Saturday, September 27, 2014

Texas Southern/Alabama State Battle for Early Season SWAC Leadership; Previews of EVERY HBCU Football Game For Sat. Sept 27

(photo by Texas Southern athletic web site)

You couldn't get a better first time match-up in an early season HBCU classic than this.  The Southwestern Athletic Conference's two best teams, Texas Southern (4-0) in the west and Alabama State (3-1) in the east, do battle in the inaugural Prince Hall Mason's Americanism Football Classic in Montgomery, Ala. 

Both teams are 2-0 in SWAC play, lead their divisions and feature the second and third best offenses in the conference.

At 3-1, Alabama State's most impressive win was in getting in front of 20th-ranked Tennessee State and holding them off.  The Hornets were able to move the ball against TSU, which has the nation's second best defense. 

Alabama State does it on the ground, where they run for 272 yards a game.  The Hornet running attack is led by running back Malcolm Cyrus.  Cyrus is one of the country's top rushers, averaging 153 yards a game. 

Defense is where Alabama State struggles.  They are next to last in the SWAC in total defense, mainly because they are last in the conference in pass defense in which they give up 310 yards a game.

That could be a big problem as Homer Causey and Jamal Small lead a two-quarterback system that has accounted for 10 touchdowns, only two interceptions and 800 yards passing this season.  But it's a balanced TSU offense as the SWAC's second best rusher is Daveonn Porter, who averages 104 yards a game. Porter rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown in last week's win over Alabama A&M.

"We're just looking forward to the opportunity to step up to the challenge again and play a really good team and see how we measure up to a team that is playing lights out and scoring a lot of points and stopping people on defense," said ASU head coach Reggie Barlow. "So it will be a big challenge for our team, but we are looking forward to it."

Interestingly, the last three battles haven't been big battles as Alabama State has won each game handily, including last year's 34-2 win.  

Here is a look at all of today's other HBCU football action:

Lane at Tuskegee (Tuskegee has struggled to move the ball on offense so far this season, but held their own in a tough loss to the nation's top Division II team, Winston-Salem State last week.  Lane's offense has been anemic, averaging only 200 yards total offense a game and just garnering 59 yards rushing all season)
West Georgia at Clark Atlanta (Undefeated West Georgia brings a team into Clark Atlanta that was dominated by the Panthers last season 28-3.  This is a different group of Wolves though. Their defense has given up only 8 points per game and just 207 yards rushing all season.  They will be challenged by the SIAC's top rushing offense, led by Montavious Taylor) 

Kentucky State at Stillman (Kentucky State has played well enough to be 3-0 this season, based on a defense that has allowed 16 and 13 points in their two losses.   They are stout against the run. Stillman has the SIAC's worst defense, as they give up 447 yards a game and 6.3 yards a play, second worst in the conference)

Morehouse at Paine (Except for the buzzsaw called Howard's Greg McGhee, Morehouse has sailed through their first three games so far this season with big wins over Edward Waters and Central State. But even though Paine is in their first year of competitive football since the early1960s, Paine is a team that could very well be 3-0, losing their three games by a total of nine points. Both teams score a lot, so defense will be the key in this game)

Fort Valley State at Benedict (This battle between 2-1 teams features a Fort Valley State team that is solid on offense, ranking third in the SIAC in total offense based on a balanced passing and running game. Benedict doesn't score a lot of points, but they rely on a defense that, except for a season-opening 63-0 thrashing at the hands of South Carolina State, has played pretty well in wins over Lane and Elizabeth City State)

Central State at Delta State (The Marauders have a tough date to try to erase the wounds from last week's 43-9 loss to Morehouse.  Delta State is the nation's 12th ranked Division II team that boasts quarterback Tyler Sullivan, who has averaged 359 yards a game.)

Miles at Albany State (Miles will run into a surly bunch of Golden Rams this weekend. Albany State is 0-2 and needs a win to get things going. They've found scoring tough, averaging only 11 points a game and ranking next to last in the SIAC in total offense.  They've only scored two touchdowns in their two games. Miles has gotten ready with two tough opponents in losses to Hampton and West Georgia the past two weeks.  Their balanced attack features the SIAC's leading rusher, Jonathan Clark, and third best passer, Demetric Price)


Southern at Alcorn State (Alcorn State's high flying offense has put up nearly 45 points and 472 yards offense a game this season. They also have one of the nation's to FCS defensive units.  Southern is solid on both sides of the ball, though their pass defense, ranked seventh in the SWAC, will get tested)

Alabama A&M at Mississippi Valley State (Mississippi Valley State has struggled on offense, particularly in the passing game which is the SWAC's second-worst. The Delta Devils also give up 42 points a game, which is at the bottom of the conference. Alabama A&M isnt much better on offense offense, and has given up an average of 37.5 points a game this season)

Grambling State vs. Prairie View A&M (Grambling has looked better and better each week, culminating with their win over Jackson State last week. Prairie View is 0-3, but they played good teams in Texas Southern and McNeese State.  The offense was balanced between quarterback Jerry Lovelock and running back Johnta Hebert in last week's loss to Southern.  Both teams score a bunch, but give up a lot of points. The least either has given up this year is the 34 points PVAM allowed in their loss to 34-24 loss to Southern)

Jackson State at Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Jackson State is at a crossroads already this season.  Are they the team that jumped out to a 2-0 record or are they the squad that was muscled Tennessee State and previously winless Grambling? Arkansas-Pine Bluff needs a win to keep pace in the SWAC West where Texas Southern threatens to run away with the crown)

Bowie State at Livingstone (Livingstone quarterback Drew Powell (10 touchdowns passing, four rushing) leads a high flying offense that hasn't really been tested this season. But his team is 3-0 and playing well. Bowie State's late comeback against a good Concord team fell short, but showed that they can score when they need to. They sport one of the CIAA's top rushing teams, led by Kendall Jefferson)

Lincoln (Pa) at Shaw (Shaw's offense has struggled, getting only six points in each of the last two games -- except last week in their 20-17 win over UNC-Pembroke.  Lincoln (Pa) isn't much better, but they are led by a solid quarterback in Doug Cook, running back Stephen Scott and wide reciever Akeem Jordan)

Chowan at St. Augustine’s (Of the CIAA's 12 defenses, St. Augustine's has the 10th best.  Chowan has the worst.  Both teams rely on their running games. St. Aug's is led by Roderick Davenport who averages 118 yards a game, while Chowan's DeSean Martin is their top rusher.  Chowan looked good in their win over Fayetteville State, but has been blown out by good teams in Alderson Broaddus and North Carolina A&T.  St. Aug's has been blown out in all three of their losses)
Fayetteville State at Virginia State (One of the biggest surprises of the season is Virginia State, winless in three games less than a year from a conference title game and NCAA Division II appearance

Virginia Union at Johnson C. Smith (To say Johnson C. Smith has struggled on offense is an understatement.  They've scored a total of 13 points in three games, all in their win over Kentucky State two weeks ago. They've been overmatched in routs to Charlotte and West Georgia, making Virginia Union a much better barometer of where they are this season.  But 2-1 Virginia Union is solid on offense, particularly in the passing game. Defensively, they can be stingy. They blanked Siena Heights in week one and last week held Fayetteville State 11 yards rushing)
Elizabeth C. State at Winston-Salem State (Elizabeth City State has the CIAA's worst passing game, averaging 108 yards a game and only accounting for one touchdown, while WSSU has the league's top passing duo in Rudy Johnson and Phil Sims and the league's best defense. But ECSU has a solid running game and plays strong defense overall) 


North Carolina A&T at Howard (North Carolina A&T has things rolling so far this season, with two blow out wins, a tough victory over Elon and a one-point loss to fifth ranked Coastal Carolina. Sophomore Tarik Cohen anchors a solid running game, averaging nearly 141 yards a contest. But Howard has one of the league's top offensive weapons in quarterback Greg McGhee, who has run for seven touchdowns and threw for two so far in 2014)

South Carolina State at Hampton (South Carolina State got a big win over nationally ranked Furman last week, shedding memories of the shellacking they took at the hands of Clemson and Coastal Carolina.  Last week, Hampton got their first win under Connell Maynor, 34-30 over Miles. The offense is solid.  The defense lacking)

Florida Tech at Bethune-Cookman (Just what Bethune-Cookman needs after a few weeks of tough opponents -- a Florida Tech team that is 3-0, stingy on defense and explosive on offense, averaging 44 points a game, 200 yards rushing a game and 285 yards a game. But Bethune-Cookman is a hard nosed football team that leads the MEAC in defense, allowing only 86 yards a game on the ground)

Morgan State at Norfolk State (This isn't your usual Morgan State football team. These Bears have been in every game this year and throw it around with the best of them. So much so that they sport the MEAC's top offense, behind the MEAC's top rusher in Herb Walker Jr. and quarterback Robert Council.  Norfolk State is the exact opposite.  They've only mustered nearly 7 points a game so far and rank next to last in offense in the MEAC.  But their defense has been stout, especially against the rush. So it will be the battle of immovable forces)

Savannah State at Delaware State (Savannah State's defense has been a problem this season. They are the MEAC's worst against the run and seventh against the pass, meaning they are last overall. Their offense is spotty as they've averaged just 14.7 points a game. Delaware State has the opposite problem - their offense has been non-existent, especially in the running game. They are tough against the pass and play solid defense)


Florida A&M at Tennessee State (Not a good weekend for Florida A&M to heading into Nashville to play Tennessee State.  The TSU defense, the second best in the country, is clicking while FAMU has only managed to score 27 points in three games this season.  And its homecoming at Tennessee State)

Langston at Hardin-Simmons (Langston, coming off a big loss last week to North Alabama, plays a Hardin-Simmons team who had a good 37-23 win last week.  At 1-2, Langston's problem so far is defense.  While they average 355 yards of offense a game, Langston gives up 432 yards a contest)

No comments:

Post a Comment