Game of the Week: Magic City Classic

By Tony McClean, BASN Editor In Chief
Updated: October 31, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Ct. (BASN) — For both the Hornets of Alabama State (4-3, 1-3) and the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M (4-3, 1-2), the 2009 season has been one of extremes.

However when they meet at Legion Field in Birmingham this Saturday, all of that can be thrown out the window.

While the Magic City Classic is routinely one of the most attended games on the HBCU football calendar, the “Battle of Bama” is always one of the most heated rivalries as well.

The Bulldogs have won the last four meetings, but they come into the game with a bit of a chip on their shoulders.

AAMU will look to get back on the winning track, having dropped two consecutive games prior to last week’s open date. Twice they cut into double-digit deficits at Alcorn State but could not take the lead.

The Bulldogs lead the SWAC in rushing offense, sacks made (28) and tackles for loss and kickoff return average (21.2), and is third in rushing defense.

As for the Hornets, they ended a three-game losing skid with a home win last week over division leader Alcorn State.

Making his first start of the season, QB Anthony Speight completed 15 of 23 for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Alabama State is second in the conference in total offense, rushing defense, and kickoff return average (19.3).

ASU leads the overall series 36-34-3, however Alabama A&M leads the Magic City Classic series 34-30-3. The game can be seen live on the Internet at ESPN360.com and shown on a tape-delayed basis on ESPNU at 10:30 p.m. ET.

It can also be heard live on the Internet at www.hsrn.com.

OTHER KEY GAMES ELIZABETH CITY STATE at VIRGINIA UNION With Fayetteville State having clinched the CIAA West, the Panthers hosts the Vikings with an opportunity to clinch the CIAA East. If VUU falters, and Bowie State defeats Virginia State, they will win the East. If both should lose, ECSU could win the East in a three-way tiebreaker. VUU, which has won five of its last six, will look to pound the ball with its league-leading running attack. As for ECSU, they’ve regained their early offensive form with the return of WR Dexter Manley and RB Daronte McNeil.

SOUTHERN at ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF The Golden Lions (4-2, 2-1) are still trying to stay alive in the SWAC West race behind Prairie View A&M. Monte Coleman’s squad has won two straight including last wek’s Homecoming victory against Edward Waters. They’ll battle a Jaguar squad (4-3, 1-2) that lost their final home game of the season in a hard-fought 16-14 contest against the aforementioned Panthers. Southern leads the conference in passing offense, total offense, and scoring offense, while UAPB is first in the conference in rushing defense and total defense, second in passing defense and turnover margin (+8), and third in scoring defense.

DELAWARE STATE at SOUTH CAROLINA STATE The top-ranked Bulldogs (6-1, 4-0) will be looking to extend their conference winning streak to 16 straight in their Homecoming matchup against the Hornets (2-4, 2-3). Ironically, Delaware State was the last MEAC foe to defeat SCSU. Prior to last year’s victory, the Bulldogs had endured two consecutive one-point losses (10-9 at Dover in ’06 and 17-16 at O’burg in ’07). Both setbacks derailed the Bulldogs’ MEAC title hopes.