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BASN HBCU Game Of The Week: South Carolina State at No. 6 Delaware State
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Just a week ago, it appeared that Hampton University was headed for another MEAC football crown. However, a visit to Orangeburg, South Carolina changed the fortunes of the Pirates and two other teams fighting for this year’s title.
HU was defeated by South Carolina State 13-6 leaving the race for the MEAC crown still somewhat up in the air. Hampton (5-1) is still in the driver’s seat for the crown and a playoff berth in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.
While Hampton hosts Winston-Salem State in a non-conference game this Saturday, the Bulldogs (3-1) travel to Dover to meet the Hornets (4-1) in a game that will offer some brief separation between the MEAC foes.
Both teams are entering the game on three-game winning streaks. SCSU’s streak comes on the heels of a 1-3 start. This is also a match up of the league’s top rushing offense (SCSU at 233.7 ypg) versus the second-ranked rushing offense (DSU at 181.6 ypg).
In last week’s win against Hampton, SCSU quarterback Cleveland McCoy scored the game’s only touchdown to spark the Bulldogs. He ran for 114 yards on 17 carries and was eight-of-14 in the air with 812 yards.
DSU ruined Morgan State’s homecoming and snapped the Bears’ three-game winning streak last week with a 29-7 win at Hughes Stadium. A win Saturday by the Hornets will put them in a tie for the MEAC lead with Hampton.
In other games: (1) N.C. Central at Livingstone College At 8-0, NCCU is the only undefeated team in black college football. However, there is the business of winning the Western Division and repeating as CIAA Champs that must be taken care of. While Livingstone has struggled, they will hope to pull off the upset of the Eagles in front of their homecoming crowd. QB Stafford Brown, unknown to Eagle fans in August, has quietly become their offensive MVP. Defensively, the Eagles are a more stout unit than in 2005.
(2) Elizabeth City State at Saint Paul’s ECSU has only given up 12 points in its last four ballgames. Only Bowie State has scored on ECSU since September 30. The Vikings have shut out Virginia State, St. Augustine’s and Shaw over the one month span and outscored those teams an amazing 128-12. St. Paul’s will look to salvage a disappointing 2006 season with a win over the heavily-favored Vikings. QB Curtis Rich continues his torrid pace with 19 touchdown passes and only three interceptions.
Winston-Salem State at (3) Hampton The Rams have held their own (2-3) against MEAC competition this season, however they’ll face a Hampton squad that’s still smarting from last week’s loss at S.C. State. It’s the first meeting between the schools since a 40-6 Pirate win at Armstrong Stadium in September of 2000. In their 38-6 win over Savannah State last Saturday, Kermit Blount’s defense held SSU to -13 yards on the ground. Offensively, the Rams churned out 306 total yards including four rushing scores.
Fort Valley State at (4) Lane College Coming off a bye week, the Dragons look to do something they haven’t done since 1951 — beat Fort Valley. The Wildcats have dominated the series (24-1-1) with the lone tie coming back in 1978. Last week, FVSU held off Benedict College in double overtime on Nathaniel Samas’ touchdown pass to Nathaniel Randall. The win snapped a five-game losing streak by the Wildcats. Lane’s offense features a quartet of receivers (Jacoby Jones, Virgil Union, Edward Williams, and Marcus Moore) who have combined for 1,439 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns.
(6) Virginia Union at Bowie State Bowie State, the defending Eastern Champ, the league’s top defense faces off against Virginia Union, the league’s top offensive club. Panther QB Lamar Little can kill you with his legs (10 touchdowns) or with his arm (20 touchdowns) and is one of the most exciting prospects in the league. Little also has outstanding weapons surrounding him. RB Elihu Smith and WR Michael Hampton are formidable challenges for any defense. Bowie State is a team reborn with QB Lamar Manigo’s return to the lineup. The Bulldogs will look to bear down on VUU’s high-flying offense. Bowie State looks to close out 2006 with a winning record. With both VUU and Virginia State having to travel to Bowie, a winning record remains a distinct possibility.
Savannah State at (7) Johnson C. Smith JCSU kept alive its hopes of winning a bid to the Pioneer Bowl and outside shot at the Western Division with its come from behind win over FSU. The Golden Bulls are led by a tough defense and opportunistic offense. JCSU has never beaten the Tigers in three previous meetings, the last being a 54-12 loss back in October of 1990. A Golden Bull win would give JCSU its most wins since opening 7-2 in 1970.
Jackson State at (8) Arkansas-Pine Bluff Two teams who were lightly regarded coming into the season meet each other Saturday with dreams of meeting each other again in the SWAC title game. JSU, along with Alabama A&M and Alcorn State, are in a heated battle atop the Eastern side of the bracket. On the other side APBU and Grambling are neck-and-neck in the West. Rick Comegy’s squad is only one game ahead of A&M and Alcorn State, while Pine Bluff holds a tiebreaker lead over GSU. If both ASU and APBU are able to hold their respective leads, they could meet up again in Birmingham later this year.
(9) Alabama A&M vs. Alabama State (Magic City Classic in Birmingham) Another game with huge SWAC Championship undertones. The Bulldogs and Hornets meet in Birmingham in a battle for statewide HBCU bragging rights. A win for ASU could end the Bulldogs hopes for a return to the SWAC Championship Game, and technically keeps the Hornets in the hunt. A&M has to keep winning so they can stay right behind Jackson State. This game will be seen on a tape-delayed basis (10 pm) on ESPNU.
(10) Albany State at Morehouse Something’s gotta give in Atlanta Saturday. Morehouse has the top offensive team in the conference while Albany State has the top defensive team. Both teams are also coming off bitter conference losses: ASU against Tuskegee; Morehouse to hometown rival Clark Atlanta. The Maroon Tigers loss came on a 65-yard pass play with just one second remaining.