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BASN’S HBCU DESK, VOL. V
BASN’S HBCU DESK – VOL.V
By ANTHONY McCLEAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF EMERITUS
NEW HAVEN, CT (BASN): For the second straight year, the Atlanta Football Classic will be a MEAC border war that will have far reaching implications on the conference’s championship battle. Both North Carolina A&T (4-1) and South Carolina State (3-2) won their MEAC openers on the road last weekend. They’ll now meet Saturday at the Georgia Dome bringing their long-time rivalry to Dixie.
The Aggies spotted Howard a 7-0 lead, but then reeled off 21 unanswered points to take a 28-7 lead early in the second quarter en route to a 38-22 win over the Bison at Washington, D.C. Rod Broadway’s defensive squad is currently in the league’s top five while also leading the nation in interceptions with 11. As for the Bulldogs, they were able to outlast Hampton 17-10 last week in a defensive battle at Armstrong Stadium.
While defense has been a strong suit for both schools, they can more than hold their own when they have the ball as well. The league’s top-ranked offense, A&T played without All-MEAC running back Tarik Cohen last week. But it did nothing to stop the Aggies as freshman tailback Marquell Cartwright churned out 135 yards on 33 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns in the victory.
The Bulldogs — ranked sixth in the MEAC in total offense — would also showcase their dominant running game as well. Junior running back Jalen “Scoot” Simmons rushed for over 100 yards (129 yards on 17 carries) for the third straight week in the victory over the Pirates. With the win, Bulldog head coach Buddy Pough recorded his 100th career victory at S.C. State.
S.C. State leads the all-time series 31-19-2 including last year’s 29-24 victory in Atlanta. In fact, the Bulldogs have won 12 of the last 13 meetings against the Aggies, all under Coach Pough. The game, scheduled for a 3:30 pm ET start, will be shown live on ESPN3 and on a tape-delayed basis (10:30 pm ET) on ESPNU.
OTHER KEY GAMES
LIVINGSTONE COLLEGE at ELIZABETH CITY STATE
The only undefeated team (4-0, 1-0 CIAA) remaining in HBCU football will get another major test, this time on the road against the divisional rival Vikings (1-3, 0-1). While the Blue Bears outlasted Bowie State 36-33 at home last week, Elizabeth City was blasted on the road 35-7 at Winston-Salem State. The Blue Bears are 4-0 for the first time since 1985.
GRAMBLING STATE at ALABAMA A&M
After an 0-3 start, the Tigers (2-3, 2-0 SWAC) have won both of their conference games including a 26-20 victory over Prairie View A&M in the State Fair Classic last week. They’ll look to continue their modest winning streak when they travel to meet the Bulldogs (2-3, 1-1) in the Lewis Crews Classic at Huntsville, Ala. A&M scored a season-high 42 points in their win against Mississippi Valley State at Itta Bena last week.
FORT VALLEY STATE at TUSKEGEE
It’s first place in the East against first place in the West in an SIAC battle at Alabama. The Wildcats (3-1, 2-0) are riding a three-game winning streak following last week’s last gasp 33-30 win against Benedict College at Charlie Johnson Stadium. The Golden Tigers (2-2, 1-0) won their conference opener last week in their 44-3 rout of Lane College. TU leads the all-time series 31-20-2 including the Golden Tigers’ 21-13 victory last year.
DELAWARE STATE at BETHUNE-COOKMAN
It took a late defensive stop on a two-point conversion for the Wildcats (3-1) to hold off Division II Florida Tech 34-33 last week. They’ll need to regroup quickly against a Hornet squad (1-4) that won their MEAC opener 35-10 against winless Savannah State. Delaware State scored four touchdowns in the first quarter, including three in a 1:14 span, en route to the blowout win. DSU leads the all-time series 20-16, however Bethune-Cookman has won the last three meetings. Since 2000, the Wildcats have gone 38-13 in the month of October.
Alcorn State 33, Alabama State 7
Junior college transfer Darryan Ragsdale set a career-high 173 yards on the ground and scored two touchdowns to lead the host Braves to a win over SWAC East foe Alabama State at Spinks-Casem Stadium. Sophomore kicker Haiden McCraney put the Braves ahead early 3-0 by nailing a 47-yard field. After stopping the Hornets on their next drive, Ragsdale raced to the end zone from 40 yards out to give the Braves a 10-0 cushion lead.
Just before the end of the first quarter, the Braves struck again with a one-yard run by redshirt freshman running back Arron Baker to increase the lead to 17-0. The Braves defense shut the Hornets offense down in the first half by keeping them out of the end zone. After the half, the Braves continued to add on to their lead when McCraney made his second field goal of the night from 31 yards out to push the lead to 20-0. Alabama State finally got on the board on a one-yard run by Malcolm Cyrus making the score 20-7.
On the ensuing drive quarterback, John Gibbs, Jr. manuevered his way through the defense and blazed to the end zone for a 53-yard touchdown. The Braves were ahead 26-7 after Gibbs’ score. Ragsdale finished up the Hornets on a 31-yard rushing touchdown with 4:05 to go in the game. The Braves offense recorded 608 yards of total offense in the win despite tunring the ball over three times during the game. Gibbs completed 20-of-33 passes for 217 yards and also rushed for 106 yards on 13 carries and scored one touchdown.
Junior defensive back Warren Gatewood sparked the defense with five pass break-ups, two tackles and one tackle for a loss.
Miles College 23, Benedict College 13
Miles College rushed for 206 yards and gained 420 yards of offense to defeat the visiting Benedict College Tigers in the CBS Sports Network Division II Game of the Week. Benedict had just 34 yards of total offense in the first half, but played much better in the second half and finished with 269 yards of offense. Benedict fell to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the SIAC. Miles improved to 2-3 and 1-1 in the SIAC.
Quarterback Cameron Stover completed 28 of 46 passes for 262 yards and one touchdown, a 26-yard throw to Kendariss Brown early in the fourth quarter. Brown led the Benedict receivers with nine catches for 124 yards. Benedict’s only score in the first half came on a 73-yard return by Zeffery Clark Jr. after a blocked field goal by Christopher Crosby. Evan Pegues led the Benedict defense with 16 total tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss for -12 yards.
The Golden Bears scored on their first possession, going 77 yards on eight plays. The scoring play was a 37-yard pass from Demetric Price to Antonio Pitts. Benedict came up with a big defensive stop on the Golden Bears’ next series. Miles had a first-and-goal from the 8 and picked up seven yards on first down. The Tigers stuffed Miles for a two-yard loss on second down. After an incomplete pass, the Bears went for it on fourth down from the three, and LaMarcus Hudson and Kelvin McCollum stopped Jonathan Clark for a two-yard loss.
The Bears went 65 yards on nine plays for their next score, giving Miles a 14-0 lead. Price ran a quarterback keeper from the 1. The key play in the drive was a 16-yard pass on third-and-seven. Benedict cut the lead to 14-6 when Miles’ Nick Christiansen attempted a 50-yard field goal. Crosby blocked the kick, and Clark picked up the loose ball and raced 73 yards for the score. Tory Mimbs missed the extra point.
After a punt and a penalty, the Tigers took over on their next series from their own 1-yard line. On the first play, a high snap to Stover resulted in a safety, giving Miles a 16-6 lead. The Bears took the ensuing possession and went 52 yards on seven plays for another score, a two-yard run by Jamarcus Hill, to give Miles a 23-6 lead at the half. Hill led the Golden Bears with 125 yards rushing on 25 carries.
After Benedict cut the lead to 23-13 on Brown’s 26-yard touchdown catch with 14:46 left in the game, the Tigers threatened on their next possession, driving to the Miles 14-yard line. But the drive stalled there, and Mimbs attempted a 31-yard field goal, but never got the kick off because of a bad snap.