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HBCU Game Time

HBCU Football: Week 2 News and Notes

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Thank you for joining me as a write HBCU Game Time, powered by BOX TO ROW for JET!  As host of the national sports talk radio show “From the Press Box to Press Row,” I cover all sports, with an emphasis on our Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The first two weeks of HBCU football have been intriguing

Whereas in week one the top six teams in the BOXTOROW coaches poll all won games, last week, four of the top six teams lost games.

The MEAC, SWAC and Tennessee State opened play two weeks ago while the CIAA, SIAC and the rest of Division II opened this past week. Of the 39 total games played this past week, 18 were won by HBCUs. And of those 18 wins only four came against non-HBCU competition. In other words Livingstone, Southern, Virginia Union and West Virginia State were the only teams that won games against non-HBCUs.

Similarly in the opening week, there were only two such games won. However, one of the wins was Bethune-Cookman’s win over FBS opponent Florida International 14-12 on the road. It was the second-straight year that the Wildcats defeated FIU.

The Best Winless Team
The best 0-2 team in HBCU football and perhaps all of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) is Morgan State. The Bears lost a heartbreaker to FBS opponent Eastern Michigan 31-28. MSU led 28-21 with 5:30 remaining in the third quarter, but a pair of Eastern Michigan touchdowns late in the third and early in the fourth quarters gave Eastern Michigan the 31-28 lead.

The Bears had one last opportunity late, but Chris Moller’s 60-yard field goal attempt was wide right as time expired.

With two seconds remaining against Holy Cross and the Bears leading 26-23 on Saturday, Shane Taylor’s one-yard touchdown run as time expired lifted Holy Cross to a 29-26 victory.

Despite the two tough losses, the once proud program may be taking a turn in Lee Hull’s first year at the helm.

BOXTOROW National Game of the Week
No. 2/2 Jackson State (2-0) and No. No. 6/7 Tennessee State (1-1) will meet in the annual Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis on Saturday. The teams have split the last six meetings although TSU has won the last two.

Tennessee State looked like the best team in HBCU football coming into the season ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll. After shellacking Edward Waters 58-6 in its opening game of the season, the Tigers slipped up against Alabama State falling 27-21. Meanwhile, Jackson State is off to a 2-0 start with a last second win on a Hail Mary touchdown pass against Florida A&M in week one and a resounding 59-0 victory over Virginia University of Lynchburg on Saturday.

The TSU Tigers whose defense is considered one of the best coming into the season was susceptible to Alabama State’s run and pass game. TSU gave up 444 yards of offense, 255 on the ground and 170 of those coming from Malcolm Cyrus. Jackson State will look to run the football with Rakeem Sims (165 yards rushing, 6.3 yards per carry, two touchdowns) leading the way. ASU quarterback Daniel Duhart gave TSU fits with his legs and his arm. JSU quarterback LaMontiez Ivy is not necessarily a threat to run the ball however, but in two games he has completed 64 percent of his passes for 515 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

TSU is the more talented team; the key for Jackson State is how prepared will they be for this game, coming off a win over a much lesser opponent (VUL) and with a younger team having to play an experienced TSU team. The same thing happened to TSU having played Edward Waters then having to face a talented Alabama State team on Saturday.

If JSU can take away Tennessee State’s ground game and force quarterback Michael German (completed just 26 of 61 passes for 340 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions against Alabama State) to beat them, they stand a better chance. JSU will also need very good performances from linebackers Javancy Jones and Ariance McCree.

About Donal Ware

Donal Ware, HBCU GameTime

Donal Ware is the authority on HBCU football.  Listen to Box to Row on Fridays 1p ET/10a PT on SiriusXM Channel 141 and Saturdays 12p/9a PT on SiriusXM Channel 142. You can follow Donal Ware on Twitter @dware1 and @boxtorow and Facebook /box2row. Please share your thoughts at digitalpitches@ebony.com.