HBCU Football News
HBCU Football Season Wrap Up
Written by Roscoe Nance, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com Sunday, 06 January 2013 20:29
The 2012 season wasn’t kind to the black college football old guard. Most of the names that we have grown accustomed to seeing atop the conference standings and national rankings were conspicuous by their absence at the end of the season.
Traditional powers Grambling State, Florida A&M , South Carolina State and Albany State were put on guard – and likely caught off guard – by the continued emergence of a number of up-and-coming programs with relatively new coaches heading them.
“Change is afoot,’’ says Lut Williams, publisher of Black College Sports Page. “There is a new transfusion of new blood, new coaches, new energy. It’s has been a quick change kind of thing.’’
Winston-Salem State led the way, winning its second consecutive Black College National Championship under third-year coach Connell Maynor. The 14-1 Rams became just the second HBCU to play in the NCAA Division II Championship Game – they lost to Valdosta 35-7 – after posting their second straight unbeaten regular season en route to their second CIAA championship in a row.
Miles, with second-year coach Reginald Ruffin at the helm, is another of the new kids on the block. The Golden Bears failed to repeat as SIAC champions after winning the conference crown for the first time in school history in 2011. But they still made history by reaching the Division II playoffs for the first time.
Nowhere did the winds of change howl louder than they did in the MEAC. Brian Jenkins coached Bethune-Cookman to the second conference championship of his three-year tenure – they shared the 2010 title with South Carolina State and Florida A&M. Each of the coaches of the next four teams in the conference standings was in his second season, Gary Harrell of second-place Howard and Rod Broadway at North Carolina A&T, Kermit Blount at Delaware State and Henry Frazier III of North Carolina Central, who tied for third place.
South Carolina State, which won or shared three conference championships between 2008-10; Florida A&M, which won six conference titles between 1995-2010, Hampton, a five-time champion from 1997-2006, and defending champion and preseason favorite Norfolk State were at the opposite end of the MEAC spectrum. They were a combined 13-19 in the conference and finished fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, in the conference. None had a winning record in MEAC play.
“The mighty have fallen,’’ Williams says.
No HBCU has been mightier than Grambling State, historically has been the yardstick by which black college football programs are measured, and no one had a greater fall than the G-Men. Grambling, the preseason favorite to win its 23rd conference crown, was winless in the SWAC for the first time in school history and 1-10 overall with its only victory coming against Concordia.
“It’s baffling how Grambling and Norfolk State could fall as precipitously as they did,’’ Williams says.
Grambling’s fall from grace in the SWAC coincided with something of a resurgence of three of the conference’s more downtrodden programs, Alcorn State, Mississippi Valley State and Southern.
Jay Hobson, the first white head football coach in SWAC history, coached Alcorn to respectable 4-5 conference record and a 4-7 overall finish. The Braves opened the season with a bang when they beat Grambling 22-21 in the Port City Classic in Shreveport, La.
Third-year Mississippi Valley coach Karl Morgan guided the Delta Devils to a 5-6 overall record and a 5-4 conference mark. It was their best showing since 2006 when the Delta Devils were 6-5 under Willie Totten and 5-4 in the conference. Along the way they defeated Grambling for the first time in 16 years.
Southern was 4-7 for the second consecutive season, but the Jaguars’ record is deceiving. They defeated their three biggest rivals – Jackson State, Florida A&M and Grambling. Had it not been for a botched extra point attempts in back-to-back one-point losses to Alabama A&M and Alabama State, the Jaguars could well have had their first winning season since 2009.
As it were, their record was good enough for Dawson Odums to have the interim tag removed from his coaching title last week. Odums led Southern to a 4-5 record after he replaced Stump Mitchell after the Jaguars began the season 0-2. Odums is just the second coach in school history to defeat Jackson State, Florida A&M and Grambling in their first season, joining Pete Richardson.
Mitchell was the first coaching casualty of the 2012 season, but not the last. When the year ended, Daryl McNeill at Clark Atlanta, Kenny Phillips at Fayetteville State, Elvin James at Livingstone, Andrew Faison at Virginia State and Earl Monroe at West Virginia State were either fired or reassigned.
In a surprise move, Florida A&M’s Joe Taylor, winningest active black college coach, resigned with two games remaining in the season. Taylor finished his 30-year career with a 233-96-4 record, which places him in the top five among NCAA Division I FCS coaches, and a .709 career winning percentage. He is tied for third on the black college career victory list with former Southern coach Arnett W. “Ace’’ Mumford, trailing only “Big John’’ Merritt, who won 235 games at Jackson State and Tennessee State, and the legendary Eddie Robinson who 408 games at Grambling. Taylor has been promoting the book titled The Making Of A Champion: The Inconvenience Of Winning that he wrote and says he is done with coaching even though a number of schools have contacted him.
Former Florida A&M All-American linebacker Earl Holmes, the Rattlers’ defensive coordinator, replaced Taylor on an interim basis.
The season didn’t hold true to form in terms of preseason predictions. Winston-Salem of the CIAA was the only favorite to win its conference championship. The Rams were also the only repeat conference champion from 2011. Arkansas-Pine Bluff won its first SWAC championship in 46 years. Perennial SIAC champ Tuskegee captured its 26th conference crown and laid unofficial claim to the Comeback Team of the Year. The Golden Tigers were 10-2 after posting a 4-6 mark a year ago. Their only regular season loss was a 7-6 defeat at the hands of Alabama A&M in their season-opener. Their other loss was to Elizabeth City State in the Pioneer Bowl. Bethune-Cookman won the MEAC championship with a perfect 8-0 conference record and a 9-3 overall mark.
Alabama A&M had the most puzzling season among HBCUs. The Bulldogs started the season 6-0 but ended the year by losing four of their last five games. Only their arch-rival Alabama State ended the year on a more disappointing note. The Hornets were the preseason favorites to win the SWAC East Division. Not only did they fail to win their division, they lost to Tuskegee in the Turkey Day Classic, which was the inaugural game played in their new $62 million, 26,000-seat stadium.
The 2012 season also featured a number of outstanding individual performers, including by newcomers on the HBCU scene who transferred down a lever from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). These included:
- Tuskegee running back Derrick Washington, who led all black college ball carriers with 1,679 yards and 14 touchdowns after transferring from the University of Missouri. Washington was No. 4 in total rushing yards for NCAA Division II.
- Alabama State running back Isaiah Crowell, who was third in the SWAC with 842 rushing yards and scored 15 touchdowns after transferring from the University of Georgia.
- Jackson State quarterback Clayton Moore, who transferred from Akron and led the Tigers to the SWAC East Division championship. Moore, who became the starter in Jackson State’s third game, passed for 1,705 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Other top individual performers included:
- Winston-Salem State quarterback Kameron Smith, who passed for 3,312 yards and 43 touchdowns while leading the Rams to their second consecutive unbeaten season and berth in the Division II championship game.
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff defensive end Brandon Thurmond, who led the FCS with 17.5 quarterback sacks.
- Jackson State wide receiver Rico Richardson, who led all black college pass catchers with 1,158 yards and a 19.3 yards a catch average.
- Tennessee State defensive back Steven Godbolt, who led the FCS with six pass interceptions.
- Winston-Salem receiver Juahann Butler and Jameze Butler, who both surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for pass receptions. Butler caught 62 passes for 1,236 yards and 12 touchdowns, and Massey caught 60 for 1,220 and 15 touchdowns.
HBCU Football Wrap-Up-Week 15
Written by Roscoe Nance, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com Sunday, 09 December 2012 20:28
The University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff won its first SWAC football championship in more than 40 years in record fashion Saturday in Birmingham, Ala.
The Golden Lions, who trailed Jackson State the entire game, fought from behind, tied the scored with a record-setting 95-yard touchdown pass and then beat the Tigers 24-21 to win the first overtime contest in the 13-year history of the SWAC Championship Game. The victory gave the Golden Lions (10-2) the first 10-win season in school history.
“What game,’’ said UAPB coach Monte Coleman, who won three Super Bowl championships during his 16-year NFL career as a linebacker for the Washington Redskins. “A lot of records were set today. It was a lot of history made. It’s been a great day. UAPB is definitely on the map. When I was playing with the Washington Redskins I was a lot younger. I’m 55 years old now. This is sweet, real sweet. You can’t beat being in the Super Bowl, being winners or losers. But to be able to coach a team like I have right now, I don’t have the words to express the how grateful I am. This definitely ranks among the top sporting event I have been in.’’
It is the second SWAC title for UAPB, which originally joined conference in 1936 before leaving in 1970 and returning 1997. The Golden Lions’ other championship came in 1966 when they shared the title with Grambling, Southern and Texas Southern.
The Golden Lion, champions of the SWAC West and 34-24 winners against Jackson in their Oct. 1 regular season contest, seemed headed for defeat late in the fourth quarter. They trailed 21-14 when they got the ball at their four-yard line with 2:38 left in the game. On second-and-and nine, quarterback Ben Anderson, the game’s Offensive MVP after throwing for 225 yards and a touchdown running for a score, spotted freshman wide receiver Willie Young running free in the Jackson State secondary on a post pattern and unleashed a bomb in his direction.
The ball appeared to be overthrown, but Young – the fastest of the Golden Lions who, according to Coleman runs as fast as he has to – found another gear and hauled it in at his 45-yard line. He then outran Jackson State cornerback Mike Hill to the end zone to tie the score.
“I felt going into the fourth quarter we were going to win the game,’’ Jackson State coach Rick Comegy said. “Lo and behold, he throws what I consider a Hail Mary bomb. The kid tracked that baby down. It was on then.’’
Jackson State go the ball first in overtime but failed to move the ball and ended up attempting 43-yard field goal on fourth-and-11 that was blocked.
UAPB took over needing a field goal to secure the victory, and Coleman put the ball in hands of running back Justin Billings, UAPB’s leading rusher. Billings responded by ripping off a 20-yard run around left end to the five before stepping out of bounds while tip-toe down the sideline. He capped the run by lunging into the end zone and knocking over the pylon for an apparent touchdown. The Golden Lions spilled on to field to celebrate, thinking they had won the game, and were assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that would have moved the ball back to the 20.
However, after SWAC Supervisor of Officials Harold Mitchell interceded and the penalty was waved off. Two plays later, Tyler Strickland booted the winning field goal from 43 yards out.
“We beat a great football team in Jackson State,’’ Coleman said. “I really can’t say too much about the pressure that they put on us. But sometimes when you’re dealing with destiny, you can’t change it. When God’s favor is on you, it’s on you, and his favor has been with this football team the last two years for sure and for a lot of years.’’
The championship for the Golden Lions is the crowning achievement for a program t that 20 years ago staged a flag football game as the centerpiece of the school’s Homecoming celebration because the football team had been hit with the death penalty for rules violations and forced to shutdown. UAPB – found guilty of 41 violations by the NAIA during Archie “Gunslinger’’ Cooley’s tenure – and SMU are the only schools that have served the death penalty. SMU has yet to fully recover.
“I wasn’t in Pine Bluff during that era, so I can’t speak real specifically to it,’’
Coleman said. “But just watching the program grow from playing flag football to the SWAC championship, it’s kind of an obvious escalation from where we were to where we are now. ‘’
Jackson State dominated the team’s regular season contest statistically despite losing, and the Tigers seemed intent on a repeat performance in the rematch. They led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, after scoring touchdowns on back-to-back possessions following a three-and-out the first time they had the ball.
The Tigers first touchdown came on a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Clayton Moore to wide receive Rico Richardson, the 2012 SWAC Offensive Player of the Year.
Cornerback Qua Cox got the ball back for the Tigers on an interception, and it took them eight plays to drive 79 yards for a score. Running back Rakeem Sims reeled off the final 37 yards of the drive for a touchdown that gave Jackson State a 14-0 lead, and looked as though a rout was in the making.
UAPB’s offense got untracked on its next possession, and the Golden Lions got back into the game when Anderson scored on an eight-yard run on the first play of the second quarter.
Jackson State continued to chew up UAPB’s defense with its running game as the second quarter progressed. The Tigers put together a time consuming 64-yard, 16-play drive, taking 6:44 off the clock in the process and built their lead back to 14 points, 21-7, with 2:22 remaining in the half. The drive ended with Moore scoring on a one-yard run. Only 17 yards in the drive came through the air. UAPB, one of the most penalized teams in the SWAC, helped to keep Jackson State’s offense on the field with a roughing the kicker penalty kicker on a fourth-and-18 punt. Moore scored.
UAPB’s offense continued to go nowhere as the Golden Lions went three-and-out and gave the ball back to Jackson State near midfield at 1:06 before the half. The Tigers, intent on running the Golden Lions back to Arkansas and putting the game out of reach by the half, drove smartly to the UAPB 29 as Moore, playing with an injured throwing shoulder that he hurt two weeks early, completed three consecutive passes.
However, when Moore dropped back to pass for the fourth straight time, linebacker Xavier Lofton hit him from the blind side just before his arm went forward, and he ball popped free. Linebacker Bill Oliver, the game’s Defensive MVP, scooped it up and ran 73 yards for a touchdown.
The SWAC uses instant replay for its championship game to review calls on the field even though its not used during the regular season. A booth review upheld the call, and UAPB had new life, trailing 21-14 at the half.
“We couldn’t run away from them,’’ said Jackson State’s Comegy. “We hoped to run away from them early. We had that opportunity but it just didn’t happen. It was their day.’’
Neither team scored in the third quarter, setting the stage for the dramatic finish.
“We bent but we never broke,’’ Coleman said. “Did they scare us? Absolutely But don’t count us out.’’
NCAA Division II Playoffs
Winston-Salem State 41, West Texas A&M 18: The Rams steamrolled their way into the Division II Championship Game for the first time with an overpowering performance on both sides of the ball in a home victory.
Winston-Salem (14-0), ranked No. 2 in the nation, is just the second HBCU to play for the Division II crown. Central State lost to North Dakota State in the 1983 title game. The Rams will play Valdosta State, the 2004 and 2007 National Champion, for the crown Saturday in Florence, Ala.
Winston-Salem moved the ball at will against West Texas A&M, which allowed opponents 20.7 points. They gained 511 yards total offense, including 262 rushing. Running back Maurice Lewis led the ground attack 118 yards, and he scored touchdowns on runs of nine and 11 yards. Little-used backup running back Bryce Sherman added 73 yards, and he also scored a touchdown.
Quarterback Kameron Smith, making starting for the first time since injuring his right shoulder in the CIAA Championship Game a month ago passed for 232 yard and two touchdowns. He also scored a touchdown on a 23-yard run. Sixteenth-ranked.
West Texas (12-3) entered the contest brimming with confidence having won three straight playoff games on the road and boasting an offense that averaged 40.1 points a game and hadn’t scored fewer than 24 against any of its previous 14 opponents. Winston-Salem held the Buffaloes in check by stymieing their big-play players, running back Khiry Robinson and quarterback Dustin Vaughn. Robinson entered the game with 1,481 rushing yards. He ran for 137 yards and scored on a 13-yard run, but most of his damage was done after the game had been decided. Vaughn had thrown for 4,543 yards before facing the Rams’ defense, which harassed the entire game and held to just 169 yards through the air, about half of his per game average. Vaughn also threw two interceptions.
“The guys were ready to play,” Winston-Salem coach Connell Maynor said.
HBCU Football Wrap-Up-Week 14
Written by Roscoe Nance, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com Sunday, 02 December 2012 20:14
Unbeaten Winston-Salem State, the No. 1 seed in its region, is in the Division II playoff semifinals for the second consecutive year thanks to a dramatic goal line stand in the final minute Saturday that preserved a 21-17 home victory against Indiana University (Pa.).
The Rams (13-0), champions of the CIAA, will host West Texas A&M Saturday with the winner advancing to the Division II Championship Game Dec. 15 in Florence, Ala., where it will play the winner of the Valdosta State-Minnesota State-Mankato State semifinal contest.
“It’s gratifying to be back in the semifinals,’’ Winston-Salem coach Connell Maynor said. “We had high expectations all season getting back (to the semifinals) and getting revenge. It shows how hard the guys worked. It’s hard to go undefeated and make it back to the semifinal. It’s hard just getting back to the playoffs. We don’t take it for granted.’’
Winston-Salem lost to Wayne State 21-14 in the 2011 semifinals. The Rams are the only team among last season’s final four to make the playoffs this year.
Winston-Salem took the lead with 3:51 when quarterback Kameron Smith connected with Ricky Rozier on a one-yard touchdown pass. Smith, who suffered a shoulder injury in the first half of the CIAA Championship Game three weeks and hadn’t played since, replaced Anthony Carrothers when the Rams got the ball after the Crimson Hawks went ahead for the first time in the game, 17-14.
“Anthony kept grabbing his shoulder and he played good for the first three quarters,” Maynor said, explaining his decision to change quarterbacks. “I just felt like I needed to go with Smith. I felt like the team needed a boost and we were down, and I knew if I put Smith back in it would get the crowd back in the game. It picked everybody up and that was the shot in the arm I was looking for.”
Smith’s heroics set the stage for a valiant comeback effort by IUP. Quarterback Mike Box completed four consecutive passes for 73 yards, giving the Crimson Hawks (12-2) first-and-goal at the 10-yard line with less than a minute remaining in the game. On fourth-and-goal from the five, Box looked for Tyler Dummermuth in the end zone. However, defensive end Casey Davenport, who put heavy pressure on Box, hit the quarterback’s arm just as he released the ball, and the pass fell harmlessly to the ground short of its mark.
“The defense bent but it didn’t break,’’ Maynor said. “I’ve been saying all year the defense is underrated. But you know how the media and fans are. They want to talk to the people who score the touchdowns.’
The game featured an intriguing matchup between the Crimson Hawks’ defense, ranked No. 1 in Division II while allowing 257.8 yards a game, and Winston-Salem’s high-powered offense, which averages 472.1 yards a game and is No. 17 in the nation. The Crimson Hawks held the Rams in check relatively well, limiting them to 29 yards on the ground and 338 total yards; 165 of Winston-Salem’s total yards came on three plays – 62 on a screen pass to Jameze Massey that setup a one-yard touchdown run by Rozier, 48 on a pass from starting quarterback Anthony Carrothers to Jahuann Butler and 45 on a Hail Mary touchdown pass from Carrothers to Kenny Patterson that gave the Rams a 14-7 halftime lead.
Carrothers, who transferred from Grambling State two years ago, threw for 279 yards while completing 10 of 25 attempts.
Winston-Salem’s defensive unit, not as heralded as the Rams’ offense, more than held its own. In addition to the goal line stand that won the game, the Rams forced three turnovers and sacked he quarterback twice.
“It just shows that our guys depend on each other, they had a little adversity but there’s nothing you have to choke over so they just kept fighting,” Maynor said. “I don’t think one of our guys ever believed we were going to lose this football game.”
Elizabeth City State 28, Tuskegee 13: The Vikings continued the CIAA’s recent dominance of its Pioneer Bowl matchup against the SIAC with a stunning victory at A.J. McClung Stadium in Columbus, Ga. The loss for the Golden Tigers ended their 10-game winning streak, which started after a 7-6 loss to Alabama A&M Labor Day weekend. It was the third consecutive win for the CIAA in the only NCAA-sanctioned bowl game involving two HBCUs. The SIAC leads the series 9-5. Tuskegee was making an unprecedented 10th Pioneer Bowl appearance. The Golden Tigers are 7-3 in the Pioneer Bowl, including a 21-6 victory against Elizabeth City in Pioneer Bowl XI. Pioneer Bowl XIV was highlighted by the duel between two of the top running backs in black college football, Tuskegee All-American Derrick Washington, who entered the game ranked No. 8 in Division II with 1,494 rushing yards, and Daronte McNeill, who had 1,108 yards for Elizabeth City. Washington, a transfer from the University of Missouri and a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, which goes to the top player in Division II, gained 185 yards on 20 carries; McNeill finished with 148 yards on 19 carries, and he scored a pair of touchdowns. Each player was named his team’s MVP for the game. The Vikings (8-4), runners-up in the CIAA to unbeaten Winston-Salem State – a No.1 seed in the Division II playoffs – subdued the SIAC champion Golden Tigers (10-2) with an opportunistic brand of football. The Golden Tigers, who were making an unprecedented 10th appearance, amassed 514 yards total offense. But they were guilty of five turnovers, two of which Elizabeth City converted into 14 points. Tuskegee went ahead 6-0 in the second quarter when backup quarterback Rashard Burkette scored on a 19-yard run. The Golden Tigers maintained their lead until Elizabeth City quarterback Tyrell Hougton and wide out Antonio Huff hooked up on a nine-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter. Tuskegee was poised to regain the lead as the fourth quarter started. On the first play of the period, Washington set sail for what appeared to be a 63-yard touchdown run. However, as he neared the goal line, he slowed up, and Vikings cornerback Josh Brooks stripped the ball. The ball rolled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback. Elizabeth City got the ball at its 20-yard line and drove 80 yards for a touchdown for a 14-6 lead. McNeill scored on a 44-yard run on the Vikings’ next possession for a 21-6 Elizabeth City lead with 4:38 remaining the game. Tuskegee countered with a six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Nared to Marquel Gardner and trailed 21-13 with 2:48 left. The Golden Tigers got the ball back at their 37 with 2:01 showing on the clock. They drove to Elizabeth City’s 22 yard in seven play, and then disaster struck. Brooks stepped in front of Nared pass and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown that sealed the victory for the Vikings.
HBCU Football Wrap-Up-Week 12
Written by Roscoe Nance, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com Sunday, 18 November 2012 19:56
Jackson State, playing on arch-rival Alcorn State’s home field for the first time in 20 years, punched its ticket for a return trip to the SWAC Championship Game with a 37-11 victory Saturday that gave the Tigers the East Division title.
The Tigers (7-4, 7-2 SWAC) will play West Division champion Arkansas-Pine Bluff for the SWAC crown at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., Dec. 8. It will be the Tigers’ fourth appearance in the title game, their first since 2008. They won the SWAC championship game in 2007.
“It’s great,” said Jackson State coach Rick Comegy, whose team was picked to finish second behind Alabama State in the conference’s preseason poll of coaches and media. “It’s really gratifying. I couldn’t tell you how happy I am.”
Jackson State and Alabama State finished tied for the top spot in the East with 7-2 conference records, but the Tigers held the tie-breaker by virtue of their 35-21 victory against the Hornets last month.
Jackson State and Alcorn had played at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium, Jackson State’s home field with the schools alternating as the home team, the previous 18 years in what was billed as the Capital City Classic. Alcorn decided to return the game to Casem-Spinks Stadium, its on campus stadium this year and call it the Soul Bowl, upsetting Jacksonians who take exception to having to drive 90 minutes “to the country’’ for a game.
The trip didn’t faze the team, however. The Tigers, who have won 13 of the last 18 games in the series and the last three in a row, used a pulverizing running game to put away the Braves (4-7, 4-5 SWAC). They chewed up Alcorn’s defense for 243 yards on the ground, led by Rakeem Sims with 152 on 26 carries. Tommy Gooden added 64 on just eight carries. Gooden scored a pair of touchdowns and Sims scored once.
The standing room only crowd of more than 30,000 fans – mostly Alcorn supporters – sensed and upset as the third quarter began. Jackson State was clinging to a 6-3 lead thanks to quarterback Clayton Moore’s 37-yard touchdown pass to Rico Richardson in the first quarter.
But things began to unravel for the Braves on their first possession of the second half. They went three-and-out and were forced to punt from their eight-yard line. Linebacker Ryan Griffin blocked Marcquiso Jean’s punt and Richardson fell on the ball in the end zone. The touchdown started a barrage of 21 unanswered points in a six-minute span for Jackson State that doomed Alcorn to defeat.
Alcorn went three-and-out again on its next possession. Coach Jay Hopson switched punters, but the results weren’t much better. Tollette George got off a 16-yard kick that was downed at Alcorn’s 30. From there it took the Tigers four plays and one minute, 44 seconds to score on Gooden’s 11-yard touchdown run for a 20-3 lead.
Alcorn’s run of bad luck continued when the Braves got the ball back. Terrance Lewis fumbled the ball at the Braves’ 41 after a one-yard gain and linebacker Cameron Loeffler recovered for Jackson State. Gooden scored again four minute later, this time on a 28-yard run, and Jackson State took an insurmountable 27-3 lead.
“It was just a big six-minute swing that kind of crushed us.” Hopson said.
Ryan Deising kicked a 41-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to increase Jackson State’s lead to 30-3. Alcorn scored its only touchdown with 3:52 left when quarterback John Gibbs connected with Tavoris Doss on a 33-yard scoring strike.
Sims ended the scoring with a 46-yard touchdown run for Jackson State with 2:48 remaining.
Bethune-Cookman 21, Florida A&M 16: The MEAC champions, tuning up for the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs, extended a pair of winning streaks with their victory in the Florida Classic in Orlando. The Wildcats (9-2, 8-0 MEAC) ended the regular season with a seven-game winning streak and have won 13 consecutive conference games dating to last season. They will host Big South Conference champion Coastal Carolina (7-4) in a first-round playoff game Saturday. Quarterback Quentin Williams threw for 120 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 86 more to lead the Wildcats, who needed key defensive stop. Florida A&M (4-7, 4-4 MEAC) got the ball for the last time near midfield with 3:49 left in the game. The Rattlers moved to Bethune-Cookman’s 38 and appeared to be poised to take the lead. However, Jarkevis Fields dropped running back Eddie Rocker for a seven-yard loss on first down. On second down, defensive tackle Harold Love sacked Rattlers quarterback Damien Fleming, who fumbled the ball at the Wildcats’ 45, and defensive end Tevin Toney recovered for the Wildcats. The referee initially ruled that Fleming was down. The call was reversed after a booth review (the MEAC allows for reviews in games that are televised) and Bethune-Cookman got the ball and ran out the clock. Florida A&M led in the early going, 3-0 in the first quarter on Chase Varnadore’s 20-yard field goal, and 10-7 at the half after James Owens scored on a 41-yard run. The Wildcats’ touchdown came on a one-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Eddie Poole. Owens’ score ended the Wildcats’ steak of seven consecutive quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown. They were shutout in the second quarter, ending a streak of having scored in 25 consecutive quarters. Bethune-Cookman surged ahead with a pair of quick second-half touchdowns. Isiadore Jackson scored on a 34-yard run with 3:13 left in the third quarter for a 14-10 Bethune-Cookman lead. On the Wildcats’ next possession, Andronicus Lovette scored on a one-yard run to extend the lead to 21-10. Florida A&M climbed back into the game one Fleming’s 37-yard touchdown pass to Dewayne Harvey with 8:04 remaining the game, and the Rattlers trailed 21-16 after the extra point kick was blocked.
Tennessee Martin 35, Tennessee State 26: A furious fourth-quarter rally on the road came up short for the Tigers and cost them a possible FCS playoff berth. Tennessee State (8-3, 4-3 OVC), No. 25 in The Sports Network Top 23 entering the game, trailed 28-6 at the start of the fourth quarter. The Tigers scored on their first three possessions of the period and were a two-point conversion away from tying the game at 28-all. Quarterback Michael German completed 28 of 44 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns, all career highs, for the Tigers. German’s touchdown pass to tight end A.C. Leonard got Tennessee State within two points of the lead, 28-26 with two minutes remaining, but he was sacked when he dropped back to pass on a two-point conversion attempt. Tennessee Martin (8-3, 6-2 OVC) recovered the onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. On fourth-and-two from Tennessee State’s 33, the Skyhawks gambled big and won when quarterback Derek Carr connected with Quentin Sims for a touchdown with a little more than a minute remaining in the game.
Division II Playoff Results
West Alabama 41, Miles 7
Lenior Rhyne 21, Fort Valley State 6
Hampton 27, Morgan State 17
Howard 41, Delaware State 34
North Carolina A&T 22, North Carolina Central 16, OT
South Carolina State 27, Savannah State 13
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 42, Prairie View A&M 41
Auburn 51, Alabama A&M 7
Mississippi Valley State 34, Texas Southern 3
Edward Waters 24, Virginia University of Lynchburg 21
Kentucky State 17, Central State 6
HBCU Football Wrap
Written by Roscoe Nance, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com Sunday, 11 November 2012 21:25
The rematch between Tuskegee and Fort Valley State in Atlanta Saturday night was no match when the teams met in the SIAC Championship Game at Lakewood Stadium.
Tuskegee, playing at home, routed the Wildcats 49-18 in a regular season contest, and the Golden Tigers did it to them again – this time 55-24 – for their 26th conference title. It is their eighth championship since 2000 – the first since 2009 – and comes after they were 4-6 a year ago.
“It’s great to win it,’’ Tuskegee Coach Willie Slater said. “When I reflect on last year, all those games we lost, we had a chance to win. We just couldn’t finish. We went into the winter program on that. They got better.’’
Despite the loss Fort Valley (8-3) earned a berth in the Division II playoffs as the No.6 seed in Super Region 2. The Wildcats will play Lenoir Rhyne, the No. 3 seed, Saturday.
Tuskegee (9-1), No. 16, is not eligible for the playoffs because of plays Alabama State in the Turkey Day Classic on Thanksgiving in the Golden Tigers’ regular season finale. The Golden Tigers will end their season with an appearance in the Pioneer Bowl December 1 against a representative of the CIAA.
The conference championship is the fifth in seven seasons at Tuskegee for Slater.
“This is the first one that we had to play for,’’ he said, pointing out that this is only the second year that the SIAC has played a championship game. “We won the others because we had a better record. Even though we had a better record (7-0 in the SIAC), we still had to play for it. I think it is more special (than the other championships).’’
The Golden Tigers, who have a nine-game winning streak since losing to Alabama A&M 7-6, used the same formula – turnovers and big plays – in their second victory they employed the first time around.
They scored touchdowns on a 75-yard run and a 74-yard pass in the championship game and had interception returns of 78 and 50 yards for scores among the four turnovers that they forced.
The Golden Tigers came up with five turnovers and produced five plays that cover 40 yards or more in their regular season win against Fort Valley.
“They did a study on it,’’ Slater said. “The team with the most big plays and the least turnovers wins 100 % of the time.’’
Derrick Washington, the running back who transferred to Tuskegee from the University of Missouri, was the Golden Tigers’ big-play man. Washington rushed for 224 yards on 16 carries. He also caught two passes for 107 yards. His 75-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter that put Tuskegee ahead 34-15 ad broke the game open. He later scored on a 74-yard pass reception.
“Derrick Washington is the best one I’ve ever coached,’’ Slater said. “He kind blew it open for us.’’
Cornerbacks Adam Lucas and William Buford returned interceptions 78 and 49, respectively, for touchdowns.
The biggest play of the game occurred arguably on the opening play. For Valley quarterback Antonio Henton launched a deep pass over the middle that was overthrown. Safety Jamar Hornsby delivered a bone-jarring hit on the intended receiver, setting the tone for the Golden Tigers on defense for the rest of the contest.
Hornsby, who also returned an interception 55 yards to set up a touchdown, said that Fort Valley had connected on the same play on the opening play of their previous game and he suspected would come back to it.
“I was glad to see him hit him,’’ Slater said. “I was worried about how physical we would be coming off a tough game like we had the week before.’’
The Golden Tigers were coming off a 27-14 road victory in a showdown for the West title with defending conference champion Miles, which will play West Alabama in the Division II playoffs.
Fort Valley earned a spot in the championship game by defeating Albany State to win the East Division title in the final game of the regular season. The loss to Tuskegee was a disappointing end to what was a turnaround season for the Wildcats, who were 2-8 in 2011.They opened the season with a victory over Delta State, which was ranked No. 14 in Division II at the time, and ended it by winning their final five regular season games following their regular season loss to Tuskegee.
Winston-Salem State 34, Elizabeth City State 19: The undefeated Rams won their second straight CIAA championship with a come-from-behind victory in the conference title game in Durham, N.C. Winston-Salem (11-0), ranked No. 2 in Division II, won despite playing the second half without quarterback Kameron Smith, 2012 CIAA Offensive Player of the Year who left the game with a shoulder injury. Winston-Salem earned a first round bye in the Division II playoffs as the No. 1 seed in Super Region 1. The Rams will play the winner of Saturday’s Shippensburg vs. Bloomsburg game Nov. 24. The Vikings (7-4) took an early 9-0 lead, but Anthony Carrothers, who started for Grambling State two years ago before transferring to Winston-Salem, came of the bench in the second half with Elizabeth City leading 19-14 and rallied the Rams to victory. Carrothers completed seven of 11 passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns. The Rams’ defense held Vikings running back Daronte McNeill, the leading rusher in the CIAA with 1,197 yards, to just 52 yards on 20 carries. Maurice Lewis rushed for 123 yards for Winston-Salem.
Bethune-Cookman 49, Savannah State 7: The Wildcats clinched their second MEAC title in three seasons and a berth in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs with a road victory. Quarterback Quentin Williams led the Wildcats (8-2, 7-0) 113 rushing yards and a career-high 103 yards passing and two touchdowns. Savannah State (1-9, 0-7) is the only MEAC team without a conference victory.
Jackson State 35, Alabama A&M 21: The Tigers inched closer to the SWAC East Division title with a home victory. Jackson State (6-4, 6-2 SWAC) will clinch their fifth trip to the conference championship game since its inception 13 years ago with a victory against arch-rival Alcorn State next Saturday. Quarterback Clayton Moore threw for 233 yards, and he had a 67-yard touchdown pass to Rico Richardson, who passed the 1,000-yard reception mark for the season. Rakeem Sims added 125 yards and two touchdowns on the ground for the Tigers. Alabama A&M(7-3, 6-3 SWAC) lost for the third time in its last four games after starting the season 6-0 and dropped out of contention for the East title.
Alabama State 31, Southern 30: The Hornets squeaked out a road victory in their final conference game of the season to stay alive in the SWAC East race. The Hornets (7-3, 7-2 SWAC) need Alcorn State to defeat Jackson State next Saturday to win the division title after surviving a second-half rally by the Jaguars (3-7, 2-6 SWAC). Alabama State was ahead 28-14 going into the third quarter, but Charles Hawkins returned the second-half kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown to give Southern life at 28-21. The Teams traded field goals and Alabama State led 31-24 at the start of the forth quarter. Bobby Wenzig missed a 43-yard field goal with 3:05 left in the game for Alabama State, keeping Southern alive. Quarterback Dray Joseph drove the Jaguars 45 yards in 10 plays for what appeared to be the tying score with 20 seconds remaining. Coach Dawson Odums opted for a two-point conversion attempt to win the game in regulation rather kicking the point and going into overtime. Joseph’s pass was incomplete, and the Hornets escaped with the win. It was the second consecutive that a botched conversion attempt led to a loss for Southern. Kicker Matthew Hill missed a PAT in overtime as the Jaguars lost to Alabama A&M 24-23 last week.
Alcorn State 34, Texas Southern 24
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 24, Grambling State 17
Miss Valley State 22, Prairie View A&M 20
Delaware State 35, Hampton 27
Florida A&M 22, NC Central 21
Georgia Southern 69, Howard 26
NC A&T 17, South Carolina State 7
Norfolk State 30, Morgan State 0
Stillman 28, Concordia-Selma 26
Central State 51, Kentucky Wesleyan 7
Charleston (W. Va.) 62, West Virginia State 0
Langston 27, Okla. Panhandle State 20
Lock Haven 15, Cheyney 7
North Greenville 10, Virginia University of Lynchburg 3
SW Assemblies of God 24, Texas College 13
Southern Virginia 17, Edward Waters 10
Southwest Baptist 43, Lincoln (Mo.) 12
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