have a voice in how they are treated.

Grambling came out firing for the hometown crowd as D.J. Williams threw an 82-yard touchdown pass to Chester Rogers less than two minutes into the game. After TSU scored a touchdown, Williams added a 60-yard TD pass to Anthony McGhee to give Grambling an early 14-3 first quarter-lead. The Tigers added a field goal to go up 17-7 early in the second quarter.

Texas Southern added a field goal just before halftime and then a touchdown to tie the game when Jamal Small, who replace injured starter Homer Causey, threw a 21-yard TD pass to Jaquaa Peters in the midway in the fourth quarter.

In overtime, Small won the game with a three-yard touchdown run.

Grambling senior linebacker Steve Orisake said that even though the Tigers lost, the past two weeks have been good overall for the school.

"I surely would do it all again,'' Orisakwe said. ''Nothing was in vain. This brought our school and our family and our team together.''

Small finished 6-of-7 passing for 76 yards while Edward Perkins-Loving had 100 yards rushing for Texas Southern.  Causey had 124 yards passing and 64 yards rushing and a TD before he was injured.

Williams, son of former head coach Doug Williams, had 261 yards and two touchdowns passing while Jestin Kelly rushed for 94 yards.

Texas Southern (2-6, 2-5) hosts Southern next Saturday while Grambling (0-9, 0-6) hosts Mississippi Valley State.

Here's a recap of ALL the HBCU football scores from Saturday:

- Benedict 29, Morehouse 26
- Albany State 39, Clark Atlanta 7
- Fort Valley 52, Concordia-Selma 19
- Tuskegee 36, Kentucky State 7

- Texas Southern 23, Grambling 17 (OT)
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff 38, Mississippi Valley State 18
- Alabama State 31, Alabama A&M 7
- Jackson State 51, Prairie View 38
- Alcorn State 44, Southern 38 (OT)

- Elizabeth City State 37, Chowan 31
- Fayetteville State 43, St. Augustine's 19
- Virginia State 34, Lincoln (Pa) 14
- Winston-Salem State 40, Livingstone 0
- Shaw 39, Johnson C. Smith 33
- Bowie State 34, Virginia Union 7

- Howard 28, Morgan State 14
- Hampton 30, Delaware State 7
- Old Dominion 27, Norfolk State 24
- North Carolina A&T 20, Florida A&M 13
- North Carolina Central 24, Savannah State 10

- Fort Hays 45, Lincoln (Mo.) 35
- Virginia-Wise 18, West Virginia State 10
- Bloomsburg 35, Cheyney 7
- Langston 53, Oklahoma Baptist 7

Saturday, October 26, 2013

South Carolina State-Bethune Cookman Battle for MEAC Lead; Tennessee State Hosts FCS' Top Offense in Eastern Illinois; Other HBCU Football Action


In what is the biggest game in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference this season, the conference's only two undefeated MEAC teams, South Carolina State and Bethune-Cookman, do battle today.

Bethune-Cookman, 6-1 overall with their only loss at Florida State and have defeated the nation's top HBCU Division I-FCS team Tennessee State, is a proven commodity.  South Carolina State, at 5-2 overall, is hoping this game, which is Bethune-Cookman's homecoming game, is their coming out party.

The Bulldogs have one five straight, sport the MEAC's top scoring offense at 32 points per game and have the top defense in the conference and have the second most sacks in the nation with 31.

"Bethune is what we used to be," South Carolina State head coach Buddy Pough said.  "They got to the point where they expect to win any time they play a conference game."

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/25/5852041/sc-state-takes-on-new-meac-giant.html#storylink=cpy

Bethune-Cookman is a tough opponent.  The have the conference's top offense and the second best defense.

And Brian Jenkins, the Wildcats head football coach, said his team is ready for the Bulldogs.

“I mean we're excited. We're ready, we're excited. We're ready, we're excited,'' Jenkins told the Daytona Beach News Journal. “I'm looking forward to it. We're home, it's homecoming. We're playing the Bulldogs. We're excited. We are excited. It's going to be exciting football, standing-room only. It's going to be a battle. It's going to be really good. I'm excited about it. I'm excited. I'm very excited about it. Ex-cit-ed about this ball game.''

So is the rest of the conference.

Photo by George Walker IV/The Tennessean

Top-Ranked Tennessee State Battles FCS' Second-Best Team, Eastern Illinois

Tennessee State is up against its toughest test of the season during one of the Big Blue's most festive times of the year -- homecoming.

The Tigers, 7-1 and walking through the season besides their one blemish against Bethune-Cookman, host Eastern Illinois, a team that is 6-1.

The Tigers boast one of the nation's top defenses, second nationally in total defense and scoring defense as they give up on 13 points per game.  Eastern Illinois leads the FCS in scoring offense (48 points per game) and total offense (595 yards per contest).

“We just have to find a way to slow them down to give ourselves a chance," TSU head coach Rod Reed told The Tennessean.  "When you add the element of homecoming for our football team, it is going to be a huge game.”

Eastern Illinois head coach Dino Babers had similar thoughts of the Tigers.

"This is the best defense I have seen on tape at the FCS level," he told The Tennessean. "It is going to be very interesting when we get down there.”

Kickoff at LP Field is 4 p.m. central time.

Here is the preview of all the other HBCU football matchups today:


- Injury plagued Morehouse hosts one of the top Division II defensive teams in Benedict in the Maroon Tigers homecoming game in Atlanta.  Benedict is looking to climb to the .500 mark.

- In homecoming action at Fort Valley State, the Wildcats will try not to lose their fourth-consecutive game when they host Concordia Selma-College.
- In another homecoming battle in the Atlanta University Center, Clark Atlanta hosts Albany State who is looking for their first back-to-back wins this season.
- The nation's second-best Division II HBCU football team, Tuskegee, heads to the Bluegrass State to take on Kentucky State.  The 4-3 Thorobreds are hoping for an upset and to climb to .500 in the SIAC West Division.

- Morgan State, whose only two wins of the season has them in the thick of the MEAC conference race, visits struggling homecoming host Howard who got their second win of the season last week.
- Delaware State and Hampton will battle for the second or third place spot in the MEAC.  Hampton, the host, will be looking for their third straight win.
- Norfolk State will try to avoid their third straight loss when they host Old Dominion.  The Spartans have lost two close games after winning two wins in a row.
- North Carolina A&T, whose promising season suddenly hit a downturn two weeks ago in Atlanta, tries to climb over the .500 mark and break a three-game losing streak at Florida A&M
- Savannah State looks for their first MEAC win when they host North Carolina Central in their homecoming game.  NCCU is trying to break a two-game losing streak and climb back to the .500 mark

- The nation's top Division II HBCU football team, Winston-Salem State, visits Lincoln (Pa) in the 2-5 Blue Bears homecoming game.
- It will be mano-y-mano as the two of the CIAA's top rushing teams, Virginia Union and homestanding Bowie State, clash in Maryland. Virginia Union is on a three-game winning streak while Bowie State tries to break their four-game losing streak
- St. Augustine's will try to get to the .500 mark and take second place from Fayetteville State in the Broncos' homecoming game.  The Broncos are 3-1 in the CIAA while St. Augustine's is 2-2.
- Chowan hosts Elizabeth City State in their homecoming game. Chowan is trying to avoid their first back-to-back losses of the season. ECSU is trying to get their third win in the last four games.
- Two of the highest scoring teams in the CIAA link up in Johnson C. Smith's homecoming game against Shaw.  Both average more than 30 points a game and sport 4-3 records
- Lincoln (Pa), a 1-6 team, is looking for a big homecoming upset when then take on Virginia State, who is 6-1.  The Trojans are undefeated in the CIAA while Lincoln is looking for their first CIAA win this season.

- Its homecoming day in Itta Bena, Miss., where Mississippi Valley State hosts winless Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Delta Devils got their only win of the season three weeks ago and hope to break their two-game losing streak
- One of the biggest HBCU classics will be played in Birmingham, Ala., today when Alabama State and Alabama A&M battle in the Magic City Classic.  The Hornets are 5-2 and are ranked among the nation's top HBCU Division I-FCS teams while Alabama A&M is struggling through a 2-5 season.
- The SWAC's top team this season, Jackson State, takes on surging Prairie View in The Shreveport Classic in Shreveport, La.  Prairie View is 4-2 in the SWAC West Division while the Tigers 6-0 and lead the East.
- In another big intra-conference clash, Southern hosts Alcorn State in the Jaguars homecoming game. At 4-1, Southern leads the SWAC East Division while Alcorn State is 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the SWAC's West Division
- Grambling is back on the field, hosting Texas Southern.  Grambling is hoping that a unified team will come out and get their first victory of the season against a Texas Southern team that only has one win this season.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tennessee State and Winston-Salem State Continue to Lead Add's HBCU Sports Report HBCU Top Ten Polls


Heading into the weekend of HBCU football action, Tennessee State and Winston-Salem State continue as the nation's best in the Division I-Football Championship Series and Division II, according to the latest Adds HBCU Sports Report HBCU Top Ten Football Poll.

Tennessee State, sporting the FCS' top defense, defeated UT-Martin easily last week.  But they will be facing their toughest opponent of the season during Homecoming weekend in Nashville when they host the nation's second-ranked FCS team, undefeated Eastern Illinois.

Bethune-Cookman, the only team to beat Tennessee State this year, continued wreaking havoc on the MEAC and they've gone undefeated in FCS play (their only loss was to Division I Florida State).

The bottom half of the FCS HBCU Top Ten has been topsy turvy as Prairie View moved up to seventh and North Carolina A&T continues to drop after three straight losses.

In Division II, Winston-Salem State has dominated CIAA play and takes on 2-5 Livingstone Saturday.  Tuskegee, whose only loss is to Winston-Salem State, has hit their stride scoring 89 points in their last two games and giving up only 17. 

The bottom half of the Division II Top Ten had some major changes with a number of teams losing last weekend. Fayetteville State moves up to No. 4, followed by Stillman and St. Augustine's.  Both Chowan and Kentucky State fell this past weekend.

Here are both the Division I-FCS and Division II Adds HBCU Sports Report Top Ten Polls for this week:

Division I- Football Championship Series
1) Tennessee State
2) Bethune-Cookman
3) South Carolina State
4) Jackson State
5) Alabama State
6) Alcorn State
7) Prairie View
8) Southern
9) North Carolina A&T
10) Delaware State

     Division II
1) Winston-Salem State
2) Tuskegee
3) Virginia State
4) Fayetteville State
      5) Stillman
6) St. Augustine's
7) Miles
8) Virginia Union
9) Chowan
10) Kentucky State

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thorpe's Fourth TD Gives Virginia State 3OT Win Over Bowie State; Recaps and Scores of All HBCU Games From Saturday

Photo by Progress-Index.com

Justin Thorpe's fourth touchdown of the day, a 24-yard pass to Gene Holloman in the third overtime, lifted Virginia State to a wild 47-44 victory over Bowie State Saturday.

The Trojans were down 20-10 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Trojans outscored Bowie State 17-7 to send the game into overtime.  Thorpe drove the Trojans down the field with 58 seconds left in regulation, passing for 43 yards and running for nine, to set Shawn Hunt for his game-tying field goal with nine seconds remaining.

The teams traded touchdowns in the first two overtimes, but Bowie State could only muster a 40-yard field goal in the third overtime.  Thorpe then rushed for a yard, miss one pass to Holloman, but then hit the game winner.

Thorpe finished with 259 yards passing and 182 yards rushing.  Jaivo Smallwood caught eight passes for 131 yards and touchdown for Virginia State. Bowie State running back Keith Brown had 175 rushing and a touchdown while quarterback Jared Johnston threw two TD passes. Anthony McDaniel had seven tackles, two sacks and three tackles for losses for the Bulldogs.

Virginia State, a team that is now 6-1 and has won five straight games, visits Lincoln (Pa.) next week, while Bowie State (2-5) lost their fourth straight and hosts Virginia Union next week.

Elizabeth City State Routs Lincoln (Pa) 56-14

Tyrell Houghton
Petey Boone

Petey Boone and Tyrell Houghton combined for seven touchdowns as Elizabeth City State routed Lincoln (Pa.) 56-14.

Houghton threw two first quarter touchdown passes to give the Vikings an early 14-0 lead.  After Lincoln answered, Boone had three touchdown runs of 73, 3 and 15 yards to put Elizabeth City State up 35-7.  Houghton added another touchdown pass while Boone had a 39-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.

Houghton had 284 yards passing while Boone finished with 182 yards rushing.  Quarterback Douglas Cook led Lincoln with 136 yards passing and a touchdown.

Elizabeth City State (2-5) is at Chowan next week while Lincoln (1-6) hosts Virginia State for homecoming.

Here are the scores from all the other HBCU football games Saturday:

- Albany State 42, Morehouse 20
- Benedict 24, Clark Atlanta 0
- Tuskegee 35, Stillman 7
- Central State 37, Lane 34
- Miles 40, Kentucky State 17

- Southern 29, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 21
- Prairie View 51, Mississippi Valley State 14
- Alcorn State 20, Texas Southern 13

 - Shaw 45, Livingstone 21
- Virginia Union 24, Chowan 14
- Elizabeth City State 56, Lincoln (Pa) 14
- Winston-Salem State 35, St. Augustine's 17
- Fayetteville State 35, Johnson C. Smith 26

- Hampton 27, Norfolk State 17
- Delaware State 12, North Carolina A&T 7
- Morgan State 34, North Carolina Central 22
- Howard 21, Florida A&M 10
- Bethune-Cookman 48, Savannah State 21

- Nebraska-Kearney 24, Lincoln (Mo.) 14
- Tennessee State 29, UT-Martin 15
- Langston 34, Texas College 8
- Millersville, 30, Cheney 12

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Here Is a Look at EVERY HBCU Football Game to Be Played Today


Now for those who are playing football today...

-  Bowie State will try to avoid their fourth straight loss in a tough place - homecoming at Virginia State, the CIAA's second-best team
- Johnson C. Smith will try to bounce back from last week's loss to Winston-Salem State in their homecoming game against a tough and smarting Fayetteville State squad
- Two one-win teams, Lincoln (Pa) and Elizabeth City State, hook up in the Vikings' homecoming game
- The nation's top-ranked Division II HBCU squad, Winston-Salem State, tries for their sixth win in a row at St. Augustine's, who is looking to get over .500
- In a battle for the second-place spot in the Northern Division, Virginia Union hosts homecoming opponent Chowan in a battle of teams with 2-1 conference records
- Shaw looks to get a second-straight win during their homecoming game against Livingstone, who is looking to avoid their second straight loss.

- Mississippi Valley State looks to bounce back from a tough loss at the SWAC's best team, Jackson State, by visiting Prairie View, a strong team that lost another overtime thriller last week
- Texas Southern tries to get their second-straight win in their homecoming game against a strong Alcorn State squad
- Southern tries to climb over the .500 mark and win their second game in a row at Arkansas-Pine Bluff who is trying to get their first win of the season on their homecoming day

- Two teams who've fallen on hard times, Morehouse and Albany State, battle during ASU's homecoming game. There are three wins between the two teams in 2013.  Morehouse has two of them.
- Clark Atlanta, thought to be the SIAC's doormat, has won two straight games and sport the conference's top rushing offense when they take on Benedict.  Benedict tries to climb back to .500 on this, their homecoming day
- In a big Western Division game, 2-1 Kentucky State visits 2-0 Miles on homecoming day at Miles. The game will be televised live by Bounce TV
- Stillman, who has the SIAC's top offense and top defense, visit the nation's second-best HBCU Division II team, Tuskegee, who is fresh off a 44-point win last week
- Lane tries to extend their winning streak to three games on a homecoming Saturday where they host Central State, who surprised Albany State last week for their first win of the season

- After staring the season off with three straight wins, North Carolina A&T tries to avoid their third straight loss when they host Delaware State, who is coming off a big homecoming win last week
- Coming off a big first win of the season last week, Hampton visits Norfolk State in the Battle of the Bay.  Norfolk State is trying to get their win of the season after a loss last week
- North Carolina Central looks to celebrate homecoming by getting over the .500 mark against Morgan State, a team looking for their second-straight win after a big homecoming victory last week
- Howard tries to avoid their fifth straight loss at Florida A&M, a team looking to salvage a disappointing season season with potentially back-to-back wins as they celebrate homecoming
- Savannah State, in the midst of a four-game losing streak, faces the daunting task of taking on the nation's second-ranked FCS HBCU team, Bethune-Cookman, a team who has only lost to Division I-FBS Florida State

- Tennessee State, the nation's top-ranked FCS HBCU team, takes the nation's top-ranked FCS defense to West Tennessee to take on a solid, 4-2 UT-Martin team that likes to run the football
- Lincoln (Mo.) tries to avoid their fourth-consecutive loss when they visit Nebraska-Kearney in a battle of 1-5 teams.  Lincoln defeated Nebraska-Kearney last year, their last road win.
- Langston will honor the 40th anniversary of the school's last championship football team - a team that featured former Dallas Cowboy Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson - when they host Texas College on homecoming Saturday

Friday, October 18, 2013

What's Happening at Grambling? Tumultous Week Leaves J-State With No Homecoming Game and Plenty of Questions at Grambling


Safety Naquan Smith speaks during a "State of Emergency" rally on the Grambling campus Thursday.  Pic by The Associated Press

Buses that were supposed to take Grambling players to Jackson State for their game Saturday sat empty before leaving as players refused to show up.  Picture by Sean Isabella/News-Star

After one of the most bizarre weeks in not only HBCU football history, but college football history, Jackson State University's homecoming weekend will be highlighted only by a glorified scrimmage.

But it's hardly Jackson State's fault.

Their scheduled opponent, Grambling State, isn't coming to town.  In fact, the storied football program is in shambles right now as a player revolt against administrators this past week, ending with the players' refusal to play or practice, has forced the cancellation of the game.

Players have united in their frustration with having to bus from Grambling, La., to games in Kansas City, Mo., a nine-hour ride covering nearly 600 miles one way, and Indianapolis, Ind., another 12 hour ride of nearly 760 miles one way ( "It does something to your body, being on the bus that long," safety Naquan Smith told Sports Illustrated. "We were kinda upset [the] other team got a chance to fly there. It wasn't fair.."); not getting all the meals they were supposed to have gotten on trips; poor athletic facilities and what they see as Grambling administrators lack of support for the football program.

The capper this week was the firing of head coach Doug Williams, the Grambling and Super Bowl legend who led the Tigers to a Southwestern Athletic Conference title two years ago, but a 1-10 record last year and an 0-2 record this year with two blowout losses.

But school president Frank Pogue said during a Friday news conference that the firing of Williams was one he had pondered for awhile.

"It was a difficult decision that clearly was not made overnight or over a week but frankly over an extended period time," he said.

But reports cite a rift between the two men.  According to Sports Illustrated, Williams feuded with Pogue and athletic director Aaron James over everything from signs for coaches in a parking lot to Williams' pay and bonuses.  Williams sued Grambling and the University of Louisiana system after winning the SWAC title in 2011. He and his coaches weren't paid bonuses due to them in their contract.  His suit against the school said Grambling said they would only pay if Williams signed a contract that reduced his pay and dropped future bonuses.  The suit was settled when Williams signed a three-year contract.

But apparently, that destroyed any long-term good relationship between Williams and his president and athletic director. According to Sports Illustrated, Williams found money to have a floor replaced in the team's weight room, but Pogue and James didn't think Williams followed protocol in getting the money secured. Not long afterwards, Williams was fired and running backs coach George Ragsdale was named interim coach, though players preferred defensive coordinator Dennis "Dirt" Winston, a gritty former Pittsburgh Steeler.

The floor, badly needing repairs, still wasn't fixed.

Money has been a recurring theme in this situation.  In a time when nearly every higher education institution has had to deal with falling enrollments, fewer state and federal appropriations and shrinking budgets, HBCU's -- long underfunded -- have felt the brunt moreso than most other institutions.

Grambling is an prime example.

The school's overall budget this year is $13.8 million, down more than $18 million over the past five years, according to Sports Illustrated.   Football and other athletic programs have been directly affected during a time with the University has had to layoff employees and furlough others.

It's led to one of the other players' complaints, poor facilities, such as reported mold and mildew in their weight room. 

"We felt like we've been mistreated," said Smith in a USA Today story Thursday after he addressed a student rally. "The administration is finally addressing some of the facilities issues, but we felt like it should have been done a long time ago."

As the losses continued, player frustration mounted too.  Tuesday they met with Pogue, James and Ragsdale, though no assistant coaches were invited to the meeting.  The meeting turned sour after the players voiced their displeasure.  Then they walked out.

Not only did they walk out, they didnt show up for practice the next day or the day after.

Ragsdale, who reportedly was having problems with his assistant coaches as well as players, was relieved of his coaching duties and reassigned to an undetermined position.  Winston was named interim coach.

But by then it was too late.

Players' confidence in Pogue was zero at that point.

"We felt there is a lack of leadership with the administration," Smith told USA Today. "We had a personal issue with (Ragsdale) and demanded for him to go. We want (Pogue) to go."

Players were supposed to be at a team walk-through before heading to Jackson, Miss., Friday.  No players showed.  Players were to board buses to take them to Jackson, Miss., for Saturday's Jackson State game at 2:30 p.m. Friday. Only a few showed.

A meeting was held with players and administrators who were trying to broker some sort of agreement.  Buses rescheduled to take players to Jackson State at 4:30 p.m. sat idle and then left empty at 5 p.m.

By then, talks had broken down and the homecoming game at Jackson State, which would have attracted nearly 30,000 people and likely millions of dollars in revenue, was cancelled.

"It's very disappointing," SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp told The Associated Press. "But without knowing all the facts it's hard for me to make a judgment."

So instead of a huge homecoming football game Saturday, Jackson State will have a football scrimmage and their band will perform and extended show.  Fans will get refunds on their tickets too.

"It's not ideal," Jackson State spokeswoman Jean Cook told ESPN. "But we're trying to make the best of things."

According to Sean Isabella, who has covered the saga extensively for The News-Star, SWAC bylaws say Grambling is on the hook for a $20,000 fine. Isabella also reported Friday night that James said no players would see their scholarships revoked because of the boycott, though James did mention scholarship agreements said revocation can happen if a player doesn't attend practice or games. 

Meanwhile, Friday night ended with a team without a game Saturday and a question mark on what happens next.

One person was proud of how the players handled everything.

"I'm proud of them boys," said Doug Williams in a text message to USA Today columnist Jarrett Bell. "They took a stance."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Grambling Players Angry With Adminstration, Boycott Practice Wed; Practice Canceled Thursday and Interim Coach Fired


Typical on the Gulf Coast, but when it rains, it pours. And around the Grambling football program, it probably feels like a monsoon right now.

In the midst of an 0-7 season, following a 1-10 season last year, and an early season coaching change,Grambling coaches and officials are now dealing with unhappy players who boycotted practice Wednesday and practice was canceled on Thursday.

On top of that, interim head coach George Ragland has been fired today by the school.

It all leaves folks in Jackson, Miss., wondering since the Tigers are supposed to be the Homecoming opponent for Southwestern Athletic Conference power Jackson State Saturday.

Jackson State spokesman Eric Stringfellow said Thursday evening that the game was still go.  SWAC officials said the 2 p.m. will proceed as scheduled.

But things are weird in Lousisiana.

It all stems from a Tuesday evening meeting between players and Grambling administrators, including school president Frank Pogue, athletic director Aaron James and Ragland.

Administrators sought to show their support for the winless team that went 1-10 last season.  But frustrations bubbled over when players complained about having to take bus trips from Grambling, La., to games in Kansas City, Mo., and Indianapolis, Ind., this season.  Their opponent in Indianapolis' Circle City Classic, Alcorn State of Mississippi, flew to that game. 

According to reports, the players also are still smarting over the September firing of former head coach Doug Williams.  USA Today, who quoted an unnamed source, reported the players are also unhappy about not receiving all the meals they are supposed to on road trips and of the poor state of facilities, such as their weight room.

 But the meeting turned negative and players walked out and didnt come to practice Wednesday.  Ragsdale's assistants weren't invited, according to USA Today, which also signaled a rift between Rasgdale and his assistants.

“It was basically a mutiny,” a source told the Shreveport Times. “(The team) rode the bus all that way (to Indianapolis), and then come back and are disrespected like that (in Tuesday’s meeting).
“(The team) is standing together because they don’t know if anybody else is standing with them.”

 “Things are rough, and we understand our players' frustration,” Grambling spokesman Will Sutton told The News Star Wednesday. “The president is frustrated, the A.D. is frustrated, the students are frustrated, the alumni are frustrated, so we fully understand our players' frustration.”
But things got worse Thursday afternoon.

The school reportedly fired Ragland and replaced him with defensive coordinator and former Pittsburgh Steeler great, Dennis "Dirt" Winston. 

Apparently, that's what the team wanted. 

“As a team, we feel like we wanted (Ragsdale) to actually step down,” safety Naquan Smith told the News Star newspaper Thursday. “(The team) is behind us because they know what we’ve been going through. They know the struggle. We said we’re behind each other 100 percent.”

The team met at 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon to decide if they would be in uniform Saturday.  And a closed evening practice was scheduled for tonight.

But the story remains fluid.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tennessee State and Winston-Salem State Lead Adds HBCU Sports Report Top Ten Polls


Winston-Salem State served notice last weekend that new faces means old results as they shut down one of the CIAA's top teams during a festive homecoming weekend and continued to sit in the top spot of the Add's HBCU Sports Report HBCU Top Ten Poll for Division II schools.

The Rams broke open a tight game with fourth-ranked Johnson C. Smith to pull away for a 44-17 win in Winston-Salem.  Second ranked Tuskegee blasted SIAC foe Morehouse 54-10 to retain their second place ranking.

The middle of the Division II Top Ten poll saw a lot of changes as Fayetteville State lost last weekend. The Broncos fell to ninth while Stillman moved up to fifth and St. Augustine to sixth. Lane entered the poll for the first time this season at tenth.

In the Division I-Football Championship Series HBCU Top Ten Poll, Tennessee State continued to command the top spot after defeating one of the nation's top FCS teams in Jacksonville State, 31-15.  Bethune-Cookman is in the second spot while South Carolina State, Jackson State and Alabama State are the top five.

Here are the two Add's HBCU Sports Report Top Ten Polls for this week:

Division I- Football Championship Series
1) Tennessee State
2) Bethune-Cookman
3) South Carolina State
4) Jackson State
5) Alabama State
6) Alcorn State
7) Prairie View
8) North Carolina A&T
9) North Carolina Central
10) Southern

     Division II
1) Winston-Salem State
2) Tuskegee
3) Virginia State
4) Johnson C. Smith
5) Stillman
6) Kentucky State
7) St.Augustine's
8) Chowan
9) Fayetteville State
10) Lane