Game of the Week: CIAA Championship

By Tony McClean, BASN Editor In Chief
Updated: November 7, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Ct. (BASN) — When they met in Maryland back in September, the Broncos of Fayetteville State and the Bulldogs of Bowie State appeared to be heading in different directions.

The FSU defense intercepted five BSU passes en route to a 30-20 victory.

The Broncos forced six turnovers, including Joshua Wilkins’ school-record 97-yard interception return for a touchdown. At the time, both clubs walked away from the contest with identical 1-2 records.

Now just over two months later, the teams will meet each other again Saturday at Durham County Stadium for the CIAA Championship.

FSU’s fourth appearance in the championship game since 2002 will be against a Bowie State team (6-4, 5-2) that they not only beat earlier this season, but also defeated in that 2002 title game as well.

Kenny Phillips’ squad (7-3, 6-1) are riding a five-game winning streak and have won seven of their last eight since their 0-2 start.

In fact, FSU’s winning streak can be attributed to a change at quarterback. Following a loss to Virginia State, junior Tyler Hosler took over under center.

FSU is 5-0 with Hosler in the starting lineup. He’s completed 49-of-99 passes and thrown for 653 yards and four touchdowns this season.

As for the Bulldogs, they reached the title game by winning a coin flip as part of a three-way Eastern Division tiebreaker with Virginia Union and Elizabeth City State.

BSU’s offense is led by the CIAA’s leading rusher, Rodney Webb. The All-CIAA selection finished the season with 819 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.

Both teams have the two best overall defenses in the conference (BSU 217.5 ypg., FSU 259.4 ypg.) and against the run. BSU is ranked No. 1 in the league in total defense, while FSU is No. 2.

However, both team’s offenses are stellar as well.

The Broncos and Bulldogs are ranked No. 3 and 4 in the CIAA, respectively, in scoring offense and Nos. 5 and 6, respectively, in total offense.

The game, scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET start, can be seen regionally on the CIAA Network and can be heard on the Internet at www.hsrn.com and www.classicsportsradio.com.

OTHER KEY GAMES ALABAMA A&M at PRAIRIE VIEW A&M The Panthers (5-1, 4-0) will play for the first time since Oct. 22 when they posted a win at Southern for the first time since 1963. As for the Bulldogs (5-3, 2-2), they ended a two-game losing skid by posting their fifth consecutive win over arch rival Alabama State. The contest could be an early preview of next month’s SWAC Championship Game.

STILLMAN at TUSKEGEE Saturday’s homecoming could be a big day for Willie Slater’s team. A win would give the Golden Tigers (7-2, 7-1) their fourth straight SIAC title. The Tigers (3-5, 2-6) have never beaten TU (0-4 overall) and have lost three of their last five games overall.

SOUTH CAROLINA STATE at HOWARD The top-ranked Bulldogs (7-1, 5-0) will try to remain perfect in the MEAC and maintain its position in the polls when they travel to take on the Bison (2-6, 0-5) in a contest at Greene Stadium. A win would also give Buddy Pough’s team its 17th consecutive league triumph, tying a mark set by Hampton.