Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bethune Cookman and Grambling Tangle in MEAC-SWAC Battle; Rundown of Today's HBCU Football Action


Forget about what happened last week for Grambling and Bethune Cookman. For all intents and purposes, their seasons begin here with this big SWAC-MEAC contest.

Both teams were easily defeated by FBS teams (Grambling was trounced by Cal 73-14 while Bethune-Cookman was no match for Miami (Fla) in their 45-0 loss) last week.  But this is different.

Grambling is coming off a season in which they came out of nowhere to be one of the bigger stories in HBCU football, narrowly missing a SWAC Championship game berth after a bitter loss to rival Southern.   This year, most of their important cogs on offense return in quarterback Jonathan Williams and his top three receivers in Chester Rogers, Chad Williams and Verlon Hunter.  Defense is a question as four of their five top tacklers have graduated from the program.

Head Coach Terry Sims takes over a Bethune-Cookman team that was 9-3 last year, but fell just short of the MEAC championship game and FCS playoffs after a late season loss to Virginia State. Quarterback Quentin Williams is back after throwing for more than 1400 yards and seven touchdowns along with rushing for nearly 300 yards and another four TDs.

But on defense, the Wildcats have some of the same questions as Grambling does as Bethune-Cookman lost their top seven tacklers.

Don't let that fool you, said Grambling head coach Broderick Fobbs.

"They're a really, really good program," Fobbs told The News Star. "They've been a great program for a number of years with a lot of quality football players.  Very, very strong in the skill department and also good in the trenches."

Kickoff is at 6 p.m. local time.

Here is today's HBCU football schedule:


Bacone at Texas Southern - Texas Southern will have a much easier time this week than they did in last week's lopsided loss to Prairie View A&M. Bacone, picked as the third best team in the NAIA's Central State's Football League, lost to Lamar 66-3 last week and to Texas Southern 63-0 last year.
Tennessee State vs. Jackson State (Southern Heritage Classic, Memphis, Tenn) - In this annual tilt between the rival Tigers, TSU needed three late TDs to win last week, but had a balanced offense throughout.  Jackson State was on the bad end of a 70-14 shellacking at Middle Tennessee State last week, but
Prairie View A&M at Texas State -
Alcorn State at Alabama State -


Johnson C. Smith at Kentucky State
Central State at Clark Atlanta
Concordia College-Selma at Stillman
Morehouse at Arkansas-Pine Bluff - First ever meeting between these two schools.  Morehouse, a Division II school, was led by Isaiah Hicks' 130 yards and three TDs in routing Edward Waters last week. UAPB only completed six passes and had less than 200 yards offense in losing 35-7 to a much stronger South Carolina State team.
Lane at Fort Valley State
Miles at West Georgia
Albany State at Tuskegee - It's an early season rematch of last year's SIAC championship game and a potential 2015 title game matchup as both teams are strong again this season. Tuksegee easily handled CAU last week while Albany State fell short of what would have been a huge win last week against Valdosta State.


North Carolina A&T at North Carolina
Richmond at Hampton
Howard at Boston College - Another FBS school looms for Howard, who was scoreless in a lopsided loss to Appalachian State.  Boston College, who defeated another FCS school, Maine, 24-3 last week, is looking for another tune-up win as they get ready for Florida State next week.
Florida A&M at Samford
Coastal Carolina at South Carolina State
North Carolina Central at Duke
Delaware State at Kent State
Old Dominion at Norfolk State
Morgan State at Illinois State


Virginia State at Tusculum
Livingstone at Virginia-Lynchburg
Lincoln (Pa) at N.C. Wesleyan
Bowie State at Brevard
Virginia Union at St. Augustine's
Elizabeth City State at Benedict
Chowan at Campbell
UNC Pembroke at Fayetteville State
Valdosta State vs. Winston Salem State (in Powder Springs, Ga) - If Winston Salem State expects to get back to their winning ways after losing to UNC-Pembroke last week, then they chose a difficult week to do so.  Valdosta State is one of the best Division II teams in the nation, but they barely knocked off Albany State last week.
Wingate at Shaw


Langston at Bethany
St. Francis at Lincoln (Mo.) -
Urbana (Oh.) at West Virginia State - WVSU's offense had a big day in their 59-34 win last week as freshman Tyrone Barber rushed for three touchdown runs. Urbana lost last week to Glenville State 49-0.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Southern Kicks Off SWAC Season At Mississippi Valley State Tonight


Now it gets real.

A week after getting trounced by opponents neither had much of a chance of defeating, Southern and Mississippi Valley State meet in Itta Bena, Miss., tonight at 7:30 p.m. (EST) to kick off their Southwestern Athletic Conference seasons.

A national ESPNU audience will watch as Southern, who fell 62-15 to Louisiana Tech last week, tries to follow up last season's SWAC Championship Game appearance with a 2015 title.

"I think our guys are ready to play football," head coach Dawson Odums told The Advocate.  "We didn't play very well [against Tech]. We've got an opportunity to put that behind us and taste victory and that's what it's all about."

The Jaguars return most of the parts of an offense that was one of the SWAC's top offenses. Quarterback Austin Howard, who had a big freshman season, returns as does five of his top six targets from last season.  Running back Lenard Tillery rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns.
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Defense was this team's achilles heel last year as the Jaguars ranked seventh in total defense in the SWAC last year.  But they return four of their five top tacklers from last year including linebacker Demetrius Carter and and defensive back Dionte McDuffy.

Mississippi Valley State was routed by New Mexico 66-0 in Week 1, but has been looking forward to trying to build after consecutive 2-9 seasons.

"I've seen the attitude I've been looking for," head coach Rick Comegy told The Clarion Ledger earlier this season.  They [the players} were all tied {to different coaches}.  I've tried to bring (my type) of guys in and see if that's going to change anything.  I've seen flashes."

But they are in rebuilding mode after losing star quarterback Patrick Ivy and receiver Julian Swafford to graduation.  Quantavius Peterson is taking over the quarterback spot after throwing for nearly 900 yards and six touchdowns.  Joshua Price and Keenan Daniels are his primary targets.

While the offense is looking to shore up, the MVSU defense will be working on trying to improve from their 2014 performance where they ranked near the bottom of the SWAC in most major defensive categories.

Last season's leading tackler, defensive back Le' Trey Jones, who had 11 tackles at New Mexico last week, leads the Delta Devils' defense which also includes lineman Khalil Young, who had four sacks last season, and linebacker LaDerius Hooker.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Xavier's Pace and August Named GCAC Runners of the Week


The top cross country runners in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference this week are both at Xavier University of Louisiana.

Brianna Pace was named the GCAC's Women's Runner of the Week after leading Xavier to a second place finish in Xavier's meet with Southern Mississippi.  Pace, a freshman, finished 11 out of 28 runners after finishing the 5,000 meters in 21:58.

Junior Christopher August was named GCAC Men's Runner of the Week after earning his second consecutive Top-10 finish as he finished seventh in the 5,000 meters with a time of 17:15.  It was August's eight career Top-10 finish.

Hicks and Washington Named SIAC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week


Isaiah Hicks' big day in Morehouse's rout of Edward Waters has led to the sophomore running back being named the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's Offensive Player of the Week for Week 1.

Hicks had 130 yards and three touchdowns rushing for the Maroon Tigers in their 51-7 win over EWC. Hicks averaged 10.8 yards a carry with his longest TD run being a 47-yarder.

The SIAC's Defensive Player of the Week, Albany State's star linebacker Tavarius Washington, started off the season with a big day of his own.  Washington, a senior, ten tackles, eight of them solo in their close loss to Valdosta State. He also had a sack and interception that set up an ASU touchdown.

Tuskegee senior running back Dennis Norfleet was named the SIAC Newcomer of the Week after a busy first day.  Norfleet rushed for 30 yards, caught a 46-yard pass and returned a kickoff 17 yards.

Kentucky State freshman Turner Warren was named Special Teams Player of the Week as the freshman kicker went 2-of-2 o PATs in KSU's 35-20 loss to Hampton.  Warren also had field goals of 30 and 33 yards.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Three Fourth Quarter TDs Lift TSU Over Alabama State; Randall Dixon's Four TD Tosses Leads Chowan To CIAA Win Over Fayetteville State; Full Rundown of the Weekend's HBCU Football Action

It was a night that Tennessee State was looking to start a season where they looked more like the team that dominated offenses and moved the ball on their way to the FCS playoffs two years ago versus the team that struggled to win five games last year.

It took the Big Blue Tigers three quarters to look like that team from two years ago.

The TSU defense forced three fourth quarter fumbles while the offense woke up for three touchdowns for a come-back 24-14 win over Alabama State in the John Merritt Classic in Nashville Sunday.

"This is a different team, and I liked what I saw from it tonight," said TSU Head Coach Rod Reed.  "We had some adversity early on, but we came in at halftime and made some adjustments.  We didnt panic as a staff, our players didnt panic.'

The Tigers looked anything but classic for three quarters while the Hornets looked solid.  Daniel Duhart threw an 82-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Davis and then added a one-yard TD run to give Alabama State a 14-3 halftime lead.

Chowan 41, Fayetteville State 31

On a day when most HBCU football teams served as dinner for the big boys of college football, Chowan and Fayetteville State started the season with a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association battle.

Randall Dixon's four touchdown passes gave Chowan all that they needed as the Hawks held on for a wild 41-31 win over host Fayetteville State Saturday.

Dixon's fourth touchdown of the day came midway through the fourth quarter, a his second of the day to Kaine Lombard to give Chowan a 41-17 lead.  Fayetteville State's 21-point fourth quarter made things interesting. Derek Bryant threw a touchdown pass and Andre Montgomery had two short TDs but the lead was too big for the Broncos.

Dixon finished 27-of-33 for 249 yards passing while Tyree Lee rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown for Chowan. Bryant led FSU with 361 yards passing and two touchdowns.  Both of those TD throws went to Tavon Gatlin who had 151 yards receiving.

Chowan (1-0) is back on the road next week when they visit Campbell while Fayetteville State (0-1) hosts UNC-Pembroke.



Livingstone 49, Benedict 6 - Drew Powell threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns and added 125 yards and a touchdown to lead Livingstone to a big win. Livingstone only gave up 49 yards rushing to Benedict.
Lincoln (Pa) 29, Cheyney 22 -
Bowie State 35, Merrimack 32 - Matthew Coggins threw for 313 yards and three TDs to lead Bowie State. Bowie's defense sacked Merrimack quarterbacks five times and picked off three passes, one returned 60 yards for a TD by Rahman Kamara.
California (Pa) 35, Virginia State 16 - California (Pa) quarterback James Harris had a big day, throwing for 387 yards and four touchdowns on only 12 completions.  His first three touchdowns went for 50, 97 and 87 yards.
Virginia Union 35, Brevard 21 - 21-fourth quarter points lifted Virginia Union for their come-from-behind victory.  Hakeem Holland rushed for 101 yards and the games final TD while Lamar Webster had three touchdown runs on the day.
Elizabeth City State 71, Virginia-Lynchburg 0 -
Wingate 14, Johnson C. Smith 0 - Wingate's ground game, which accounted for nearly 200 yards Saturday, controlled the game.  Wingate QB Kyle Johnson threw for 141 and a touchdown.


Miami (Fla) 45, Bethune Cookman 0 - Miami (Fla)'s defense shut down Bethune-Cookman, who only had 79 yards of offense.  The Hurricanes rushed for 195 yards and three TDs while Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya threw for two more.
North Carolina Central 72, St. Augustine's 0 - It took North Carolina Central less than five minutes to go up by two touchdowns - and that was without the offense doing anything.  The Eagles blocked a punt for a touchdown and returned a fumble early to go up 13-0 points. They cruised from there. Malcolm Bell threw a touchdown pass while backup Quinn Billerman completed eight of nine passes, three for touchdowns.
North Carolina A&T 61, Shaw 7 - Quarterback Lamar Raynard and running back Tarik Cohen combined for five touchdowns in the Aggies rout of Shaw. Cohen had 106 yards rushing and two touchdowns while Raynard finished with 188 yards and three touchdowns passing.  Shaw only had 81 yards of total offense.
South Florida 51, Florida A&M 3 - A balanced South Florida offense (281 yards, three touchdowns passing; 275 yards, four touchdowns rushing) overwhelmed FAMU.  Of FAMU's offensive output of 182 yards, only 12 came on ground.
Rutgers 63, Norfolk State 13 - The Spartans made it interesting early, just trailing 21-13 at halftime, but Rutgers completely shut down the Norfolk State running game and took control the rest of the way.  Norfolk State's Greg Hankerson threw for 199 yards and two TDs.  But NSU had -3 rushing yards.
Air Force 63, Morgan State 7 - Air Force's running game overwhelmed Morgan State as the Academy rushed for 394 yards and five touchdowns. MSU's Morgan Skillon threw for 142 yards and rushed for 35, including the Bears lone score.
Appalachian State 49, Howard 0 - Taylor Lamb threw for 226 yards and four touchdowns to lead Appy State to an easy win over Howard.  Howard gave up 663 yards of offense to Appalachian State but could only muster 172 yards themselves, only 36 of that on the ground.
Colorado State 65, Savannah State 13 - Nick Stephens threw all four of touchdowns in the first half and from an opening drive fumble CSU recovered for a TD, Savannah State was totally out-classed by a Colorado State offense that had 381 yards passing and 217 yards rushing.
Hampton 35, Kentucky State 20 - David Waterford threw for 355 yards and five touchdowns, three in the first half, to lead the Pirates to an easy win over Kentucky State.  Twarn Mixon was on the receiving end of seven of those passes for 136 yards and four touchdowns.


Morehouse 51, Edward Waters 7 - Isaiah Hicks rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns as Morehouse completely overwhelmed NAIA foe Edward Waters.  Monquavious Johnson threw for 94 yards and a touchdown, a 50-yarder to Don Cox.  Three of Morehouse's first touchdowns of the game came from a defense that limited EWC to 151 yards of offense.
Alderson-Broaddus 22, Central State 14 - Wilson Vaughn threw for 253 yards and a touchdowns to lead Alderson-Broaddus to the win.  Brandon Jones added 125 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Central State's two touchdowns came on defense - a 74 yard Christian Wilson fumble recovery for a TD and a 75-yard Clim Robbins interception returned for a touchdown.
North Alabama 34, Miles 17 - Lamon Thompson rushed for 173 yards and two touchdowns to lead North Alabama to the win.  David Whipple rushed for two touchdowns for Miles.
Valdosta State 21, Albany State 13 - A late two touchdown lead was too much for Albany State to overcome. Valdosta State rushed for two early touchdowns and threw for one. ASU's Caleb Edmonds three for touchdown while Jarvis Small rushed for another in the fourth quarter.
Tuskegee 26, Clark Atlanta 0 - Kevin Lacy rushed for a touchdown and threw for another as Tuskegee easily defeated the Panthers.  Osband Thompson had nine tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery for Tuskegee.
Lane 17, Concordia (Ala) 14 - Marcus Reynolds' 6-yard TD run capped a 10-point 3rd quarter that lifted Lane to the win.  Terrance Ayers threw for 85 yards and a touchdown for the Dragons.
West Alabama 52, Stillman 9 - Stillman led for seven minutes - but after that it was all West Alabama. Trent Thompson threw for 234 yards and two touchdowns for West Alabama while Rashard Lee added two TDs.


Lincoln (Mo) 35, Langston 32 -
Mississippi College 61, Texas College 6 -