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BASN’S HBCU DESK, VOL.IV
BASN’S HBCU DESK, VOL. IV
By Anthony McClean, Editor – in – Chief Emeritus
NEW HAVEN, CT (BASN): Now that conference play will begin for all four HBCU football conferences this weekend, we’ll get an early chance to separate the contenders from the pretenders. While some have used their non-conference schedule to gain some early momentum, other schools are looking forward to conference play and using it as a gauge of just how good they really are.
Two games in particular that we’re focusing on this weekend fall under those categories. In the SWAC, the top two teams in the Eastern and Western Division will meet Saturday night in Montgomery, Alabama. The Hornets of Alabama State (3-1/2-0 SWAC) enter the game leading the East Division while Texas Southern (4-0/2-0 SWAC) makes its way to the new ASU Stadium as the leaders in the West Division and the SWAC’s lone unbeaten team.
After back-to-back 2-9 seasons — which also included dealing with APR issues within the athletic department — head coach Darryl Asberry and the Tigers have turned things around on and off the field and are off to their first 4-0 start since 2000. ASU is seeking a 3-0 conference start for the fourth time during head coach Reggie Barlow’s tenure.
The game is also the inaugural Prince Hall Mason’s Americanism Football Classic and can be seen live on HornetVision at bamastatesports.com.
In the CIAA, undefeated Livingstone College (3-0) will host the winless Bulldogs of Bowie State (0-3) in the league opener for both schools. The Blue Bears — 3-0 for the first time since 1994 — have already matched last year’s win total (3-7 overall) and are seeking their first 4-0 start since 1985. The Bulldogs, who”ll be playing their third straight road game, will be looking to bounce back from a 37-34 loss at Concord University last Saturday.
Senior quarterback Trevon Bennett had a career-best 349 passing yards and a team-high 55 rushing yards in BSU’s loss.
OTHER KEY GAMES
S.C. STATE at HAMPTON
Both teams are coming off big home opening wins heading into their respective MEAC openers. The Bulldogs (2-2) defeated nationally-ranked Furman 17-7 while the Pirates (1-3) got their first win of the season by outlasting Miles College of the SIAC 34-30. Tabbed as favorites to win the conference, Buddy Pough’s squad rushed for 232 yards last week, and have owned the Pirates over the last six meetings between the two teams.
JACKSON STATE at ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF
Two teams still seeking their first SWAC wins will meet in at Golden Lion Stadium Saturday night. After opening with a pair of stirring wins, Harold Jackson’s Tigers have dropped two straight including last week’s 40-35 slugfest at home against previously winless Grambling State. Meanwhile, the Golden Lions will try to regroup from a 42-7 loss at the hands of Alabama State last Thursday. JSU leads the all-time series 6-5 including a 42-33 victory at Mississippi last October.
ELIZABETH CITY STATE at WINSTON-SALEM STATE
Since losing to Shaw 31-27 back in October of 2010, WSSU (2-1) has won 28 straight games against HBCU competition including last week’s 24-13 against Tuskegee. They’ll look to extend that streak Saturday in their CIAA opener against the Vikings (1-2) at Bowman Gray Stadium. ECSU was shocked at home last week as they fell to Benedict College in the 17th Annual Down East Viking Football Classic. The Tigers converted a fourth and goal from the 8-yard line with four seconds remaining to pull out the 20-19 victory.
FLORIDA A&M at TENNESSEE STATE
An interesting non-conference battle is set to play out Saturday night at LP Field. The Tigers (3-1) have thrived so far this season despite not having scored an offensive touchdown in their 66:46 of game time. TSU outlasted Tennessee Tech last week as they used an Ronny Vinson interception for their only TD of the game. Rod Reed’s defense defense has forced at least one turnover in seven straight contests dating back to last year. It’s been a frustrating season for the winless Rattlers (0-3). Since losing 21-17 on a last second Hail Mary in their opener at Jackson State, FAMU has been outscored 89-10 in their last two games.