BASN Black College Focus: Hampton Claims 2004 SBN Black College Football National Championship

By Tony McClean
Updated: December 14, 2004

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Hampton University capped their championship season as the Pirates were named the Black College National Champions by the Sheridan Broadcasting Network.

The Pirates edged SIAC champion Albany State by four first place votes (17-13) and 19 points overall to earn the school’s third SBN title under head coach Joe Taylor.
Hampton also finished first in the New York Amsterdam News and American Sports Wire Black College Polls. Rounding out the rest of SBN’s top five was MEAC co-champion South Carolina State (9-2) at number three, SWAC champion Alabama State (10-2) at four, and last year’s national champion Southern University (8-4) at five.

“It’s a great feeling to capture our third SBN Black College National Championship,” added Taylor. “It feels good for the players, Hampton University and our alumni. This is a result of the outstanding players and coaches that we have here at Hampton, and it shows that hard work does not go unnoticed.”

Guided by Coach Taylor, the Pirates posted a 10-2 mark and captured the 2004 MEAC championship, while also qualifying for the Division I-AA playoffs. Once there, the 11th ranked Pirates battled William & Mary for the entire afternoon before falling in the end, 42-35.
Teams six through 10 in SBN’s final poll were: CIAA champion Shaw University (10-2), Tuskegee (10-2) at number seven, Arkansas Pine-Bluff (6-3) at eighth, North Carolina Central (8-2) at ninth, and Alcorn State (7-4) coming in at number 10.

Hampton had several individual standouts during the 2004 campaign, led mainly by the multi-talented Jerome Mathis — arguably the most explosive player in I-AA. Mathis led the country with an average of 29.47 yards per reception to go along with nine receiving touchdowns, all the while leading the country in kickoff returns.

The senior and Walter Camp All-American selection averaged 35.5 yards per return and set an I-AA record with five kickoff returns for touchdowns.

Linebacker Justin Durant was listed among the top defenders in the country and walked away with the 2004 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year award.

Also, running backs Ardell Daniels and Alonzo Coleman each surpassed the 1,000-yard mark, and quarterback Princeton Shepherd finished eighth in the country in passing efficiency after throwing for 1,890 and 18 touchdowns.