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HBCU HAPPENINGS WITH ELLIOTT ROBINSON 090802
**HBCU Happenings is pleased to announce that we can now be found at: www.I-AA.org. I-AA.org is a treasure-trove of information on I-AA football. It’s definitely a site you will want to bookmark.** Mid Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) REPORT: WEEK 2 GAMES OF THE WEEK Howard vs. Texas Southern in Washington, DC 12:00pm The “Coach Petty Era” begins at Howard University. There will be one thing that is decidedly different in the Bison attack from recent teams…a running game. With four upperclassmen in the backfield, the Bison have plans on running early and often. Leading this ground attack are seniors (RB) Vincent Neclos and (FB) Michael Ajayi and juniors (RB,FB) Tauric Rice and (RB) Jay Colbert. Texas Southern All-World LB Lernard Mack and the Tiger defense will certainly be a firm test for the Bison. TSU’s defense is coming off a stifling performance where they held Prairie View A&M to only 11 yards rushing and forced 6 turnovers in a 44-14 victory.
The Bison defense is led by Tracy “My Favorite Geechee” White and they will be tested by Texas Southern. The Tigers are featuring a new spread offense that has 2 bruising running backs (Jermaine Joseph, Timothy Boutte) and an All-SWAC wide receiver in Cortez Hankton. The Bison are glad to return safeties Vontrae Long and Brian McDonald. Both missed last season with injuries. This should be a great contest at Greene Stadium.
N.C. A&T vs. Jackson State in Greensboro, NC 6:00pm (Hall of Fame Day) The Aggies are coming off a disappointing loss to long time rival NC Central. Their offense’s performance (179 yards total offense) was woeful. Both QBs saw playing time (Jason Battle and Jason Douglas); however, the Aggies will have to improve their passing (16 of 29, 128 yards, 2 INTs, 0 TDs) in order to have any success against Jackson State. It seems the exit of key members of the coaching staff has had a detrimental effect on the A&T offense.
The Tigers have plenty of offense with their All-SWAC QB Robert Kent. Expect the Aggie secondary to be tested early and often. JSU will also feature RB Tarnaka Counslor, who provides a nice change of pace to Kent’s aerial exploits. The Tigers’ special teams were woeful in their 7-55 loss to University of Southern Mississippi. If they don’t make significant changes, look for the Aggies to block a few punts. Expect the Aggies to grind it out on the ground, while the Tigers look to win this contest in the air.
OTHER GAMES: Delaware State vs. Savannah State in Dover, DE 1:00pm Hampton vs. Southwest Missouri State in Hampton, VA 1:30pm Florida Atlantic vs. Bethune-Cookman in Miami, FL 4:00pm S.C. State vs. Benedict in Columbia, SC 6:00pm (Capital City Palmetto Classic) Florida A&M vs. Morris Brown in Tallahassee, FL 7:00pm ON THE TUBE MBC Network – S.C. State vs. Benedict in Columbia, SC, 6:00pm (Capital City Palmetto Classic) RECAP FROM WEEK 1 Hampton 31, James Madison 28 The Hampton Pirates pulled off a big win against in-state Rival James Madison (Atlantic 10). In front of over 10,000 hostile fans at Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the Pirates answered an early JMU score with 31 unanswered points. Pirate QB Tim Frazier threw for a career high three touchdowns (67, 5, 1), with 2 going to All-MEAC WR Zuriel Smith. Hampton’s defense helped to stymie JMU by forcing 4 turnovers in the victory.
South Carolina State 26, Tennessee State 20 The Buddy Pough Era has begun with a bang. Coach Pough promised more offense in Orangeburg and the Bulldogs certainly delivered with 441 yards of total offense. The Tigers jumped to an early 20-7 lead in the 2nd quarter, but the Bulldog’s defense settled down and the offense opened up. Junior quarterback Reese McCampbell led the way for the Bulldogs with 161 yards rushing and 1 TD to go along with 121 yards through the air and 2 TDs. SCSU shut-out TSU in the 2nd half and this defensive surge was led by senior linebacker Derek Harrison who recorded 8 tackles, a pair of interceptions, and 1 sack along with junior linebacker Dreak Pooler’s pair of interceptions.
Bethune-Cookman 41, Savannah State 9 Wildcat QB Allen Suber beat the Tigers with his legs. Suber rushed for 139 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 4 passes for 94 yards in front of 13,981 at AllTel Stadium in Jacksonville. Brad Lee, Jay Rogers and Johnnie Vickers all had short TD runs for BCC. LB Jamal Muhammad posted 12 tackles and a sack to help pace a Wildcat defense that held Savannah State to only 205 yards in offense.
Delaware State 16, Morris Brown 10 Deon Rheubottom (2001 MEAC Rookie of the Year) led the way defensively for the Hornets. His three interceptions were integral parts in shutting down the Morris Brown offense. Delaware State’s defense also recorded seven sacks, knocked Morris Brown’s starting QB out of the game and held Morris Brown to just 31 yards rushing.
Gardner-Webb 28. Morgan State 24 MSU quarterback Bradshaw Littlejohn showed why he was nicknamed “The Big Show.” The 6-foot-3, 258-pound quarterback was 17 for 32 for 260 yards, two touchdowns. The Michigan State transfer also had 16 carries for 115 yards as the Bears outgained GWU, 466 yards to 321. Unfortunately, the defense was unable to stop the Bulldogs and Coach Donald Hill-Eley will have to wait another week before he can record his first victory as head coach of the Morgan Bears.
Norfolk State 31, Virginia State 21 The Labor Day Classic in Norfolk means 1 thing…rain. Yes, it rained again this year, but that did not squelch the enthusiasm of one of college football’s great rivalries. Coach Mo Forte’s Spartans were led by QB Dontrell Leonard who completed 11-of-13 passes, 168 yards and 1 TD. The Spartans’ steady ground game featured RBs Terrell Johnson, William Smith and Michael Vann who combined for 132 yards on 32 carries and 3 touchdowns.
University of Miami 63, Florida A&M 16 The Rattlers were overmatched in this contest; however, they were able to score 16 points on the defending national champions. The Rattlers did receive approximately $420,000 for the contest, so it was not a total loss for FAMU. I expect the Rattlers to lick their wounds and re-group against Morris Brown this weekend.
NC Central 33, NC A&T 30 The Aggies jumped out to a 27-0 lead in the first quarter at the annual Aggie-Eagle Classic, but they didn’t jump far enough. The Eagles of NC Central fought back and finally won the game in overtime. The Aggies’ James McCoy returned 2 Eagle turnovers for TDs. Sandwiched between that were 2 short TD runs by Corneilus Gary. The Aggies were shut down from that point until their field goal in OT. The A&T running game was held to 51 yards, while they were limited to only 128 yards in the air.
MEAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK Offensive Player of the Week Howard Gilmore, WR/SO (Norfolk State) 6’0, 185 – Washington, DC Gilmore finished the evening with four receptions for 131 yards and one touchdown. He had a 75-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter of NSU’s 31-21 win over Virginia State.
Offensive Lineman of the Week Terrence Gibson, OL/JR (Norfolk State) 6’5, 290 – Baltimore, MD In the Spartans 31-21 win over arch-rival Virginia State, Gibson helped pave the way as they finished with 367 total offensive yards (214 rushing, 153 passing).
Defensive Player of the Week Derek Harrison, LB/SR (S.C. State) 6’0, 235 – Orangeburg, SC In the win over Tennessee State (26-20) Derek led the Bulldogs with eight tackles, three pass deflections, two interceptions, one sack and a quarterback pressure that resulted in a 32-yard interception returned for a touchdown.
Special Teams Player of the Week DaShaun Morris, Return Specialist (Delaware State) 5-11, 180, Newark, NJ – Returned three kickoffs for 122 yards, including an 85-yarder for a touchdown, as Delaware State downed Morris Brown, 16-10…touchdown opened the second half and provided the decisive score for the Hornets…also caught four passes for 28 yards on the afternoon, and gave DSU its first season-opening win since 1997…first season-opening win against a I-AA opponent for the Hornets since 1991.
Rookie of the Week Bradshaw Littlejohn, QB/FR (Morgan State) 6’3, 258 – Gaffney, SC The Bears were four points short against Gardner Webb (24-28) but Bradshaw Littlejohn collected 375 yards of total offense. He completed 17 of 32 passes for 260 yards and connected on two touchdown strikes, a 42 yarder and a 44 yarder. The Michigan State transfer led the team in rushing also with 115 yards.
NEWS AND NOTES MEAC Showcases 1st Female Official Annice Canady has joined the ranks of football officials in the MEAC, making this a national milestone by becoming the first female game official on the Division I-AA level. Annice served as a line judge last Saturday during the Delaware State vs Morris Brown game. According to MEAC Coordinator of Football Officials, Johnny Grier, Annice will be a Line Judge and she is prepared to do the job. “She was one of the best in the camp when she was selected,” said Grier.
MEAC Expansion/ Return of Heritage Bowl??? In an interview with noted writer Roscoe Nance, the new MEAC Commissioner Dennis Thomas has hinted at both conference expansion and the return of the Heritage Bowl. For more info, you can read the article at: http://www.onnidan.com/bcsp/904/stry9041.htm.
Howard Names New Associate AD Former University of Virginia standout quarterback Shawn Moore has been named the associate director of athletics at Howard University. Moore has worked with the NCAA and most recently with football operations in the now-defunct XFL. Moore was a standout at the University of Virginia at quarterback, twice earning ACC Player of the year honors.