By Tony McClean
Updated: September 5, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — For the third straight week, the Pirates of Hampton University sit atop BASN’s Black College Football Top Ten — barely.
Derius Swinton’s blocked extra point and solid play from some Hampton reserves helped the top-ranked Pirates win their season opener, a 27-26 overtime thriller against No. 2 Grambling State (0-1) in the MEAC-SWAC Challenge at Birmingham.
HU will open conference play Saturday when they host Howard at Armstrong Stadium. The game will shown on ESPNU on a tape-delayed basis.
Despite the loss, the Tigers remain second. However, that could change as soon as this weekend. Saturday night, GSU travels to Lewis Crews Stadium to meet No. 3 Alabama A&M in a rematch of last year’s SWAC Championship game.
The Bulldogs, who rallied to defeat Tennessee State in the John Merritt Classic 27-20 last Saturday, will be looking to avenge a 45-6 loss to the Tigers in the 2005 title contest.
Tuskegee (1-0) and Southern (1-0), who jumped from the No. 9 ranking, make up the rest of the top five. The Jaguars also came from behind to nip Bethune-Cookman 30-29 in the Gateway Classic at Jacksonville.
Saturday night, SU will host No. 7 Mississippi Valley State. The Delta Devils got 185 passing yards and a touchdown from Aries Nelson as they shutout Arkansas-Pine Bluff 10-0 in the Chicago Football Classic.
The rest of the top ten includes South Carolina State (0-1) at No. 6, North Carolina Central (2-0) eighth, and two new schools (Jackson State and Delaware State) filling out rest of the other slots.
JSU ushered in the Rick Comegy era with a bang. The Tigers lit up the scoreboard for 30 points in the first quarter en route to a 44-20 home win over NAIA opponent Paul Quinn. Sophomore running back Eric Haw scored four touchdowns, including scoring the first three times he touched the ball.
As for the Hornets, they scored two defensive touchdowns in the first five minutes and took advantage of numerous FAMU penalties to seize a 34-14 victory in the Detroit Football Classic at Ford Field.
While Jackson State will be idle Saturday, DSU will meet non-conference foe St. Francis of Pennsylvania in their home opener. The Hornets are seeking consecutive 2-0 starts for the first time since they turned the trick from 1984-86.
As for other ranked teams playing Saturday: Tuskegee will host conference rival Miles College; South Carolina State travels to meet Winston-Salem State, and N.C. Central hosts Lenoir-Rhyne.