Saturday, September 7, 2013

Howard and Morehouse Battle in the D.C.; Full List of Today's HBCU Football Action

Photo by Philip McCullom


Say what you will about Morehouse head football coach Rich Freeman, but realistic optimist would have to be tops on your list.

A year after a 3-7 football season where injuries to his most of his best players shot a hole in a promising year for Morehouse football, Freeman brings his team to Washington, D.C. where they will face Howard in the 3rd Annual AT&T Nations Football Classic on Saturday.  Howard has won the first two games in this new series between the two schools (though only by a total of four points) and the Bison are hungry for a win after Eastern Michigan came from behind to defeat Howard 24-22 last week.

Add to that huge losses on defense from last season's Morehouse team and all of that makes today's Classic, at RFK Stadium, a daunting task for the Division II Maroon Tigers against the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) Bison.

"Last season was awful for us.  We came in highly ranked...only to be decimated by injuries," Freeman said during the AT&T Nations Football Classic Welcome Dinner for the two teams.  "We just want to make it through the season and just put a team on the field.  Of course our ultimate goal every year is to play fast, hard and smart. We've got a talented group of young guys and I'm really excited about finding out about this team.  I kind of had the the pulse of the four teams prior and I'm very up front and honest, and my players know this, and I'm trying to find the pulse of this football team.  What better test than to go up against a very good football team at Howard University."

Offensively, the Maroon Tigers look solid as running back Shelton Hamilton returns from a season-ending knee injury last season. Hamilton ably stepped into the limelight last year when star runner David Carter was hampered by hamstring issues.  Freeman expects Hamilton to have a break out season, though he will be pushed by two other running Tigers.  The quarterbacks are new, but Freeman is confident in both Joshua Harris and Jordan Tarver.  Devon Mann returns to lead the receiving corps.  The problem for the Maroon Tigers will be on defense where they lost their entire starting linebacking group to graduation.

That's important as Howard quarterback Greg McGhee is coming off a big week against Eastern Michigan last weekend.  He rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown while passing for 182 yards and another touchdown (and an interception).  Jonathan Booker was on the receiving end of six of those passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.

"Our kids played hard," said Howard interim coach Ray Petty. We didnt have the game one mistakes that a lot of times you run into.  They executed well and it was close. But close doesn't count.  But we're going to go try to finish it up this week."

Last season, Morehouse was ahead by six points heading into the final two minutes of the game. The Bison drove down the field against the Maroon Tigers and squeaked ahead 24-23 after an Aquanius Freeman's 2-yard touchdown run.  But on the following possession, Mann took a pass 72 yards for a touchdown with 1:54 left.  The Tigers missed the two-point conversion and led 29-24.  But aided by a controversial penalty call, Howard quickly drove down field and went up 30-29 on a 13-yard David Wilson touchdown pass to Justin Cunningham.    

"[Today's game] is going to be a great football game," Petty said.  "Two years in a row now it's gone down basically to the last play of the game.  We've been on the fortunate side to be able to win the game.  Soembody is going to win, somebody is going to lose.  But their team is going to play hard every year.   A couple of tiems we got out to a lead on them and thought we put them away and they just kept fighting and come back. You'll probably see the same kind of game this year."
Freeman expects the same.

"We do have some good football players," he said.  "I say that all the time.  The SIAC, the CIAA, Division II football as a whole, is well respected for the talent that we have.  So I'm confident that we have guys that can get it done.  I'm just happy to that those young guys played [last season] so they can take some of that talent they have, mix experience with it and see what happens, put it oven and bake the cake." 

Other HBCU football match-ups today:

Southwestern Athletic Conference

- Mississippi Valley State hosts Delta State
- Alcorn State visits Mississippi State from the SEC
- Alabma State is at Jackson State
- Grambling State goes to Louisiana-Monroe
- Prairie View A&M plays at Texas State
- Tuskegee visits state rival Alabama A&M in the 4th Annual Louis Crews Classic/
- Southern goes to Northwestern State
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff is at McNeese State 

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

- South Carolina State goes up against Clemson of the ACC
- Robert Morris hosts Morgan State
- Norfolk State visits Rutgers
- St. Augustine is at North Carolina Central
- Florida A&M hosts Tennessee State
- Delaware State plays rival Delaware
- Virginia Union goes to Bethune-Cookman
- Hampton plays at William & Mary
- Savannah State visits Troy
- North Carolina A&T heads to Appalachian State

Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

- Lane visits Virginia University of Lynchburg
- Benedict goes to Central State
- Valdosta State plays Fort Valley State
- Stillman hosts Concordia
- Albany State opens at North Greenville
- Clark Atlanta is at West Alabama

Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

- UNC Pembroke defeated Winston Salem State 25-21 Thursday night
- Chowan is at UNC-Charlotte
- Shaw hosts Charleston
- Bowie State is at St. Anselm
- Lincoln is at Cheyney
- Johnson C. Smith takes on Livingstone in the Commemorative Classic
- Newberry is at Elizabeth City State
- Virginia State visits Fayetteville State

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Winston Salem State, Miles and Tuskegee Among the Preseason Best in Division II HBCU Football in 2013



1) Winston Salem State
2) Miles
3) Tuskegee
4) Fort Valley State
5) Chowan
6) Albany State
7) Elizabeth City State
8) Johnson C. Smith
9) Stillman
10) Morehouse

Division II HBCU football teams around the country will kick off their seasons this weekend.  Here is our rundown of what the Division II black college football landscape looks like:

Winston Salem State could do little wrong in 2012 as they blasted through the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to win their second consecutive conference championship and make it to the Division II title game.  They finished undefeated in the conference and 14-1 overall after falling in the NCAA Division II title game.

They lose a number of offensive stars, but the Rams return a number of players who got huge amounts of playing time because, well, the Rams were blowing people out so badly last season.  Leading the offense will be running back Maurice Lewis,who rushed for 1,027 yards and 13 touchdowns.  Stepping in at quarterback will be Anthony Carothers, a former Grambling transfer who played more than capably when spelling graduated all-everything quarterback Kameron Smith. 

The Rams also have back the 2012 CIAA Defensive Player of the Year Carlos Fields, a ball-hawking linebacker who had 117 tackles for the conference’s top defense, and Donnie Owens, a defensive lineman who added 7.5 sacks and 62 tackles in 2012.

Capping off a dream season, Miles College made the program’s first Division II playoff appearance in 2012 after going 8-2 and winning the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference crown.  They return All-SIAC quarterback David Thomas, who threw for 2,059 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, as well as All-Conference running back Floyd Graves.  They lost some big names on defense, but the Golden Bears have seven starters back for 2013.  Reginald Virges had 82 tackles and three interceptions last season while James Gaines III four sacks along with 52 stops.

Chowan, who could be the surprise team in the CIAA, is ranked fourth. The rest of the Division II Top Ten is Albany State, Elizabeth City State, Johnson C. Smith, Stillman and Morehouse. 

For comprehensive, compelling and complete coverage on everything about HBCU football, bookmark and go to Add’s HBCU Sports Report.  You can also get daily, up-to-the-minute HBCU football and other HBCU sports news by following on Twitter @AddsHBCUSports.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hampton's Vendula Strakova Named MEAC Volleyball Player of the Week


Vendula Strakova, who had 67 kills on 145 attacks in leading Hampton to a 3-0 record this weekend, was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's Player of the Week Monday.

Strakova, a 6-foot junior from Brno, Czech Republic, had a .290 hitting percentage in three matches in the North Carolina Central Invitational over the weekend.   A three-time MEAC Player of the Week last year, Strakova was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player as she also had six service aces in those three matches.

Der'ja Martin of the Florida A&M was named the MEAC's Rookie of the Week had 19 kills and eight digs during the Georgia Tech Invitational.

Here are other MEAC Volleyball honors for Sept 2

Bethune-Cookman Outlasts Tennessee State; Florida A&M Handles Mississippi Valley State

Photo by Steven Harman of The Tennessean


On a night when neither offense could muster much offense, Bethune-Cookman did just enough to defeat Tennessee State 12-9 in the 14th John A. Merritt Classic in Nashville, Tenn.

Jackie Wilson threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Murphy late in the fourth quarter that gave the Wildcats their 12-9 lead in the battle of two of the nation's top HBCU football squads.  The Big Blue Tigers made it into Bethune-Cookman territory on the game's final drive, but Jamin Godfrey missed a 49-yard field goal on the last play that would have sent the game into overtime.

Both defenses played well as Bethune-Cookman, with star running back Isadore Jackson only getting  56 yards on the ground, had just 260 yards of total offense. Tennessee State, who was playing without suspended starting quarterback Michael German, wasn't much better as they had 248 yards of total offense on the night.

Tennessee State head coach Rod Reed suspended German for the Tigers first two games after a summer in which he was charged with felony vandalism (the charge was dropped in early August) and he had to go to summer school to remain academically ineligible.

TSU quarterback finished with 132 yards passing while All American tight end A.C. Leonard and wide reciever Devin Wilson each had five catches.  Wilson had 54 yards passing and 43 yards rushing for Bethune-Cookman.

Next weekend, Tennessee State, who will again be without German, visits Florida A&M while Bethune-Cookman hosts Virginia Union.

Photo by Mike Ewen of The Tallahassee Democrat

Florida A&M Defense Stuffs Mississippi Valley State 27-10

The Florida A&M defense struck and struck and struck again.

Mississippi Valley State struggled all night against a stiff Rattlers defense while an efficient Florida A&M running game led the Rattlers to a 27-10 opening-season win over the Delta Devils in the 9th Annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge Presented by Disney in Orlando.

Patrick Aiken, Darren Parker and John Ojo each had interceptions for Florida A&M while Michael Ducre had eight tackles for the Rattlers.   FAMU only allowed 88 yards passing on the day while giving up 132 yards on the ground.

FAMU sprinted out to a 20-0 first-half lead after touchdowns by quarterback Damien Fleming and running back Omar Albert.  Chris Varnadore added two field goals.  Mississippi Valley State rallied by scoring 10 points during a 13-minute second half span with a field goal by Cherchen Galon and a 2-yard touchdown by quarterback Jeremy Collins.

By the Ratters stiffened up again, shutting the Delta Devils down the rest of the way.  FAMU running back Al-Terek McBurse closed out the game with a 14-yard touchdown.  McBurse led FAMU with 55 yards rushing. Albert added 47.  Fleming 110 yards passing and 38 yards on the ground.  Mississippi Valley State's Patrick Ivy finished with 74 yards rushing, with a long run of 64 yards.

Florida A&M hosts Tennessee State next Saturday while Mississippi Valley State hosts Delta State.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Brandon Wells Leads Alabama A&M Past Grambling 23-9; Also Other HBCU Scores and Capusles

Photo by Dacia Idom of The News Star


Alabama A&M's quarterback situation is just fine, thank you.

Stepping in for the graduated mega-star quarterback Deaunte Mason, Brandon Wells had 187 yards passing and two touchdowns to guide the Bulldogs to a season-opening 23-9 victory at Grambling Saturday.

It did take A&M a quarter to get the offense together, but Wells threw a short touchdown pass to Toriono Upshaw just before halftime to give the Bulldogs a 16-3 lead and some breathing room in a close game.

Wells added another touchdown pass, a 24-yarder to Montarius Smith, three minutes into the second half, putting the game out of reach for Grambling.

Wells added 28 yards rushing for A&M. Barrington Scott had 77 yards rushing on the night. Cedric Skinner was one of the few bright spots for a Grambling offense that could only muster 165 yards in total offense Saturday.  Skinner had 73 yards on 14 carries for the Tigers.

Alabama A&M hosts Tuskegee in the Louis Crews Classic/Hall of Fame Game next Saturday night while Grambling goes to the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

Eastern Michigan 34, Howard 24

Two second-half Bronson Hill touchdowns runs help Eastern Michigan to a come-from-behind 34-24 win over Howard.

The visiting Bison were primed for the upset in the third quarter after Greg McGhee threw 32-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Booker and then added a 1-yard plunge to put Howard up 24-13.  But Hill ended the quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run and then a 3-yarder early in the fourth quarter to put the Eagles up to stay.  Darius Jackson added another touchdown to cap Eastern Michigan's 21-point barrage.

 Hill finished with 101 yards rushing while Eagles quarterback Tyler Benz had 210 yards passing and two TDs.  McGhee was the bulk of Howard's offense with 182 yards passing and 93 yards rushing, including a 75-yarder.

Eastern Michigan goes to Penn State next Saturday while Howard takes on Morehouse in the AT&T Nation's Football Classic at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

Photo by

Prairie View 37, Texas Southern 13

Courtney Brown rushed for two touchdowns and Jerry Lovelocke was 30-of-39 passing with a touchdown as Prairie View took down Texas Southern 37-13 in the 29th Annual Labor Day Classic in Houston.

Brown's second quarter four-yard touchdown broke a 13-13 tie and started a streak of 17 unanswered points that put the Panthers up for good.  He had the game's final score, an 8-yard touchdown run, late in the fourth quarter.  He finished with 98 yards rushing for the game.

Lovelocke finished with 283 yards passing, including his 29-yard touchdown toss to Greg Thurmond in the third quarter.

Texas Southern's Daveon Porter had a solid night on the ground with 104 yards rushing for the Tigers.

Texas State is up next for Prairie View on Sept. 7 while Texas Southern looks to regroup at Sam Houston State.

 Alcorn State 62, Edward Waters 12

Arnold Walker rushed for three touchdowns and Anthony Williams added two more as Alcorn State opened the season with a 63-12 ambush of Edward Waters Saturday.

Walker had all three of his touchdown runs in the first half as the Braves sprinted out to a 49-6 halftime lead.  Alcorn State's defense complemented the offense by not allowing Edwards Waters in the end zone all day and only giving up four field goals.

Walker had 75 yards rushing on the day while Williams finished with 50.

Next Saturday, Alcorn State faces a much bigger opponent when they visit the SEC's Mississippi State. Edward Waters is off until Sept. 28 when they go to Atlanta to play Morehouse. 

Other HBCU scores:

Maine 23, Norfolk State 6
Georgia Southern 77, Savannah State 9
Coastal Carolina 27, South Carolina State 20
Arkansas State 62, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 11
Jacksonville State 24, Alabama State 22
Duke 45, North Carolina Central 0
Northern Colorado 31, Langston 10