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Danger awaits new No. 1 Tenn. State

LUT WILLIAMS

BCSP Editor

Alcorn State (1-1, 1-0 SWAC) started the 2015 season as the No. 1 team in the Black College Sports Page Top Ten. But the Braves ran into ACC and national power Georgia Tech to open the season and took a 69-6 whipping.

After a win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, South Carolina State (1-1, 0-0 MEAC) then moved into the top BCSP spot last week. But the Bulldogs ran into budding FCS power Coastal Carolina and absorbed a 41-14 beating Saturday. And after posting wins over Alabama State (24-14) and Jackson State (35-25), young but undefeated Tennessee State (2-0, 0-0 OVC) becomes the third team in the young season to ascend to No. 1 in the BCSP Top Ten.

Rod Reed’s Blue Tigers take the spot just in time to take on OVC favorite and FCS nationally-ranked Jacksonville State Saturday (1 p.m.). All the Gamecocks (1-1, 0-0 OVC) did Saturday was take FBS No. 6 and SEC power Auburn to overtime before falling 27-20. JSU was the first FCS team to take an FBS team to overtime. Jacksonville State is now No. 1 in the FCS STATS Top 25 national poll.

JSU was led in Saturday’s game vs. Auburn by redshirt junior wideout Josh Barge who hauled in 14 passes for 132 yards. Senior running back Troymaine Pope has run for 268 yards in two games. Redshirt junior QB Eli Jenkins threw for 277 yards (26-43-1) and a TD vs. Auburn. The JSU defense had three takeaways, two interceptions and one fumble. Tennessee State is led by redshirt freshman quarterback O’Shay Ackerman-Carter (6-3, 215) who threw for 250 yards (15-25-0) and three TDs vs. Jackson State. Redshirt sophomore wideout Patrick Smith (6-0, 190) has nine receptions for 171 yards and two TDs through two games. Smith caught a 64-yard scoring toss last week. Tennessee State will indeed have its hands full with the Gamecocks.

Bethune-Cookman (1-1, 0-0 MEAC), fresh off a scintillating and high-scoring 56-53 win over No. 7 Grambling State Saturday, moved up from eighth to second with the win. The Wildcats will get somewhat of a break this week as they host 1-1 Lane of the SIAC (4 p.m.). Alcorn State (1-1, 1-0 SWAC E), got on the winning track with a 31-14 win over Alabama State Saturday, and is up to third. The Braves are hosting lowly Mississippi Valley State (0-2, 0-1 SWAC E) in a SWAC East Division game (4 p.m.).

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Southern (1-1, 1-0 SWAC W) got its first win Thursday over MVSU (50-13) and is now fourth. The Jaguars host Jackson State (0-2, 0-0 SWAC E) Saturday (5 p.m.) in a classic SWAC showdown. After its close loss to B-CU, Grambling (0-2, 0-0 SWAC W) is fifth and has its first SWAC date at Alabama State Saturday (6 p.m.).

North Carolina A&T, who absorbed its FBS beatdown vs. UNC Saturday (53-14), is down from second to sixth. The Aggies look to get back on the winning track at Elon (6 p.m.). South Carolina State (1-1, 0-0 MEAC) falls to seventh and plays at home Thursday (7:30 p.m.) on ESPNU vs. winless Florida A&M (0-2, 0-0 MEAC). After a 55-0 drubbing at Duke, North Carolina Central (1-1, 0-0 MEAC) is eighth and travels down to Miami (6 p.m.) to battle another FBS program at Florida International (1-1).

Tuskegee got a big 27-14 win over SIAC rival Albany State to move up to ninth in the BCSP Top Ten. The Golden Tigers (2-0) host (1 p.m.) former CIAA power Winston-Salem State (0-2) who is looking for its first win. Virginia Union moved into the tenth spot after its big 42-7 win over Saint Augustine’s. The Panthers arrive in the Top Ten just in time for a tough date at FCS Big South member Gardner-Webb (1-1) Saturday (6 p.m.). GWU lost to Elon, A&T’s opponent this week, 21-13 in three OTs Saturday. Other SWAC games will see Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-1, 0-1 SWAC W) hosting (6 p.m.) winless Texas Southern (0-2, 0-1 SWAC W) and Alabama A&M (0-1, 0-0 SWAC E) at Prairie View A&M (1-1, 1-0 SWAC W) at 6 p.m.

In other MEAC games, Hampton (1-1, 0-0 MEAC) travels to Washington, D. C.’s RFK Stadium to take on Howard (0-2, 0-0 MEAC) in a rare Friday night (7:30 p.m.) affair. The game, billed as the AT&T National Football Classic, is the first conference game for each school. Delaware State (0-2, 0-0 MEAC) looks for its first win vs. Chowan (1-1, 0-0 CIAA N) of the CIAA (2 p.m.). Norfolk State (0-2, 0-0 MEAC) has its third tough date playing (3:30 p.m.) at Marshall (1-1). And after two tough outings, Morgan State (0-2, 0-0 MEAC) gets a break hosting Virginia-Lynchburg (4 p.m.).

In addition to the Tuskegee/WSSU matchup, Virginia State (1-1, 0-0 CIAA N) hosts Kentucky State (0-2, 0-0 SIAC W) and Morehouse (1-1, 0-0 SIAC E) hosts Johnson C. Smith (1-1, 0-0 CIAA S) in other CIAA vs. SIAC games. In SIAC games, Albany State (0-2, 0-0 SIAC E) hosts Stillman (1-1, 0-0 SIAC W), Benedict (0-2, 0-0 SIAC E) hosts Central State (1-1, 0-0 SIAC W) and Clark Atlanta (0-2, 0-0 SIAC E) hosts Fort Valley State (1-1, 0-0 SIAC E). In CIAA games, St. Augustine’s (0-2, 0-0 CIAA W) hosts (1 p.m.) undefeated Elizabeth City State (2-0, 0-0 CIAA E).

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