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BASN’S HBCU DESK WITH TEEMACK,VOL III
BASN’S HBCU DESK
By Anthony McClean, Editor –in-Chief Emeritus
NEW HAVEN, CT BASN): Even though Saturday’s game between Winston-Salem State and Tuskegee is only the sixth overall meeting between the two schools, it seems that when the Rams and Golden Tigers do meet, it’s always an important and pivotal contest within HBCU football.
This week’s game at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem should be no different. Both teams have identical 1-1 records and both have spots in Dr. Kenyatta Cavil’s Mid-Major HBCU football rankings heading into the contest. The Rams, despite their close 22-17 loss last week at Valdosta State, are atop this week’s poll.
In a rematch of the 2012 Division II Championship Game, WSSU was down 15-7 at the half. They rallied late but fell short in the end. They did out produce the Blazers in yardage (399 to 391), but the Valdosta State defense kept the pressure on Rudy Johnson and Phil Sims all afternoon, forcing the Rams into just 15 of 44 passing. WSSU was also flagged eight times for 71 yards.The eighth-ranked Golden Tigers are coming off their first win of the season. Down 7-3 to SIAC rival Albany State, Willie Slater’s squad scored 17 unanswered points in the third quarter and held on to defeat the Golden Rams 20-12. In last year’s meeting against WSSU, the Golden Tigers fell to the Rams 35-13 in the Cleveland Classic.
Tuskegee leads the overall series, 3-2. The schools first met in the 1999 and 2000 Pioneer Bowls. Both played at the Georgia Dome, the schools split the contests with Winston winning the first meeting 23-7 and the Golden Tigers winning 12-9 a year later. Saturday’s game — scheduled for a 6 pm ET start — will be seen nationally on the ASPIRE TV network and heard on the HSRN Radio Network.
OTHER KEY GAMES
Grambling State (0-3) at Jackson State (2-1)
A year ago, this contest was forfeited to the Tigers as part of Grambling State’s boycott due to GSU players protesting unfit conditions within the program. The reverberations are still being felt by both schools as they meet at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Ranked seventh in Dr. Cavil’s HBCU Major Division poll, Jackson State was handed their first loss of the season last week (35-7) at the hands of Tennessee State in the Southern Heritage Classic. While Broderick Fobbs’ Tigers remain winless, they gave Bethune-Cookman a scare — leading 23-22 after three quarters — before bowing to the still top-ranked Wildcats 36-23.
Howard (1-2) vs. Morgan State (1-2) at Met Life Stadium
The Bears will attempt to win their MEAC opener when they hit the gridiron against their Beltway rivals in the 42nd New York Urban League Classic. Morgan State — ranked ninth in Dr. Cavil’s Major Division poll — enters the game fresh off a 28-3 win against Bowie State. The Bison — ranked 10th in Dr. Cavil’s Major Division poll — will enter the meeting looking to build on its 35-17 victory against Morehouse. The game will be telecast live on ESPN3 (3:30 pm ET) and shown on a tape delayed basis on ESPNU (10 pm). The game will also air live on the Heritage Sports Radio Network on Sirius/XM Channel 136.
Virginia-Lynchburg (0-3) at Livingstone College (2-0)
Clearly one of the early season surprises in all of HBCU football, the unbeaten Blue Bears look to reach their entire win total from last season in their home opener against the Dragons. Ranked third in Dr. Cavil’s latest Mid-Major poll, Darryl Williams’ squad has averaged a league high 47 points in both victories. Defensively, linebacker Kenneth White is leading the CIAA in tackles (12.5 pg). Playing a limited schedule since reviving the program, UVL has been outscored 148-7 this season including two shutouts.
Miles College (1-1) at Hampton (0-3)
The struggling Pirates finally return to Armstrong Stadium from a rough season-opening road trip to take on one of the best teams in the SIAC. Hampton fell 42-17 to Richmond last week while the Golden Bears dropped their first game of the season this past Saturday, falling 26-0 to the University of West Georgia. This will be the first-ever meeting between Hampton and Miles. Before you start saying “upset alert”, be advised that the Pirates are 30-23-3 all-time against schools currently in the SIAC, with most of those meetings coming before the Pirates moved up to Division I in 1995. Reginald Ruffin’s Bears are currently ranked No. 2 in Dr. Cavil’s Mid-Major poll.
Alabama State 42, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 7
Malcolm Cyrus rushed for 188 yards and a career-high three touchdowns in leading host Alabama State(3-1, 2-0) to a SWAC win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. “This was a great opportunity for our team to play on national television here in our stadium,” Head Coach Reggie Barlow said. “I thought the atmosphere was really good and our student body really came out and cheered us on and we were excited about that.”
Cyrus had a career-high 29 carries in rushing for the season-high yardage. It was the third consecutive week Cyrus has rushed for more yardage than the week before and he did it all in three quarters as the backups played the entire fourth quarter on both offense and defense. He now has rushed for 612 yards and four scores during the first four games.
“It was a collective team win for us, 2-0 in the SWAC,” Cyrus said. “The offensive line blocked real, real good and I can’t take all the credit. We have a good defensive line so we go up against the best every day. We came out with the “W” and that’s all that matters.”
The Hornets — ranked fourth in Dr. Cavil’s HBCU Major Division poll — rushed for over 300 yards for the second consecutive game, finishing with 317. A wide receiver happened to be the second leading rusher as Joshua Davis ran two reverses with the final one going 63 yards for a score. He finished with 67 yards rushing.