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QBs on center stage in key conference games

LUT WILLIAMS

BCSP Editor

After Tennessee State’s loss to FCS No. 1 Jacksonville State Saturday, preseason BCSP No. 1 Alcorn State ascends back to the top of the BCSP Top Ten. The Braves (2-1, 1-0 SWAC E) downed Mississippi Valley State 55-14 Saturday and have a date this Saturday against winless Concordia- Selma (0-3).

Bethune-Cookman, coming off a 56-53 win over Grambling State two weeks ago, could only muster one touchdown in a 7-3 win over Lane Saturday. Head coach Terry Sims said Tuesday on the MEAC Teleconference that costly penalties thwarted five penetrations into the Lane red zone.

The BCSP No. 2 Wildcats (2-1, 0-0 MEAC) will enter MEAC play Saturday with a home date (4 p.m.) vs. Savannah State (0-2, 0-0 MEAC). Savannah State, ineligible for the MEAC title because of below par APR scores, is a team that many coaches in the conference feel is on the rise.

The Jaguars of Southern (2-1, 2-0 SWAC W) are third in the BCSP Top Ten after a 50-31 win over Jackson State Saturday. Quarterback Austin Howard threw for 395 yards and one TD and ran for another two scores while 1,000-yard rusher Lenard Tillery ran for 138 yards and two scores in the win.

The Jags have the unenviable task of playing (12 noon) at Georgia of the SEC ranked seventh in the FBS AP Top 25 and sixth in the Coaches Poll. Georgia features running back Nick Chubb, a legit Heisman Trophy candidate, currently fourth in NCAA rushing stats at 156 yards per game. The Jags will have their hands full.

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BCSP No. 4 Grambling State (2-1, 2-0 SWAC W) came off its 56-53 loss to Bethune-Cookman and downed Alabama State 34-10 on Saturday behind four touchdown passes from QB Johnathan Williams. Williams has thrown seven TDs with five picks and is averaging 265.0 yards per game.

Prairie View A&M (2-1, 2-0 SWAC W) downed Alabama A&M 53-49 in a shootout Saturday and also got four TD passes from its quarterback, redshirt junior Trey Green. Green is averaging 267 passing yards per game (2nd in SWAC) with seven TDs and just one interception. The two rivals will meet in their traditional State Fair Classic game Saturday (4 p.m.) at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas with the SWAC West lead on the line. Expect a high-scoring affair. It’s also one of several games involving intriguing quarterback match-ups.

BCSP No. 8 Tuskegee (3-0, 0-0 SIAC W) got a big 28-13 home win over Winston-Salem State Saturday to remain undefeated and now faces its first SIAC West Division opponent when they play Saturday (2 p.m.) at dangerous Lane (1-2, 0-0 SIAC W).

Lane has squeaked by Concordia-Selma (17-14) and lost close games to Fort Valley State (50-38) and Bethune-Cookman (7-3). The Dragons feature quarterback Marcus Reynolds, a 6-1, 200-pound sophomore who currently leads the SIAC in rushing (109.3 ypg.). Reynolds ran for 239 yards and three TDs and passed for 105 yards and one score vs. FVSU. Lane led that game 38-36 in the fourth quarter before the Wildcats rallied for the win.

Hampton (2-1, 1-0 MEAC) moved into the Top Ten (at No. 10) after its win over Howard Saturday, and will face Norfolk State (0-3, 0-0 MEAC) in their annual Battle of the Bay Classic in Norfolk (4 p.m.). Both teams will enter the game with transfer quarterbacks at the helm.

New Hampton QB David Watford, a UVA transfer, is leading the MEAC in passing at 287.7 yards per game but has thrown league-highs of five interceptions and nine TD passes thru three games. Norfolk State is being led by new QB Greg Hankerson, a Florida Atlantic transfer who is third in the conference averaging 152.3 passing yards per game. Hankerson has thrown just one pick and three TDs while facing three FBS opponents.

In the CIAA, Bowie State (2-1, 0-0 CIAA N) vs. Livingstone (3-0, 0-0 CIAA S) will be a game to watch (6 p.m.) based on QB play. Bowie State QB Matthew Goggans has three 300-yard passing games and has already thrown for 1,038 yards. Goggans is averaging 346 passing yards per game, tops in the CIAA and ninth in Div. II. He has thrown nine TD passes, best in the conference.

Livingstone counters with record-setting left-handed slinger Drew Powell. Powell and the Blue Bears have just one game on their statistical ledger (a 49-0 win over Benedict) though they also have wins over Virginia-Lynchburg and Central International. Powell has completed 64.1% of his passes. Powell led CIAA passers last year at 224.1 yards per game and with 28 TD passes.

Tennessee State (2-1, 0-1 OVC) dropped to No. 5 after its loss Saturday to Jacksonville State and faces its third HBCU opponent this Saturday (4 p.m.) when it travels to Tallahassee, Florida to face winless Florida A&M (0-3, 0-1 MEAC). FAMU was shutout 36-0 by South Carolina State Thursday. BCSP No. 6 North Carolina A&T (2-1, 0-0 MEAC), a 14-7 winner over Elon Saturday, No. 7 South Carolina State (2-1, 1-0 MEAC) and No. 9 North Carolina Central (1-2, 0-0 MEAC), who fell 39-14 at Florida International, are off this week.

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