By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
SWAC Championship Game VI: The Ultimate Rematch
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The sixth Dodge Southwestern Athletic Conference Football Championship game will feature a rematch of last year’s combatants. The Alabama State Hornets will face the Southern Jaguars as the East and West division champions, respectively, in Birmingham, Alabama at historic Legion Field. Last year, Southern claimed the SWAC football championship with a 20-9 win over Alabama State.
Additionally, the year-long anticipated championship game rematch by the Hornets is fueled by a 42-41 last minute regular season loss to the Jaguars in Montgomery on October 2nd, this year. The rematch was in doubt as late as December 4th, after Southern lost their last regular season game, 24-13, to Grambling State in the Bayou Classic.
That loss put Alabama State in a position of having to defeat Ark.-Pine Bluff on December 4th, in a Hurricane Ivan delayed game, to determine the West division champion and their opponent in the championship game. Against Ark.-Pine Bluff, Alabama State rallied from a 14-0 halftime deficit to prevail 21-14 and setup their rematch with Southern.
Statistically, this game is evenly matched and will feature two of the top offenses in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Alabama State leads the conference in Total Offense (420.8 yds/gm) and Southern is second in the same category (397.9 yds/gm).
The Hornets are averaging 33.4 pts/gm (1st) and the Jaguars are averaging 30.4 pts/gm (3rd). Defensively, the same two teams hold rankings of first and third in Scoring Defense allowing 17.5 pts/gm and 20.5 pts/gm respectively.
Individually, each team features top SWAC performers. Southern QB Thomas Ricks leads the conference in Total Offense (273.7 yds/gm) and Alabama State RB Keldrick Williams leads the conference in Rushing (110.3 yds/gm), Williams also leads the conference in All-Purpose yards (110.2 yds/gm).
Southern’s DB Ahmad Treaudo leads the conference in Interceptions with 8 (114 yds – 1 TD) and WR James Vernon is top in Receptions/Game at 6.1 (12.9 per catch). Alabama State QB Tavaris Jackson ranks third in Total Offense (221 yds/gm) and WR Reginald Glover is second in Receiving Yds/Game (84.4).
Finally, this year’s title game will pit the SWAC Offensive and Defensive Players of the year against each other. Southern QB Thomas Ricks was named “Offensive Player of the Year” and Alabama State LB Ronald “Rock” Dillon was tabbed “Defensive Player of the Year.”
It’s the second time that this has happened. In 2001′s title game, Grambling’s Bruce Eugene (Offensive) met Alabama A&M’s Robert Mathis (Defensive) in the Tigers’ victory.
NOTE: The Eastern Division is 0-5 in championship play.