Saturday, November 8, 2014

North Carolina A&T and Morgan State Battle for a Share of MEAC Top Spot; Games Determining Title Matchups in CIAA and SIAC; Look at ALL HBCU Action Today


Bethune-Cookman's fourth quarter rally to defeat Norfolk State Thursday gave some breathing room in the tight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference race.

But that's only until today.

Bethune-Cookman now has a 5-1 MEAC record to sit alone in first place, breaking a five-way tie that existed until Thursday.  Now there is a three-way tie for second place between North Carolina A&T, South Carolina State and Morgan State, all with 4-1 records.

After today, Bethune-Cookman will have some company in the top spot as North Carolina A&T hosts Morgan State.  Morgan has won three of their last four games, with their only loss in that span to Villanova, the fifth ranked team in FCS football.

North Carolina A&T may be the top ranked team in several HBCU Top Ten polls, including ADDS HBCU SPORTS REPORT, but they've lost to Morgan State each of the past two years.

“We’ve had our issues with Morgan State the last two years," said Aggies head coach Rod Broadway. "They matchup pretty good against us and coach (Lee) Hull is doing a good job up there. But it’s a game we’re looking forward to. We have an opportunity to go out and play well this week. It’s going to take that because I’m impressed with those guys and how they do things. But I’m also impressed with our football team and the growth we’ve shown, so it should be a fun matchup.”

Morgan State is a team that relies upon the run as they average a MEAC-best 219 yards a game. They are led by Herb Walker Jr., the top rusher in the conference, averaging 131 yards a game. Quarterback Robert Council has thrown for seven touchdowns, but he also has run for six touchdowns and is fifth in the MEAC with 72 yards rushing per game.

The Aggies lead the MEAC in interceptions, pass defense efficiency and they are third in rushing defense. Tarik Cohen also leads the MEAC's third best offense by rushing for 120 yards a game, second behind Walker.

“It’s not going to be easy. Defensively they are excellent. They are one of the top defenses in the league and offensively they have a great running back," Hull said. "You can’t stop him, but you have to contain him as much as you can. They have their quarterback back which also makes their offense very difficult to stop. They also have a versatile receiving corps. All their guys can do some different things to get open. It’s going to be a hard-fought game. We have a work cut out for us. We’re going to go down there and see what happens.”

Today's game kick-offs at 1 p.m. eastern.

Here is a look at all of the rest of today's HBCU football action: 
South Carolina State at Florida A&M (It's an interesting time at Florida A&M these days. The anger over the firing of head coach and FAMU legend Earl Holmes during homecoming week still sits like a cloud over the program. South Carolina State comes to town needing a win to keep pace in the MEAC race as they are part of the three-way tie for second and needing a win to be part of a first-place tie. Florida A&M has actually played competitive football the past few weeks, coming within a yard of a win last week against a good Norfolk State team)
Hampton at North Carolina Central

Howard at Savannah State


Virginia State at Virginia Union (This is a big game. These are not only two of the best Division II teams in the country, but they are the two top teams in the CIAA Northern Division. A win for either team puts them into next week's CIAA Championship game against either Winston-Salem State or Fayetteville State. Both are high scoring offenses, with Virginia Union leading the CIAA in passing and Virginia State third in rushing with a CIAA-best 24 rushing TDs. So how do the defenses match up? They are ranked second and third in the CIAA)

Elizabeth City State at Bowie State

Lincoln (Pa) at Chowan

Shaw at St. Augustine's

Winston-Salem State at Fayetteville State (Fayetteville State couldn't have a better set up for this big game. The winner would get the CIAA Southern Division berth in the conference championship game next week and the Broncos will have a home crowd behind them. The Broncos have won five straight games and are one of the better scoring teams in the CIAA. But they are facing a steady and tough Winston-Salem State squad that hasn't been tested in weeks and has one of the nation's most potent offenses and stingiest defenses)

Livingstone at Johnson C. Smith


Texas Southern at Southern (Southern has been rolling along, but they are in the same SWAC West that has the hottest team in HBCU football, Grambling, a team that is 7-0 in conference play and a game ahead of Southern in the division. So Southern needs a win. But so does Texas Southern, whose four game winning streak to start the season is a distant memory.  The Tigers have lost four of their last five games)

Jackson State at Alabama State

Alcorn State at Alabama A&M (Alcorn State is rolling so far this season, but they'd better not sleep on Alabama A&M.  The Bulldogs are 4-5, but they are 3-0 in the SWAC East.  A loss to the Bulldogs would seriously damage Alcorn State's SWAC championship appearance hopes. But Alcorn has only lost once since early September and that loss was to streaking Grambling)

Prairie View A&M at Arkansas-Pine Bluff


Tuskegee at Miles (This game is for the SIAC West berth in the SIAC Championship game next week. Miles is looking for a return trip after losing to Albany State in the title game last year. Tuskegee is on a roll, winning their last six games and scoring at least 28 points per game. But last week they were in a tussle with Central State, winning only 28-25. Miles ended a three game losing streak by now winning five straight, though in much closer games)

Lane at Central State

Kentucky State at Morehouse (Morehouse is looking to end the season at 6-4, a huge turnaround from last season's two-win season. The Maroon Tigers looked strong against Fort Valley State as quarterback Monquavious Johnson was at full strength for the first time in several weeks.  Kentucky State has only won one of their last four in this three win season. But they do have a star runner in Jacquise Lockett, who is averaging 111 yards rushing a game.  Kentucky State also dominated Lane last week, 47-14)

Clark Atlanta at Stillman

Bendict at Paine

Fort Valley State at Albany State (A week ago, Morehouse took the steam out of this game when they upset Fort Valley State. Coupled with Albany State's win, it knocked FVSU out of a chance for an SIAC title berth, which now goes to Albany State. Both are still hoping for an NCAA Division II playoff berth and a win over surging Albany State would look good for Fort Valley State)

Tennessee State at Austin Peay (This has been a disappointing second-half of the season for the Big Blue Tigers. Despite having one of the nation's best defenses, TSU has lost five straight games.  The lack of a running game has been a big problem.  Austin Peay, a neighboring rival, has only won once this season and have lost their last two games by a combined score of 93-7)

Southwest Assemblies of God at Langston

McKendree at Lincoln (Mo)

Millersville at Cheyney (Cheyney, in their final home game of the season, is 0-9 and looking for their first win. But so is 0-9 Millersville. But Cheyney will need to pick up their offense though. Cheyney has only scored 13 points in the last three games, two of those contests being shutouts)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Two of MEAC's Five First Place Teams, Bethune-Cookman and Norfolk State, Battle Tonight


No one has to tell the Norfolk State football team how big tonight's game against Bethune-Cookman is.  They open up a huge HBCU football weekend that will determine the possible postseason fate and/or championship game fate for a number of teams.

And in this one, these two are part of a five-way, first-place logjam in the MEAC.

"It's going to see who is the last man standing," Norfolk State head coach Pete Adrian told The Virginian-Pilot. 

Forget the fact that the Spartans are 4-5 this season. What's important is they have won four of their last five games and are 4-1 in the MEAC.  Along with Bethune-Cookman, they are tied with South Carolina State and North Carolina A&T and Morgan State in the conference's top spot.  So this game will be the first in three that will help sort out the mess.  Morgan State visits North Carolina A&T Saturday while South Carolina State visits Florida A&M.

So a loss to any of the teams could be devastating to their championship hopes.

“To have this many teams tied is kind of interesting but also kind of good, because it allows everyone to keep a focus on our league, and it shows how much our league has improved,” Bethune-Cookman head coach Brian Jenkins told the Daytona News Journal.

A national television audience, via ESPNU at 7:30 p.m. eastern time, will see the MEAC's second-stingiest scoring defense in Norfolk State (allowing only 16.6 points a game) face the conference's second-best scoring offense in Bethune-Cookman (scoring 29.2 points per game).

The Wildcats have only been held to 14 or less three times this season -- two of those ending in losses, including their 20-14 defeat at the hands of South Carolina State two weeks ago.  The most Norfolk State has given up has been 14 points back in late September.

The Bethune-Cookman defense is just as stingy.  While Norfolk State sports the FCS' third best defense in yardage per game (254) BCU is second in the nation at 243 yards per game.

The difference in the two teams is offense.  Norfolk State ranks in the bottom half of the MEAC in most offensive categories, while Bethune-Cookman is third in rushing and fifth in passing.

But as they say, throw out the records in big games - especially since Norfolk State surprised everyone by beating BCU last season.

"I think the thing that helped us out last year was just believing that they're beatable,"  Nofolk State defense back Darrin Marrow told The Virginia Pilot. "I mean, they're not an NFL team; they're in our conference. We're just as good as they are."

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Final Weeks of Regular Season See Movement in ADDS HBCU SPORTS REPORT Football FCS/Division II Top Ten Polls This Week


The final weeks of the HBCU football regular season are here and the jockeying for playoff and conference title position can be seen in this week's ADDS HBCU SPORTS REPORT HBCU Football FCS/Division II Top Ten polls.

Winston-Salem State continues to sail along at 8-1 in the nation's top spot of the Division II poll, but visits No. 7 Fayetteville State, a team that's won five straight and could leap frog the Rams into the CIAA championship game with a win Saturday.

The nation's third and fourth ranked teams, Virginia State and Virginia Union tangle Saturday to see which will be the other team in the CIAA title game. Virginia State has won seven in a row while Virginia Union has won six of their last seven games.

Second-ranked Tuskegee is looking to clinch a spot opposite No. 5 Albany State in the SIAC championship game when they battle No. 6 Miles Saturday, a squad that has won five in a row after starting out the season losing three of four. Miles is looking for a win and a second-straight appearance in the SIAC championship game (they lost to Albany State last year).  

In the FCS poll, North Carolina A&T continues in the top spot, but they are closely followed by South Carolina State and Bethune-Cookman.  Bethune-Cookman takes on ninth-ranked Norfolk State Thursday in a battle of two teams part of a five-way, first place tie in the MEAC race.

Seventh-ranked Morgan State can make a mess of not only the ADD's HBCU SPORTS REPORT FCS Top Ten poll if they can pull off an upset at No. 1 North Carolina A&T. They are two of the other teams in the five-way MEAC first place tie, along with third-ranked South Carolina State.

Here are the entire ADD'S HBCU SPORTS REPORT FCS/DIVISION II football Top Ten polls for this week:


1) North Carolina A&T
2) South Carolina State
3) Bethune-Cookman
4) Alcorn State
5) Grambling
6) Southern
7) Morgan State
8) North Carolina Central
9) Norfolk State
10) Texas Southern


1) Winston-Salem State
2) Tuskegee
3) Virginia State
4) Virginia Union
5) Albany State
6) Miles
7) Fayetteville State
8) Morehouse
9) Fort Valley State
10) Livingstone

Sunday, November 2, 2014

21-Point Fourth Quarter Gives Bethune-Cookman 34-20 Win Over North Carolina Central; Recap of ALL HBCU Football Games From Saturday


This was North Carolina Central's big chance.

The Eagles had a chance to move forward in a five-way, second-place MEAC conference tie that started the day Saturday with a win at Bethune-Cookman.

But Bethune-Cookman erased a 20-13 deficit midway through the third quarter on the legs of three, fourth-quarter Anthony Jordan touchdowns to defeat the Eagles 34-20.

The win puts Bethune-Cookman back into a first-place tie with North Carolina A&T, South Carolina State, Morgan State and Norfolk State, all who have 4-1 conference records.  North Carolina Central drops to second at 3-2 in the MEAC.

“In the fourth quarter, we just couldn’t close out the game like we needed to,” Eagles head coach Jerry Mack told the Daytona News Journal. “I thought the guys played extremely hard, but we have to find a way to finish games in the fourth quarter.”

The first two quarters were like a championship fight with Bethune-Cookman throwing the first blow on Larry Brihm's 6-yard touchdown run to go up 7-0.  The counter punches came in the second quarter when North Carolina Central quarterback Malcolm Bell threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Quentin Atkinson, followed by Andre Clarke's 3-yard touchdown just before the half.  Michael Jones pulled the Wildcats to within one on his 43-yard touchdown run. A two-point conversion attempt failed, leading Bethune-Cookman down 14-13.

The Eagles extended their lead to 20-13 midway through the third-quarter on Clarke's second TD run that was set up by Adrian Wilkins' 91-yard kickoff return. 

And then the fourth-quarter onslaught began.

Jordan's first TD run, a one-yard plunge, came early in the final quarter. The Wildcats defense, which played well throughout the game, stiffened even more, forcing three North Carolina Central punts in the fourth quarter.  Bethune-Cookman had an 11-yard, 77-yard drive that followed the last punt, capped by Jordan's second 1-yard TD run to go up 27-20 with 3:09 left.

Bethune-Cookman completely stopped North Carolina Central's offense on the next drive, giving up minus 8-yards on four plays.  The Wildcats took over on downs with 1:26 left.  Jordan rushed 30 yards for his third touchdown on the next play for the game's final score.

“It was a great victory. We played a tough football team,” Bethune-Cookman head coach Brian Jenkins told the Daytona News Journal.. “They took us to the max.”

Bethune-Cookman (7-2) visits fellow MEAC first-place team, Norfolk State Saturday while North Carolina Central (4-5) hosts Hampton.


Winston-Salem State 61, Shaw 10 (Rudy Johnson threw for 241 yards and two touchdowns while Maurice Lewis rushed for 155 yards and a TD to lead Winston-Salem State to their eighth win of the season. While the Rams piled up yardage (543 yards), the Rams defense shut down Shaw's Trey Folston, the CIAA's leading passer, allowing only six yards.  The Bears only got 22 yards of total offense the entire game)

Johnson C. Smith 14, St. Augustine's 10 (

Bowie State 28, Lincoln (Pa) 7 (

Virginia Union 14, Elizabeth City State 7 (

Fayetteville State 31, Livingstone 28 (

Virginia State 40, Chowan 7 (


Grambling 35, Texas Southern 7 (The hottest team in HBCU football continues their roll as Grambling soundly defeated Texas Southern for their sixth straight win.  The 6-3 G-Men were again led by Johnathan Williams' 197 yards and two touchdowns passing and 71 yards and one TD rushing. Aaron Breed had a monster game on defense with ten tackles, 3.5 sacks and four tackles for losses. The Grambling defense had eight sacks and an interception)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff 24, Mississippi Valley State 14 (

Alabama A&M 25, Jackson State 14 (

Southern 28, Alabama State 21 (Alabama State's losing streak continues (four straight losses after four straight wins) while Southern's win streak (four games) continues. Austin Howard's 9-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter broke a 21-21 tie and give Southern the win. Howard had 291 yards and two touchdowns passing along with his rushing touchdown. Malcolm Cyrus had his seventh 100-yard rushing


Albany State 40, Benedict 14 (

Clark Atlanta 34, Paine 0 (Homecoming day at Clark Atlanta should be a competitive football game between a good passing team in Paine and the SIAC's top rushing team in Clark Atlanta.  Paine has the SIAC's best pass defense while CAU has the worst passing offense, so that's a wash. But CAU rusher Montavious Taylor is steady and has seven rushing TDs, tied for first in the conference. The defense that shows up (Paine is ranked fourth and CAU fifth in total defense) will likely determine this game)

Tuskegee 28, Central State 25 (

Kentucky State 47, Lane 14 (

Morehouse 24, Fort Valley State 21 (Morehouse erased three deficits to upset Fort Valley State on a cold night in Hotlanta. Down 19-18 late in the fourth quarter, Quarterback Monquavious Johnson's 44 yards rushing led the Maroon Tigers down field, culminating in a Shelton Hamilton touchdown to give Morehouse a 24-19 lead.  Johnson fumbled the two-point try and FVSU's Aaron Davis returned it 98 yards for two points.  Fort Valley State's potential game-winning drive ended with six seconds left when Morheouse's Jamil Irvin-Muh picked off a FVSU pass.  The loss, plus Albany State's win, gives ASU the SIAC East title, even as the two teams play next week. Fort Valley State is now two games behind Albany State. Morehouse is third but needs a win next week over Kentucky State to hold that third place spot. A FVSU loss and Morehouse win would make them the runner-up in the race)

Miles 26, Stillman 22 (


Norfolk State 12, Florida A&M 10 (A dismal homecoming week after the abrupt firing of Rattlers head coach Earl Holmes ended sadly as Norfolk State's George Riddick stopped FAMU quarterback Damien Fleming on third down at the 1-yard line in the last seconds of the game. FAMU couldn't get another play off and ended the game a yard short from a win. The win keeps Norfolk State in a first-place tie in the MEAC race.  FAMU is 2-3 over the last five games, though they've been competitive in losses to three of the MEAC's top teams)

Howard 17, Delaware State 10 (

Morgan State 38, Hampton 35 (

South Carolina State 59, Savannah State 7 (Savannah State remains winless


Eastern Kentucky 56, Tennessee State 42 (Tennessee State has lost five straight games, falling to one of the top teams in FCS football, Eastern Kentucky, which is now 8-1. The Colonels ran through the Ohio Valley Conference's top defense in Tennessee State as Dy'Shawn Mobley ran for 139 yards and three touchdowns. EKU only threw for 70 yards, but ran for 296. EKU quarterback Jared McClain did run for 139 yards and two touchdowns. TSU Quarterback Michael German threw for 326 yards and four touchdowns while Nick Thrasher had a career-high 17 tackles.)

West Chester 58, Cheyney 0 (

Notre Dame 41, West Virginia State 0 (

Langston 38, Panhandle State 17 (

Central Washington 17, Lincoln (Mo) 14 (