CIAA Football Preview: Week 9

By Off the BASN Sports Wire
Updated: October 20, 2004

The Eastern Division will be decided if two scenarios occur: 1) Shaw defeats Virginia State; or 2) Virginia State defeats Shaw, and Bowie State loses to Virginia Union. If Virginia State wins and Bowie State wins against VUU then the Trojans would still have some work to do at North Carolina Central. In the Western Division, North Carolina Central continues to chase Fayetteville State with the Broncos owning a head to head victory over the Eagles. Once again, the chase for the two Championship Game berths will go down to the wire.

The Eastern Divisional race has come down to this key matchup in Petersburg. Shaw, which resurrected its program only last season, is ready to travel where no Bear has gone before…even Blue Bears. Shaw came away with an important 21-0 road win against upstart Elizabeth City State. Shaw’s defensive effort has been stellar giving up a league low 214 yards per contest. The Trojans also have a legitimate claim as the conference’s best defense, giving up a measly 10.8 points per contest. The Bear Defense is led by DL Christopher Peavy and DB Torrance Nunnally. 2003 national interception leader Shawn Woodard should return to action in this key contest. The Trojans are led by DB Keith Johnson and LB Dewayne Taylor. Offensively, the team which musters up enough points against tough defensive opposition will win the contest. Quarterbacks Micheal Terry of VSU and Jermonty Kimbrough have struggled. They will need help from their running attacks and Bear RB Dion McIver seems the best equipped to fill the bill. Don’t expect many points to be on the scoreboard in this one. (1:30 p.m. at Petersburg).
Believe it or not, St. Aug is still alive in the Western Division. While the Falcons certainly do not control their own destiny, they will help their own cause if they can upset FSU. Au contraire, if the Broncos win, they are in. They will be one step closer to Durham if they can keep off St. Aug. The Broncos have been on a roll since being upset at VSU in September winning four straight and moving to fifth in the latest Southeast region ranking poll. QB Johnathan Autry has been a saving grace for FSU and has helped steady what was a once shaky offensive attack. The 40 point outburst against Johnson C. Smith was their second best output of the season. Defensively, FSU is stout. DB Walt Williams and LB Charles Roberts are stalwarts on the FSU Defense. St. Augustine’s is probably the nation’s best 4-4 team. The Falcons played two of the nation’s best, NCCU and Tuskegee, to a virtual standoff. QB Matthew Perry has played well for St. Aug. He also has two all-star receivers in Ed Montgomeryand Andre Brown. This is homecoming for FSU. (1:30 p.m. at Fayetteville, NC).
NCCU ended a six-game losing streak to Winston-Salem State in dramatic fashion, 35-33. The win kept the Eagles’ hopes for a CIAA Championship and playoff berth alive. The Eagles must continue to win to keep pace with FSU. If the Broncos stumble and NCCU wins it final two games, they will win the western division. NCCU should not be fooled by Livingstone’s record. The Blue Bears are a tough out for anyone, particularly in Salisbury. Eagle QB Adrian Warren won Offensive Back of the Week honors by passing for a career-high 248 yards against WSSU. RB Greg Pruitt is one of the CIAA’s best, averaging a hair under 100 yards per contest. Livingstone is led by LB Moises Gordon who is averaging a mind-boggling 16 tackles per game. The Blue Bears almost pulled off the upset against St. Aug at their homecoming. Livingstone’s chief issue has been scoring points. The Blue Bears average a mere 13.8 points per contest. NCCU boasts the league’s best scoring offense at nearly 26 points per contest. This is another homecoming contest and NCCU will be unwelcome guests. (2:00 p.m. at Salisbury, NC).
These proud programs have hit hard times as of late. BSU and VUU have played in all of the Championship Games since 2000. However, both have been eliminated from divisional contention. VUU was a preseason conference favorite with both Cordell Roane and John Cates returning. However, VUU has not performed up to its historical par. The Bulldogs also have been a big question mark this season. The once-feared offensive attack of BSU has screached to a virtual halt. This contest is for pride and to build a foundation for 2005. (1:00 p.m. at Bowie, MD).
The two-back attack of tailbacks Jed Bines and Martin Hicks leads the conference in rushing. However, not much else has gone right for the Rams. WSSU expected more of senior QB Josh McGee, who has thrown a mere 100 yards per contest. Defensively, the Rams have been the conference’s second worst only to JCSU. While WSSU is trying to close strong against the Golden Bulls and St. Aug, JCSU hopes to get its first win of the season. WSSU will hope to keep JCSU on a league worst 12-game losing streak which goes back to 2003. (6:00 p.m. at Charlotte).
While this appears to be a significant mismatch on paper, ECSU has proven to be a tough out in 2004. The Vikings upset both Bowie State and Virginia State and played Shaw tough before giving up two late touchdowns. CIAA sack leader Greg Moore and linemate Maceo Thomas have been a formidable pair. The two will have their hands full with FVSU RB Derek Wimbush. (1:30 p.m. at Fort Valley, GA).