Your BASN guide to HBCU football: Week Two

Updated: September 10, 2016

By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus

NEW HAVEN (BASN) — While this week’s schedule features more “money games”, there are a handful of league games that can give us an early gauge on the contenders or pretenders.
Take the SIAC for example. The football rivalry between Tuskegee and Albany State has become a conference staple since their first meeting dating back to 1970.
They’ll battle each other again Saturday night at 5 p.m. ET in the 3rd Annual White Water at Garrett Harrison Stadium in Phenix City, Alabama. The Golden Tigers (1-0) have gone 8-1 against the Golden Rams (0-1) since 2006.
This includes last year’s 27-14 victory over ASU. Tuskegee leads the all-time series 23-19-1. They opened the season with a convincing 36-13 road win against Clark Atlanta.
Paced by quarterback Kevin Lacey’s 179 passing yards, Willie Slater’s squad churned out 405 yards of total offense against the Panthers. Defensively, junior linebacker Osband Thompson had 16 tackles (eight solo, eight assisted), including three for losses and a forced fumble.
Thompson was tabbed by the SIAC and several other national organizations as their defensive player of the week. The Golden Tigers also jumped two steps in the latest AFCA and D2Football polls following the win.
As for the Golden Rams, they kept Valdosta State off balance for much of the first 35 minutes, outscoring the Blazers 7-0 until VSU was able to rattle off 16 unanswered points for the win.
The Blazers held ASU tailback Jarvis Small to 19 yards on seven carries.
Also in another key SIAC contest, Morehouse College will be seeking their first 2-0 start since 2010 when they play Kentucky State in the Maroon Tigers’ home opener at 2 p.m. ET.
A 24-yard scoring run by senior quarterback Monqavius Johnson on the final play of the game gave Morehouse a 19-13 win against Edward Waters College in a rain-soaked contest.
Remnants of tropical storm Hermine drenched the field and lightning halted the game in the first quarter. Though play resumed, after nearly an hour, the rain continued to pour until the fourth quarter. 
The teams combined for 34 penalties for over 300 total yards. The Maroon Tigers forced and recovered four EWC fumbles, while losing only one of their own.
The Thoroughbreds (0-1) will be playing on the road for the second straight week. They dropped their season opener to  Charleston Southern University 57-­7.
The Buccaneers only allowed 147 yards of total offense and gained 527 yards of offense.
football_photo-e1436545102612TRIVIA QUESTION
Before Walter Payton in 1977, who was the last HBCU player to lead the NFL in rushing yards?
The top two teams picked from the SWAC East Division in the preseason poll will square off Saturday when the Braves host the Hornets at Jack Spinks-Marino Casem Stadium. The game will not only be the conference opener for both teams, but it will also be the official season opener for the Braves (0-0) who saw their scheduled opener result in no contest. The Hornets (0-1) dropped a hard-fought 26-13 result at Texas-San Antonio in their first game. ASU led 7-6 after 23 minutes before UTSA came back to score the next 20 points. The game can be seen live on ESPN3.
In last week’s opener, the Trojans easily outscored Lenoir-Rhyne University 34-9 with key weapons on both sides of the ball.  VSU senior quarterback Tarian Ayres completed 17-of-24 passing attempts for 201 yards and one touchdown. The Pioneers are coming off a 13-10 double-overtime setback to the University of Virginia-Wise. Tusculum’s defense played a solid game, limiting their opponent to just over 200 yards. Saturday marks the second meeting between the Trojans and the Pioneers. In 2015, VSU slid past TC 40-13 at Pioneer Field.
The Aggies will play just their fourth FBS opponent in school history when they travel to Kent, Ohio to face the Golden Flashes. Kent has won 13 straight games over FCS opponents while the Aggies have lost their previous three games against FBS foes by an average score 39.7 points. The Aggies are coming off a 62-0 blowout of Division II St. Augustine’s while the Flashes competed with legendary program Penn State for a half before the Nittany Lions pulled away. The consensus No. 1 team in HBCU football, the Aggies are ranked 23rd in the nation in the FCS STATS Media Poll, while they are No. 24 in the NCAA FCS Coaches’ Poll. The game can be seen live on ESPN3.
After breaking their 43-game losing streak last week, the Wolves look to make it two straight as they host the Vulcans. Picked third in the Preseason Poll, the Vulcans look to give first-year head coach Gary Dunn his first collegiate victory. They are also receiving votes in the AFCA Top 25 Poll. It’s the season opener for California.
southern heritageCLASSIC SPOTLIGHT
For the second straight week, Tennessee State will be hosting another classic. After last week’s 44-0 shutout of Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the John Merritt Classic, TSU will meet Jackson State in the 27th Annual Southern Heritage Classic at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
The Tigers were one of five FCS teams to shutout its opponent.
TSU blanked its first opponent since a 31-0 victory over Butler in the first round of the 2013 FCS Playoffs. It was their first regular-season shutout since 2006 (31-0, Southeast Missouri).
Jackson State opened their first season under Tony Hughes by dropping a 63-13 contest at FBS foe UNLV. TSU has won 11 of the last SHC contests including four straight.
The game can be seen on Fox Sports South on a tape delayed basis at 10:00 p.m. CT.
One other classic this weekend will take place in Chicago. The Marauders of Central State University will play the Panthers of Clark Atlanta University in the 19th Annual Chicago Football Classic at historic Soldier Field.
This year’s classic will mark the fourth time Central State has participated in the event while Clark Atlanta will appear for the first time in school history.The Marauders (0-1) have beaten Clark Atlanta (0-1) in the only two meetings in school history with the latest win coming in a 49-12 result last season.
Both teams are coming off losses in the opening week of the season. Central State fell to an FBS program in Dayton, 31-19 while Clark Atlanta lost to SIAC foe Tuskegee, 36-13.
In 1968, Cleveland’s Leroy Kelly (a product of Morgan State) led the NFL in rushing with 1,239 yards. The Hall of Famer had led the league in rushing the previous season as well with 1,205 yards.
Anthony McClean can be reached via email at

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