North Carolina A&T will be the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference representative in the inaugural Celebration Bowl football game on Dec. 19, but it's not because they won Saturday.
The Aggies were knocked off Saturday by rival North Carolina Central 21-16, leaving the MEAC championship as a three-way tie between A&T, Central and Bethune-Cookman who defeated Florida A&M Saturday. Because of the tie-breaker system, the Aggies will head to the Celebration Bowl to face the winner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
North Carolina A&T, who claimed a share of the MEAC title last week, could have won the MEAC title outright with a win over Central.
But that didn't happen Saturday as the Aggies managed only one offensive touchdown, a fourth-quarter Kylil Carter touchdown pass to Dequan Swann.
The Aggies led early, picking up a first quarter field goal. But North Carolina Central got touchdowns Malcolm Bell and a 67-yard punt return TD by LaVontis Smith to put them up to stay.
Tarik Cohen rushed for 112 yards to lead the Aggies offensively, while Lorenz Suttles and Denzel Jones each had seven tackles for the A&T defense.
Theo Livingston had a big game for the NCCU defense as he had 13 tackles and forced a fumble. Jordan Miles had nine tackles, while Richard Mitchell had two sacks.
The win gave North Carolina Central a share of the MEAC title for the second consecutive year as they end the season 8-3, 7-1 in the MEAC.
North Carolina A&T is now 9-2, 7-1 in the MEAC, with one game left to play.
"This is big for our program," A&T Head Coach Ron Broadway said according to the school's athletic web site. "This is why we do this - to have an opportunity to play in a bowl game. Our guys have done a great job of trying to build this program back from 1-10 and losing 27 in a row. When you think about where the program was when we came here and the fact that we're back-to-back champions of our league and the representative of our league in the first-ever Celebration Bowl five years later shows how much hard work has been put in by so many people around this university. It also shows how much hard work our players and our coaches have put in. This is a great honor for our outstanding university."
Alcorn State Wins SWAC East With Easy Win Over Alabama A&M
Alcorn State rolled up 500 yards rushing with three players with more than 100 yards rushing and at least a touchdown as the Braves defeated Alabama A&M 44-10 and win the SWAC East title.
The win sets up a rematch with Grambling in the SWAC Championship game. Grambling defeated Alcorn State 35-34 in October, the second consecutive year they've beaten Alcorn State.
Footman Lenorr rushed for 142 yards and a TD, Ragsdale Darry had 125 yards and a touchdown and Marquis Warford 118 yards and two touchdowns as Alabama A&M (2-7, 2-5 SWAC) struggled with the Alcorn State running game. The Alcorn State running game worked so well that they only completed two passes the entire game. Footman completed those two passes, one of them for another touchdown.
Defensively the Braves were just as dominant, with eight sacks and an interception. Darien Moody had eight tackles and three sacks for ASU.
Here are recaps of the rest of Saturday's HBCU football action:
Bethune-Cookman 35, Florida A&M 14 - Quentin Williams threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to lead Bethune-Cookman (9-2, 7-1 MEAC) to the win over Florida A&M (1-10, 1-7 MEAC). The win gives BCU a share of the MEAC title for the second consecutive year. Anthony Jordan rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown for the Wildcats and Jawill Davis caught six passes for 115 yards and a TD. FAMU was led by Devin Bowers who rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown.
Delaware State 32, Howard 21 - Dae-Hun Cheung's 64-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown run lifted Delaware State (1-10, 1-7 MEAC) to their only win of the season. The Hornets had been down 12 points midway in the third quarter before Kobie Lain's 32-yard TD toss to Aris Scott and Cheung's run gave them the come-from-behind win. Howard (1-10, 1-7 MEAC) was led by Ricquaz Brannon's 126 yards and a touchdown rushing.
Norfolk State 17, Morgan State 10 - Greg Hankerson's second touchdown of the day, a 57-yard run, gave Norfolk State (4-7, 4-4 MEAC) the win over Morgan State (4-6, 4-4 MEAC). Hankerson passed for 128 yards and a touchdown and ran for 88 yards and his late score. Morgan State was led by Moses Skillon who threw for 185 yards and a TD and rushed for 51 yards.
South Carolina State 52, Savannah State 29 - Adrian Kollock Jr. threw 188 yards and two touchdowns and Jalen Simmons ended his career with 77 yards and a TD rushing to lead South Carolina State (7-4, 6-2 MEAC) to the win. Savannah State (1-9, 1-7 MEAC) was led by Arshon Spaulding's 66 yards and one TD passing and 63 yards and a touchdown rushing. Leonardo Myers had 17 tackles for Savannah State.
Prairie View A&M 56, Jackson State 14 - Johnta Hebert rushed for 212 yards and three touchdowns, including a 76-yarder, to lead Prairie View (8-2, 8-1 SWAC) to the win. The Panthers rushed for 355 yards and six touchdowns. Raleigh Johnson had 13 tackles and Brandon Medina had 11 stops to lead PVAM defensively. Jackson State (3-7, 3-5 SWAC) was led by Jarin Morikawa's 151 yards and two TDs passing and Javancy Jones' 11 tackles and one sack.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 25, Mississippi Valley State 19 - Brian Handley's 8-yard TD run in overtime gave Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-9, 1-8 SWAC) their first FCS win of the season (their other win was over Division II Morehouse). Handley finished with 98 yards and a TD on the ground. Mississippi Valley State (1-10, 1-8 SWAC) tied the game late with a 38-yard interception return for a TD by Le'Trey Jones. Slade Jarman led MVSU with 182 yards and a TD passing and 52 yards rushing.
Alabama State 26, Miles 7 - A week after Division II Miles (7-5) won the SIAC championship, they fell to FCS Alabama State (6-5) in the Turkey Day Classic. Ellis Richardson rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown and replaced injured Daniel Duhart at quarterback, going 6-of-10 for 78 yards. Khalid Thomas added 78 yards and a touchdown on the ground for ASU.
Tennessee Tech 30, Tennessee State 24 - Ladari Vanlier rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns to lead Tennessee Tech (4-7, 3-5 OVC) to the win over Tennessee State (4-6, 1-6 OVC). Erick Evans led TSU with 111 yards and two touchdowns while O'Shay Ackerman-Carter threw for 221 yards threw for 221 yards and a TD.