HBCU Weekend Roundup: Week Two

By Tony McClean
Updated: August 31, 2008

FAMU Tubas NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Here is a roundup of some key HBCU games from this Labor Day weekend.


The Pirates defeated the Tigers in the 2008 MEAC/SWAC Challenge Sunday at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The win gives the MEAC a 3-1 series lead in the four-year challenge series. For Hampton (1-0), QB Herbert Bynes — named HU’s Most Outstanding Player — finished the game completing 14-of-23 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown. RB Dennis Mathis rushed 15 times for 47 yards while WR Justin Brown caught four passes for 49 yards.

Wakeem Goode led the Pirates with 11 tackles (three solo). For JSU (0-1), QB Trae Rutland finished going 14-for-23 for 198 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also led the Tigers in rushing with nine carries for 39 yards. WR Keenan Tillman caught five passes for 59 yards while WR Carlos Simpson had four receptions for 75 yards. LB Marcellus Speaks led the Tigers’ defensive effort with 12 tackles (4.0 tackles for loss) and two forced fumbles. Speaks was named JSU Most Outstanding Player of the game.

After holding Hampton to no score on the opening possession, Jackson State marched 89 yards on nine plays, capping the drive with a 32-yard pass play from Rutland to Rodney Gray. Both teams would struggle for the remainder of the half, with Hampton getting on the board with a 43-yard field goal by Carlos Turavani to end the first half. A 1-yard plunge by Jerry Cummings gave the Pirates a 10-7 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the third period. The Pirates would push the lead to ten on a Bynes to Jeremy Gilchrist pass early in the fourth period.

The Tigers would continue to fight as backup QB Michael Mosely found Rashad Smith for a 10-yard touchdown completion with eight minutes remaining. JSU would get the ball back, but could not convert on a late fourth-down opportunity with under two minutes remaining in regulation. While the game started off slow for both teams, Jackson State outgained Hampton offensively 336 to 227. Hampton overcame nine penalties for 126 yards in the game while Jackson State fell victim to an interception and two lost fumbles.


LeRoy Vann returned a kickoff 99 yards and Eddie Battle ran for a 17-yard touchdown to lead host Florida A&M to a win over Alabama State at Tallahassee on Saturday. Florida A&M (1-0) gave Joe Taylor a win in his debut as Rattlers’ coach and beat Alabama State (0-1) for the first time since 1977. Vann’s return with 2:56 left in the second quarter broke a 14-14 tie, and FAMU led the rest of the game. Battle, the Rattlers’ quarterback, completed nine of 15 passes for 124 yards and ran for a 17-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

ASU quarterback Reid Herchenbach completed 22 of 34 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. The teams started off quickly, scoring three touchdowns and totaling 250 offensive yards in the first quarter. FAMU took the opening kickoff and drove 60 yards to take a 7-0 lead on a three-yard touchdown run by Philip Sylvester. ASU responded with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Herchenbach to Marcus McCall to tie the game at 7-7.

After Battle’s touchdown run, ASU tied the game 14-14 on an eight-yard pass from Anthony Speight to Nicholas Andrews. FAMU also scored in the second half on a safety and a five-yard touchdown run by Lonvontae Page. ASU scored its final touchdown on a five-yard pass from Herchenbach to Cedric Harris in the fourth quarter. Taylor took over as FAMU’s coach this year after 16 years at Hampton. He replaced Rubin Carter, who was fired after the Rattlers finished 3-8 last season.


Antonio Heffner passed for 292 yards and a touchdown to help visiting Tennessee State beat Alabama A&M at Huntsville on Saturday night. Heffner, who completed 16-of-30 passes, threw a 65-yard score to JaJaun Spillman to give the Tigers (1-0) a 10-7 lead in the second quarter. The quarterback also had two interceptions. After the Bulldogs (0-1) scored on a field goal, Spillman responded with a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second to put TSU ahead 17-10.

Javarris Williams, who ran for 70 yards on 18 carries, scored on a 12-yard run to give the Tigers a 17-point lead in the third. Chris Johnson caught six passes for 127 yards for TSU. Kevin Atkins led the Bulldogs with 185 yards passing, 65 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. Thomas Harris had 105 yards on seven catches.


Case Keenum threw five touchdown passes to lead host Houston to a win over Southern on Saturday night, giving Kevin Sumlin a victory in his first game as the Cougars’ coach. L.J. Castile and Mark Hafner each caught two touchdowns from Keenum, who was 33-of-43 for 392 yards. The quarterback threw four touchdown passes, a career high, before the end of the first half. Hafner and Castile were the leading receivers for the Cougars (1-0) with 103 and 83 yards, respectively.

Andre Kohn scored the first points of the game with a one-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Ben Bell added a 20-yard field goal early in the second quarter. The Cougars added a pair of touchdowns in the next five minutes. Castile caught a 30-yard touchdown from Keenum, followed about two minutes later by Hafner’s 36-yard TD. The Jaguars (0-1) got on the board when Josh Duran made a 36-yard field goal to make it 24-3. But the Cougars answered with two more scores just before halftime.

Keenum hit Castile for a 22-yard touchdown. Patrick Edwards then made the first touchdown catch of his career to make it 38-3. The Cougars broke a 53-year school record, scoring the most points in team history for a new head coach. Bill Meek’s Cougars scored 54 points in a 42-point win over Montana in 1955.


South Carolina State’s defense gave a solid performance, but it wasn’t enough as Freshman Latavius Murray scored two touchdowns to lift host Central Florida (1-0) over South Carolina State (0-1) at Brighthouse Stadium in Orlando, Fla. Saturday night. The Bulldogs were held to just 126 total yards on the night, while the Knights racked up 318 total yards on offense. Junior running back Will Ford led SCSU with 12 carries for 36 yards, while UCF was led by Ronnie Weaver led with 23 carries for 84 yards with Murray finishing with 43 yards on 11 carries on the night. SCSU’s sophomore quarterback Malcolm Long making his debut as the Bulldog starter completed just 11-of-21 passes for 74 yards and one interception.

Central Florida’s Michael Greco finished with 57 yards on 13 rushes and completed 9-of-16 passes for 90 yards. The Bulldogs managed just five first downs and was only 2-for-11 on third-down situations. The Knights struck first on Murray’s on a 40-yard drive that began on a Jason Venson’s interception. Greco scramble to give UCF a third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, and Murray barged in for the score. The final score of the game came on a 7-yard run by Murray with 3:15 left in the game.


DeAngelo Branche scored three touchdowns and Norfolk State’s defense was stellar in a home win over Virginia State on Saturday night. The Spartans (1-0) jumped out to a 19-0 lead on Branche’s 10-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Branche, who rushed for 96 yards on 20 carries, also scored on runs of 5 and 1 yards. Lamont Thorpe padded Norfolk State’s lead in the third when he returned a fumble 49 yards for a touchdown.

The Spartans defense, which had 11 tackles for loss and four sacks, held the Trojans (0-1) to 103 total yards. Dennis Brown, who completed 12-of-30 passes, threw for 126 yards including a 21-yard touchdown pass to Sherron Brown in the first quarter for Norfolk State. Taron Hampton led Virginia State with 122 yards rushing on 23 carries.


Quarterback Colin Kaepernick rushed for three touchdowns to lead the Nevada Wolf Pack to a 49-13 season-opening victory over the visiting Grambling State Tigers in front of 20,078 fans at Mackay Stadium. The victory was the Wolf Pack’s first in its season opener since it beat Southern Utah, 24-23, in 2003. Grambling State (0-1), which was out gained 629-230, was led by quarterback Greg Dillon, who completed 13-of-25 passes for 225 yards. Dillon connected with running back Kenneth Batiste on a 21-yard touchdown pass to close out the scoring with 4:38 to play.

Kaepernick, who also completed 10-of-17 passes for 122 yards, scored on runs of 7 and 19 yards to open the scoring. The sophomore quarterback, who also scored on a 28-yard run in the third quarter, finished with 69 yards rushing on just six carries. Nevada running back Vai Taua had a game-high 103 yards rushing on 12 carries. The sophomore scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter as Nevada took a 21-0 halftime lead and also added a 4-yard score in the third quarter.

The Nevada defense held Grambling State to minus 11 yards rushing in the first half and just 5 total yards on the ground for the game on 40 carries. Nevada’s offense rushed for 426 yards on 53 carries. Four Wolf Pack quarterbacks combined to complete 18-of-32 passes for 203 yards. Grambling State broke Nevada’s shutout with 9:19 to play in the third quarter on a 61-yard interception return for a touchdown by Desmond Lenard.


Donald Babers ran 26 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns as Prairie View A&M beat rival Texas Southern in the Labor Day Classic at Houston on Saturday night, ruining the debut of Tigers coach Johnnie Cole. The Panthers defense held Texas Southern to just 113 yards and nine first downs. Prairie View sacked Tigers quarterback Bobbie Reid, an Oklahoma State transfer, six times. Reid had a 1-yard touchdown run. Prairie View, which has won four of the last five in the series, opened up a 28-0 lead in the second quarter.


In the season opener for both schools, the Bears came up short losing to the host Rams in Albany, Ga. Both teams met with inconsistent play and miscues in the first half. With 4:08 left in the first half, ASU’s Demetri Johnson soared past the top ranked Shaw defense on a two-yard run for the first touchdown of the season. The tables turned for the Bears in the second half as freshman kicker Lincoln Shepherd connected on a 41-yard field goal with 3:15 left in the half giving Shaw its first score of the season.

Late in the second quarter, Aaron Ellison rushed for 11 yards giving Shaw a first down and opportunity to take the lead. With 18 seconds left in the half, Ellison once again rushed into the end zone for a touchdown giving Shaw a 10-7 lead. All of a sudden, the momentum of the game would shift. Off one play, ASU’s Patrick Cuff received the ball on a punt return and made an impressive run through the Shaw defense for 30 yards into Bear territory putting the Golden Rams in scoring position just before the end of the half. With 0:01 left on the clock, Robert Taylor caught a 30-yard pass from A.J. McKenna giving the ASU a 13-10 halftime lead.

Late in the third quarter, the Rams would stretch their lead. With 1:49 left in the quarter, Taylor caught his second score. This time a 11-yard pass from Kisan Flakes to give Albany State a 20-10 lead. Refusing to give up, the efforts of the Bears fell short allowing one additional Golden Ram touchdown which gave them a comfortable lead with 9:50 left in the game.