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BASN’S HBCU’S DESK WITH TEEMACK
BASN’s HBCU DESK
By Tony McClean, Editor – in – Chief, Emeritus
NEW HAVEN CT(BASN): While the 2014 black college football season officially began last weekend with Edward Waters’ 65-10 thrashing of the University of Faith, it’s safe to say that the first weekend’s slate of games will serve as the “real” opening week of what appears to be a very interesting campaign. Also last Thursday night, Howard opened their season on the road by getting shut out 41-0 by the Zips of Akron.
There were enough compelling games around the country to whet the appetite of any college football junkie who’s ready for the rubber to meet the road. An early pair of non-conference games in particular had gotten my attention and could be seen as eye-openers for the championship battle in the SWAC and MEAC races.
Down in Jackson State, the Harold Jackson era began. Taking over for Rick Comegy, the former Tiger and NFL wideout gets his first head coaching job. The Tigers (8-4 overall, 8-1 SWAC) have reached the SWAC Championship game for the last two seasons and are hoping that the third year will be a charm. They opened the season at home Saturday night against Earl Holmes and his Florida A&M Rattlers in the W.C. Gorden Classic at Memorial Stadium; and Coach Jackson’s prayer was answered as DeSean MacKenzie caught a Hail Mary pass from QB LaMontiez Ivy for a 22 -17 victory with 1.6 seconds on the clock.
Meanwhile last Sunday, North Carolina A&T (1-0) met Alabama A&M (0-1) in the 10th Annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge to be played at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando, Florida. The game, marked the first – ever meeting between the schools. The MEAC leads the overall series 7-2; and the conference kept the streak going as the Aggies routed Alabama A&M, 47 -13. Coach Rod Broadway continued his dominance over A&M (now 5-0) and last’s year’s MEAC Rookie of the Year Tank Cohen continued to do damage.
After a 3-0 start last year, Rod Broadway’s squad slumped during the middle part of their season and rallied to finish 7-4. While it gave the Aggies their first back-to-back winning season in over a decade, it left the players and coaches with a bitter taste of what might have been.
With 15 returning starters — including Cohen (league high 1,148 rushing yards last year) and All-MEAC linebacker D’Vonte Grant — the Aggies are a legitimate contender in this year’s MEAC campaign. The former head coach at Grambling State, Broadway was 31-5 in the SWAC during his tenure with the Tigers (4-0 against Alabama A&M).
As for the Bulldogs, James Spady takes over for Anthony Jones as head coach. Despite having the SWAC’s top defense last year, A&M struggled to a 4-8 campaign — their worst since 2010. A former assistant at Grambling State under Broadway, Spady inherited an offense that averaged just 16.4 points a game last year — ninth among the 10 teams in the league.
OTHER KEY WEEK ONE GAMES
HAMPTON (0-2) at OLD DOMINION (1-0)
Throwing for a school record 407 yards, QB Jaylian Williamson’s performance would not be enough as Old Dominion outscored the Pirates 41-28, spoiling new head man Cornell Maynor’s debut. After going 45-6 in four seasons at Winston-Salem State, Maynor will try to turnaround the fortunes of the Pirates with 11 starters returning from last year’s 4-8 team that struggled (1-6) on the road last season. Old Dominion now leads the all-time series between the two teams 4-0. Williamson was 32 – 45 with three touchdowns.
S.C. STATE (1-0) at BENEDICT COLLEGE (0-1)
Tabbed by league coaches to finish just behind Bethune-Cookman in the race for the MEAC crown, Buddy Pough’s squad opens the season against interstate rival Benedict College in the Palmetto Classic at Charles W. Johnson Stadium. The Bulldogs wasted no time in putting the boots to the Tigers, 52 -7.
TEXAS SOUTHERN (1-0) vs. PRAIRIE VIEW A&M (0-1) at HOUSTON (Sunday)
This year’s Labor Day Classic was no disappointment as QB Homer Causey led Texas Southern in a 37 -35 squeaker. Having the cloud of APR sanctions being lifted off the program could go a long way in seeing the improvement for the Tigers and head man Darrell Asberry. The shootout in Houston between Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M, has fans still buzzing from the opening act of this year’s HBCU campaign. Needless to say, the Labor Day weekend has left most of us wanting more.
Once again, this week’s action got started on Thursday night with a slate of games around the country including the aforementioned Tigers of Texas Southern (2-0). Fresh off their 37-35 victory over the Panthers, Coach Asberry’s squad faced Texas College (7pm CT start) in TSU’s home opener at BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown Houston; and took no prisoners in a 52 -14 shellacking. QB Jamal Small continued his hot hand with three TD passes in an efficient 6-9 146 yards performance.
Cheyney State and Lincoln University (PA) renewed hostilities as the long – standing rivalry known as the “Battle of the Firsts” Classic was played at Lincoln’s home turf. The Lions’ TD combo of QB Doug Cook (222 yards passing) to WR Akeem Jordan 6 catches, 156 yards and 3 scores) made the difference in a 30 -18 victory over the Wolves, whose defense had kept them within striking distance until late in the game. A sold out crowd at Lincoln University went home happy as Lion fans celebrated their first win at the new stadium.
Here are the key games on Saturday’s Week Two slate:
ALABAMA A&M at TUSKEGEE:
A five yard TD pass from QB Deaunte Wilson to WR Dontauriu Smith culminated a 10 play, 94 yard drive as The Bulldogs (1-1) bounced back from last week’s 47 – 13 loss in last week’s MEAC – SWAC Challenge with a 7 – 6 victory. Facing a Golden Tigers’ squad (0-1, 8-3 last year) that was ranked in several pre-season Division II polls, Tuskegee finished last season with the number one defense throughout Division II, which flexed and held up well today, but couldn’t push enough points across the goal line.
TENNESSEE STATE (1-1) at ALABAMA STATE (1-1)
The Tigers were impressive on both sides of the line in their 58-6 win over Edward Waters College in the 16th annual John Merritt Classic. In Montgomery today, TSU got rolling late, but their mistakes and time caught up with them as the Hornets put the sting on TSU in a 27-21 thriller. QB Mike German passed for 340 yards and broke the school record on attempts as went 26 for 61 with two touchdowns – but three picks.
After an opening – season 51-20 loss to Sam Houston State, ASU evened things up with a strong defensive surge on TSU’s last drive.
ELIZABETH CITY STATE (0-1) at N.C. CENTRAL(1-1)
Senior tailback Andre Clarke cashed in on three TDs and 82 yards on the ground to lead the Eagles to a 34 – 7 Bull City Party at the expense of Elizabeth City. A fired up Eagle D forced five QB sacks and kept the Vikings in check as they produced less than 200 yards of total offense.
UNC – PEMBROKE (0-1) at WINSTON-SALEM STATE (1-0)
The Rams were aggressive early and often, dropping three scores on Pembroke’s Braves before they could catch their breath in a convincing 31-7 victory. Wideout Marcel Caver snagged nine balls for 164 yards and a TD bomb courtesy of QB Rudy Johnson. Head Coach Kienus Boulware was successful in his first Ram effort.
COASTAL CAROLINA (2-0) at NORTH CAROLINA A&T (1-1)
Off a great win over Alabama A&M, the Aggies had upset on their minds, and QB Kwashaun Quick’s lack of quick thinking cost A&T as the Chanticleers escaped with a 31-30 victory. After a brilliant 29 yard scoring run which would give the Aggies a 30-24 lead with a little over seven minutes in the game, Quick’s helmet came off, which made him ineligible for the next play. As holder on placekicks, this would be come back to bite the home team in the butt. A subsequent low snap led to a miss as Quick was forced to sit on the sidelines.
Quick’s three TDs notwithstanding, A&T showed signs they may be a major pain for any opposition this year with a strong showing against highly-ranked Coastal Carolina.
ALBANY STATE (0-1) at VALDOSTA STATE (1-0)
The Blazers feasted on four fumbles and a pick as Valdosta served up the Golden Rams, 38 -10.
ALCORN STATE (1-1) AT SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (1-1)
Special teams made the difference as PK Corey Acosta’s four field goals (the longest from 50) nullified 295 yards of real estate as Southern Miss picked off a late pass from QB John Gibbs, who accounted for over 300 yards of total offense.
PAINE COLLEGE (0-1) at SHORTER (1-0)
In Georgia, Paine College’s Lions returned after a 52 year hiatus. After falling behind early a spirited comeback fell short. The Hawks led 21 – 10 at the half before the Lions aborted effort – an interception of QB Lorenzo Hammonds in the waning moments.