Saturday’s HBCU Football Roundup

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: November 28, 2008

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Travis Rayford’s interception in the end zone on the final play helped preserve Alabama State’s 17-13 win over Tuskegee Thursday in the Turkey Day Classic, ending the Golden Tigers’ 27-game winning streak.

The loss snapped the Division II Golden Tigers’ winning streak that was the longest at any level in the NCAA and ruined their hopes of a second straight perfect season.

The Hornets (3-8) had taken a 17-13 lead with a late 38-yard field goal by Andrew Lyons and had to hold on as Tuskegee (10-1) fought to the Hornet 16-yard line in the final 30 seconds.

Following three incomplete passes by Jacary Atkinson, Rayford intercepted Atkinson in the end zone as time expired.

“We pulled out everything we had,” ASU coach Reggie Barlow said of his first Turkey Day victory. “We didn’t hold anything back. This game meant that much and we needed it — bad. I’m proud of these guys and how hard they fought.”

The win was Alabama State’s first over Tuskegee since 2003. The Hornets play in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Atkinson, who had a 23-yard touchdown pass to Jason English early in the first quarter, scored on a 1-yard run with 4:50 remaining in the game. The extra point was blocked, leaving the Golden Tigers needing a touchdown at the end.

Tuskegee’s last loss had been on Oct. 28, 2006 when the Golden Tigers, the No. 1 team in the latest BTRC/BASN HBCU Top 10 Football Poll, fell to Clark Atlanta 10-6.

“It’s great to be a part of the Tuskegee program, not just the streak,” Tuskegee coach Willie Slater said. “We come out to win every game and we came out to win today. It just didn’t fall our way.

“We’ve been the ones shaking people’s hands and saying good job 26 times in-a-row. I guess it’s our time (to be on the other side) now.”


Defending Western Division Champion Grambling State plays Southern in the 35th annual Bayou Classic with major division title implications. A win by the Tigers, ranked third in the latest BTRC/BASN HBCU Top 10 Football Poll, would clinch the division title and a berth in the SWAC Championship Game.

However, a win by Southern would force a three-team coin flip. between Grambling State, Prairie View A&M (No. 4 in the BTRC/BASN Poll), and Southern (ranked sixth in the BTRC/BASN poll).

GSU is the hottest team in the SWAC, currently on an eight-game winning streak, six straight in conference play. The Tigers are coming off a 33-7 win at Texas Southern last Thursday night.

Southern has won two in row, including a 15-0 win vs. Alabama State on Nov. 15.


Grambling State (9-2, 6-0) can win the division outright with:

• A victory over Southern, giving the Tigers the best division record.

A loss to Southern would force a three-team coin flip.

Prairie View A&M (9-1, 6-1)

• Can only win the division through a three-team coin flip.The Panthers must have Southern defeat Grambling State to force the coin flip.

Prairie View A&M is eliminated from title contention if Grambling State defeats Southern.

By virtue of being in conference title contention, the Panthers are not eligible for the FCS playoffs.

Southern (6-4, 5-1)

• Can only win the division through a three-team coin flip. The Jaguars must defeat Grambling State to force a three-team coin flip.

Southern is eliminated from division title contention with a loss to Grambling State.


South Carolina State (10-2), the 2008 MEAC champions will travel to Boone, North Carolina Saturday to take on three-time defending champion Appalachian State (10-2) in opening-round action of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs.

The Bulldogs, who are No. 2 in the latest BTRC/BASN poll, are making only their third appearance, and the first since 1982, in the prestigious playoffs. The Mountaineers, meanwhile, the Southern Conference automatic representative, earned their 16th appearance in the field.

The Bulldogs and Mountaineers are meeting for only the second time ever. The only other meeting was in 1984 at Boone, where Appalachian State won 24-0. I n its previous two appearances in the playoffs — 1981 and 1982 — SCSU won first-round contests each time before losing in the next round to the eventual champion.

The Bulldogs defeated Tennessee State 26-25 in overtime at home in 1981 before losing 41-12 at Idaho State. In 1982, SC State traveled to Furman for an opening round game and won 17-0 before dropping a 38-3 decision at Louisiana Tech.

The winner of Saturday’s game advances to the Dec. 6 quarterfinals against the winner of the opening round contest between Eastern Kentucky and Richmond.

The contest, one of eight first-round games, kicks off at 12 noon at Kidd Brewer Stadium and will be carried live by ESPNU.

Also on Saturday, Langston University (10-2) head to South Dakota to face the University of Sioux Falls (11-0) in the quarterfinal round of the NAIA Football Championship Series.

USF is riding a 33-game home winning streak and has recorded seven shut-outs this season, including a 28-0 playoff win over Ambrose last weekend.

Langston, whose only losses have been to NCAA Division I opponents Grambling State and Stephen F. Austin), sports a defense that averages nearly four (3.9) sacks per game.

Last weekend, Langston posted their second ever NAIA playoff win by knocking off MidAmerica Nazarene, 20-14 Saturday. The LU defense forced four turnovers in eliminating MNU from the first round for the second straight season.

The two teams have never met and will kickoff at Noon CT at Bob Young Field in Sioux Falls.