Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The implied competition between Florida State University and Florida A&M University is inevitable based on their location, less than one mile apart in Tallahassee. In football, the FBC FSU Seminoles are now trying to keep pace with the FCS FAMU Rattlers at the NFL level as it relates to the quarterback position. Both schools have one signal caller in the NFL, but FAMU’s quarterback Quinn Gray, Jacksonville Jaguars is the only one to have started a game, leading his team to victory over Tampa Bay last Sunday 24-23. Quinn is 28 years old in his fourth year with the Jaguars and this was his first start as an NFL quarterback. Brad Johnson, who is 39 years old played for the Seminoles in 1988-91 and is currently a backup on the Dallas Cowboys in his 16th NFL season. The big question that everyone wants to know is what has FSU been doing with all those blue chip high school All-Americans since 1991?...
Photo: Former MEAC and current Jaguar QB Quinn Gray appeared in NFL Europe in 2003 and led the Frankfurt Galaxy to the World Bowl Championship.
Talking about losing streaks, a few are totally baffling in our view. North Carolina A&T Aggies now has the fourth longest streak in NCAA Football Championship Subdivision history at 25 straight losses. They are playing at Florida A&M’s homecoming this Saturday at 3:00 p.m. This would not be a good time for the Aggies to end their streak as the Rattlers are battling their own problems with a four game losing streak. This makes for a very interesting subplot to the FAMU vs. NCA&T game this weekend, as someone’s streak will end. Who will it be--Aggies or Rattlers?...
Don’t laugh at the MEAC as the SWAC has its own losing streaks. Steve Wilson’s Texas Southern University Tiger squad losing streak has hit 11 consecutive games. The Tigers are 0-8 this season and are scheduled to face the Southern Jaguars this Saturday at home in Reliant Stadium. Wilson may be headed in the wrong direction, as he holds the distinction of having a combined 4-37 record at TSU. This season, he has served as his own offensive coordinator, but his Tigers record is worst than last year's record as shown below:
• 2004 0-11
• 2005 1-10
• 2006 3-8
• 2007 0-8
The Tigers are nowhere near to being a decent team and will have to improve play significantly to beat Southern, Arkansas-Pine Bluff or the University of Houston that are remaining on their schedule for 2007...
Jackson State University all-star basketball player Trey Johnson was cut this week by the New Orleans Hornets. Based on published reports and comments by Coach Byron Scott, Trey played well, had a basketball IQ off the charts and can play at this level. You may recall that Johnson averaged 29.1 at JSU and led the Tigers to the SWAC championship and into the NCAA tournament last season. Coach Scott was quoted in the Times-Picayune, "he knows everything we’re doing already; he knows the plays better than some of the guys who have been here a couple of years which is scary, and that’s the truth.” Johnson averaged 13.8 minutes in five exhibition games, shot 40% for 4 points with 1.8 assists per game. No reason was given for the cut other than the Hornets wants to keep a roster spot vacant in case someone gets injured on their 14 man squad. All NBA teams can carry up to 15 players and the Hornets are carrying 14 guaranteed contracts already on the roster. Johnson and his agent are now evaluating other opportunities to play overseas or in the NBA developmental league...
What’s wrong with the leadership at Morgan State University? Donald-Hill-Eley is in the final year of his contract and negotiations have stalled over the university’s offer of a one-year contract extension. Hill-Eley has nearly completed six years in rebuilding the Bears football program to total respectability. Morgan State earned their first victory in 13 years against Florida A&M University this past Saturday for a life-time record against the Rattlers of 4-18. Without a long term contract, Hill-Eley will be placed in an impossible position for recruiting outstanding student-athletes to the Morgan program. He has had three winning seasons and has increased the graduation rate of his players to 61 percent. The 38 year old head coach holds a Master’s degree in Counseling which has become very useful in working with students coming from non-traditional backgrounds. We know people come and go all the time, but Hill-Eley brings a special quality of leadership to the Baltimore community and to the university. It is about more than wins and losses, which are important but not the sole measure of a good coach...
Tennessee State University starting quarterback Antonio Heffner right ankle injury was worst than expected. When surgeons opened up his ankle last Friday, they discovered two fractures on two different bones, which required installing screws and a plate. Coach James Webster indicated that Heffner is expected to be fully recovered for the 2008 season, but will be unavailable for spring practice as more time in needed for proper healing and recovery. Heffner was having an outstanding season before the injury happened in the Eastern Kentucky game. He was the Ohio Valley Conference leading passer completing 96 of 171 passes for 1486 yards and 10 touchdowns...
Photo: TSU junior quarter back Antonio Heffner surgery is completed and he is in recovery for the 2008.
The 2007 Magic City Classic which features Alabama A&M University Bulldogs and Alabama State University Hornets in their annual battle for state SWAC supremacy has moved up the economic ladder with 68,593 in attendance. The Birmingham classic out performed the 2007 Atlanta Football Classic by 11,603 fans, which had 56,990 in attendance to see Tennessee State University (OVC) and FAMU (MEAC) in their annual neutral site battle. Only the Bayou Classic featuring Grambling State and Southern University and the Florida Classic, featuring FAMU and Bethune Cookman are in a position to surpass this attendance number on the HBCU circuit for this season...
The Volusia County medical examiner’s office has released the medical report regarding the death of 20 year old Avery Atkins who died on July 5, 2007. Atkins was a former football player at Bethune Cookman University, transferring to the Wildcats from the University of Florida Gators. The medical examiner’s report rules his death as accidental after ingesting too much of the drug Ecstasy. Port Orange police Lt. Frank Surmaczewicz said Friday that Atkins’ death has been ruled accidental and that his department has closed the case. “This was definitely not a suicide, but a drug overdose.” he said. The findings also showed that Atkins inhaled some carbon monoxide but not enough to kill him. He was found dead in a car inside his aunt’s garage around 8:30 a.m. on July 5. Atkins played only three games for Bethune Cookman University before dropping out of school and attempting to return to the University of Florida program. Atkins won the Orlando Sentinel's 2004 Central Florida Defensive Player of the Year Award and signed with UF Coach Urban Meyer as a cornerstone of Meyer's first recruiting class...
The MEAC leading rusher, senior Chad Simpson, Morgan State University broke the one thousand yard barrier by rushing for 69 yards and one touchdown last Saturday against Florida A&M. In nine games, Simpson has rushed for 1056 yards on 216 attempts for 11 touchdown, with a 117.3 yards per game average. His longest run from scrimmage was 56 yards. Simpson averages 4.9 yards per carry and is second in the conference in all purpose yards averaging 152.7 yards per game. He trails only FAMU's fabulous freshman running back Philip Sylvester who leads the MEAC with 170.8 yards per game in all purpose yards...
Photo above: Chad Simpson breaks one against Hampton University.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
For the Lady Rattlers, Jovana Blazeski and Iva Lakic led the way, tallying 27 and 26 kills, respectively. Five players recorded double-digit digs, led by Susan Egoavil with 28 and Zaira Manzo with 21. Manzo also dished out a match-high 65 assists to notch a double-double for FAMU. The Bears did have a good night at the net out-blocking the Lady Rattlers 18-6.
The Bears dominated early on in the first game of the match, taking a 10-3 lead over the Lady Rattlers, who were able to close within three to trail 14-11. Mercer then scored four consecutive points and extended it to a 10 point lead. FAMU freshman Jovana Blazeski took over when the score reached 27-17 and the Lady Rattlers went on a four point run. Several kills by Mercer's Drennan Dexheimer and an error by Blazeski provided the gift Mercer needed to win the first match 30-22.
The Lady Rattlers quickly re-focused and battled Mercer in game two with 24 ties, 10 lead changes and did enough to win the match 34-32.
FAMU jumped all over the Bears in game three taking a 15-5 lead, but let up on Mercer who climbed back into the contest with a 4-0 run, and 8-1 run to narrow the Lady Rattlers score to 29-28. A kill was converted by Lakic to take the win for FAMU 30-28 in the third set.
The Lady Rattlers played poorly in the fourth set, allowing Mercer to take a 12-9 lead, and after two runs by the Bears of 8-1 and 8-2, FAMU fell 22-30.
The Lady Rattlers took an early 6-2 lead in the final game and three straight kills by FAMU the lead. FAMU cruised to a 15-9 win giving the Lady Ratters the 3-2 victory for the contest.
“It wasn’t for lack of effort because we out-blocked and out-aced our opponent, but we were not disciplined enough to finished games every opportunity we had,” said Mercer Volleyball head coach Noelle Hughes. “It was a close, hard-fought match and we proved to ourselves once again that we can play with the best of them.”
The Lady Rattlers stars were: Cinthya Corzo, Maria Gomez,Zaira Manzo, Hannah Huckelmann,Jovana Blazeski, Iva Lakic, Susan Egoavil and Coach "Tony" Tanio Trifonov.
Photo: The Lady Rattlers celebrate their 96 match winning streak in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference over SCSU on Oct 19th.
FAMU next match is on the road at Austin, Texas facing the University of Texas at 6:00 p.m. ET. The Lady Rattlers next home contest is November 6, 2007, 6:00 p.m. in Tallahassee Gaither Gymnasium against the University of North Florida.
Volleyball Box Score
Florida A&M vs Mercer (Oct 30, 2007 at Macon, Ga.)
Florida A&M ATTACK SET SERVE SRVDEF BLOCK GEN
## Name GP K E TA PCT A SA SE REDIGBS BA BEBHE
5 CORZO,Cinthya....... 5 4 0 13 .308 3 2 0 1 11 0 1 0 0
9 GOMEZ,Maria......... 5 11 6 22 .227 1 0 2 0 4 1 1 0 0
10 MANZO,Zaira......... 5 4 2 8 .250 65 0 1 0 21 0 4 0 4
12 UCKELMANN,Hannah.... 5 8 4 22 .182 0 0 0 0 4 0 4 0 0
15 BLAZESKI,Jovana..... 5 27 20 82 .085 1 1 1 0 20 0 0 1 0
16 LAKIC,Iva........... 5 26 12 72 .194 3 1 0 2 11 0 0 0 0
7 EGOAVIL,Susan....... 5 1 0 1 1.000 1 2 0 4 28 0 0 0 0
Totals.............. 5 81 44 220 .168 74 6 4 8 99 1 10 1 4
TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 6.0
Game K E TA Pct
1 16 11 50 .100 GAME SCORES 1 2 3 4 5 TEAM RECORDS
2 22 9 59 .220 Florida A&M......... (3) 22 34 30 22 15 12-5
3 19 9 45 .222 Mercer.............. (2) 30 32 28 30 9 8-17
4 14 13 47 .021
5 10 2 19 .421
Mercer ATTACK SET SERVE SRVDEF BLOCK GEN
## Name GP K E TA PCT A SA SE REDIGBS BA BEBHE
2 HANSCH, Libby....... 2 0 1 11 -.091 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0
4 DARTY, Julie........ 5 16 6 41 .244 2 1 0 0 1 0 6 0 2
5 DORRIS, Karen....... 5 23 4 62 .306 3 1 1 2 8 0 3 1 0
8 JANSEN, Kelly....... 5 4 1 8 .375 55 1 1 0 11 0 6 0 7
11 DARTY, Jen.......... 5 11 2 29 .310 0 2 1 0 5 2 9 1 0
12 DEXHEIMER, Drennan.. 5 9 2 32 .219 1 1 1 0 10 0 0 0 0
3 VRVILO, Erica....... 2 1 2 8 -.125 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
7 TUCKER, Claire...... 5 0 1 1-1.000 1 0 1 1 25 0 0 0 0
9 GEBBEN, Chelsea..... 5 0 0 1 .000 2 1 2 2 8 0 0 0 0
14 DAVIS, Allison...... 5 0 0 0 .000 0 1 0 1 8 0 0 0 0
16 HURLEY, Krista...... 3 3 0 6 .500 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0
17 THOMAS, Autumn...... 1 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Totals.............. 5 67 19 199 .241 64 8 7 6 77 2 32 2 9
TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 18.0
Game K E TA Pct
1 15 1 44 .318 Site: Macon, Ga. (University Center)
2 20 6 57 .246 Date: Oct 30, 2007 Attend: 68 Time: 2:12
3 12 7 41 .122 Referees: Tim Meyers, Mark Prater
4 15 4 36 .306 Game 5-Yellow Card to FAMU Coach
5 5 1 21 .190
Monday, October 29, 2007
Alabama State University Marching Hornets and Stingettes
Alabama A&M University Marching Maroon and White Band and the Dancing Divas
AAMU Band vs. ASU Band, The 5th Quarter - Magic City Classic 2007, Part I
ASU Band vs. AAMU Band, The 5th Quarter - Magic City Classic 2007, Part II
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Draw your own conclusions...welcome to the Ohio Valley Football Conference, y'all!
Austin Peay State University Marching Governors Band
Saturday, October 27, 2007
The Norfolk State University Spartans got a lesson in Big 10 styled smash mouth football as the seminar was taught by the Howard Bison in front of 15,548 homecoming fans at Dick Price Stadium. The Bison defense limited the Spartans to minus 15 rushing yards on 17 attempts. The number two ranked MEAC leading rusher, Daryl Jones was held to 4 yards on 6 carries. No NSU back gained more than 7 yards and did not score a touchdown. Jones had rushed for 256 yards against FAMU the previous week and averaged over 135 yards per game.
Howard coach Carey Bailey is now the new big kahuna in the MEAC. Bailey proved the mental toughness of his Bison by going for first down on a 4th and 3 yards, at his own 34 yard line in the 3rd quarter. The Bison made it and continued their drive. Quarterback Brian Johnson played a masterful game and kept the Spartan defense off balance guessing whether he would pass or run. Bailey showed several times in this game that he will go for it on 4th down, when common sense says--punt.
The Bison scored first on a Brian Johnson pass of 17 yards to Jarahn Williams in the first quarter. Williams also caught a 53 yard TD pass from Johnson in the third quarter as the Bison held a 17-7 lead over NSU. The Spartans closed the gap to seven points with a 23 yard Justin Castellat field goal in the third quarter. John Mendoza kicked a 40 yard Howard field goal in the 2nd quarter to complete the scoring for the Bison.
Casey Hansen was able to score only one touchdown on a four yard pass to Jeremy Wicker at the five minute mark in the first quarter with Justin Castellat kicking the PAT. Hansen completed 17/32 passes for 238 yards and one touchdown. Thereafter, the Bison no named defense took over the game.
Delaware State Hornets (7-1, 6-0) 17, South Carolina State Bulldogs (4-4, 4-2) 16
Down 17-6 at the start of the fourth quarter, Delaware State fought back to score on a one yard run by Adam Shrewsbury and a 38 yard field goal by Peter Gaertner with two second remaining in the game. The Hornets are now in first place (alone) in their chase of the MEAC championship and the FCS Playoff bid. A homecoming crowd of 15,388 was disappointed with the DSU rally, which has knocked SCSU out of contention for the MEAC championship.
Morgan State Bears (4-4, 4-2) 14, Florida A&M University 12 (2-6, 1-5) 12
Quarterback Byron Selby was able to overcome the Rattler defense to complete a 9 yard touchdown pass to Roderick Wolfe at the 11 minute mark in the fourth quarter to give Morgan State a 14-12 lead. The Bears defense then came to life and held the Rattlers out of the endzone to preserve the victory. Leon Camel started for FAMU with r-freshman Eddie Battle playing the entire second quarter. Both quarterbacks from FAMU was held to 11/21 for 90 total yards in the game. The attendance was 3,478 on what turned out to be a sunny and breezy afternoon.
The Rattlers lead at the half 9-7 on a Westley Taylor field goal and a 24 yard Philip Sylvester run.
Bethune Cookman University ( 3-5, 1-5) 24, North Carolina A&T University (0-9, 0-7) 20
BCU came from behind in the last two minutes of the game on a Justin Brannon touchdown run to overtake the Aggies who was leading 20-17. The Aggies streak continues with 24 straight losses without a win. A homecoming crowd of 20, 013 was in attendance.
Winston Salem State University (5-3, 5-2) 20, Hampton University (4-4, 3-4) 19
Edward Waters College (4-5 NAIA) 24, Savannah State University (1-7) 7
Eastern Illinois University (6-3, 5-1 OVC) 38, Tennessee State University (3-5, 2-2 OVC) 35
Tennessee State battled EIU for nearly 60 minutes and lost on a 30 yard field goal by Tyler Wilke as time expired. Two EIU passes were intercepted and run back for long touchdowns by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, 69 yards and Marquez Hall, 78 yards to propel TSU to an early lead. True freshman Calvin McNaril started at quarterback and played well completing 8/16, 189 yards with one interception and 11 rushed for 45 yards with one touchdown.
Grambling State University (7-1, 7-0) 57, Texas Southern University (0-8, 0-7) 9
The Grambling State defense showed improvement over last week, holding the TSU offense to a total of 20 yards rushing for the game. Jackson State only gained 25 yards last week on the ground against the GSU Tigers. TSU was no match for the G-men high powered offense and defense. But, 19,639 homecoming fans enjoyed the air show put on by TSU quarterback Cornelius Harmon, 21/38 passes, 250 yards two touchdowns and two interceptions and Grambling's Brandon Landers, 13/19 passes, 223 yards, five touchdown and no interceptions.
Prairie View A&M University (5-2, 4-2) 26, Mississippi Valley State University (2-6, 2-5) 21
Alabama A&M University (7-1, 5-1) 13, Alabama State University (4-4, 3-4) 9
A record crowd of 68,593 came to Legion Field to enjoy the battle between the Bulldogs and the Hornets in the Magic City Classic. A pass interception by AAMU Al Donaldson at the Bulldogs 29 yard line with less than a 90 seconds remaining in the game reserved the victory for Alabama A&M. The Bulldogs lead the Hornets 10-9 at the half.
Jackson State University (5-3, 5-1) 17, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-7, 1-5) 6
Western Kentucky (5-3) 50, North Carolina Central University (6-3) 14
It appears that Grambling State University and Alabama A&M University fans can go ahead and book their reservations today for the SWAC Championship game in Birmingham. My greater disappointments have been the Hornets of Alabama State and the Jackson State Tigers who I thought at the beginning of the season would put up a greater battle for the Eastern Division title. But, when you rush for only 25 yards like Jackson State did last week against the Grambling State defense, all it not well in JSU Tigerland. JSU was beaten 30-20 by Grambling in that contest.
Alabama State was upset by Prairie View A&M 17-6 in Montgomery when their high powered offense became a no-show. The Hornets have a three game streak loosing consecutive games to Prairie View, Jackson State (32-20) and Southern (21-2).
Grambling State is currently ranked #21 in the FCS Top-25 Football Poll by The Sports Network. The MEAC/SWAC Sports Main Street believes that Coach Rod Broadway Tigers are good enough on defense to be ranked in the top ten programs in the FCS. Alabama A&M did receive 211 votes, but did not crack the top 25.
Here is what we can expect today:
Texas Southern (0-7, 0-6) at Grambling State (6-1, 6-0) 2 p.m. (Homecoming) CSTV Tape Delayed
We all need to pray for Steve Wilson's Texas Southern University Tigers. Wilson is currently 4-36 (4th year) and we do not expect the TSU Tigers to pull off an upset at Grambling's homecoming game. Although TSU nearly pulled off the upset at Mississippi Valley last week losing 37-35, this game will not be close. Grambling is just too powerful on defense and offense for TSU to win. The Texas Southern Tigers are giving up 34.6 points per game on average on defense and scoring on average 17.4 points per game. Grambling on the other hand is scoring 27 points per game (average) and holding opponents to 15.4 points per game (average).
However, Steve Wilson's passing offense is good enough to lead the SWAC averaging 233.6. yards per game. But, the Tigers have no running game, residing in last position in the conference with only 338 rushing yards in 196 carries, or 1.7 yard average per carry, 2 rushing touchdown and 48.3 yards rushing per game average. TSU is dead last in conference turnover margin with 9 lost fumbles and 16 interceptions in addition to averaging only averaging 27.9 yards per punt. Inspite of what the stats says, quarterback Tino Edgecombe (118-219-12, 1313 yds., 10 TD) and Brent Wilson (81 car., 237 yds, 2 TD) will be ready for Grambling, which has won the 7 out of the last eight meetings. Grambling won last year's game 33-28 in Houston.
Don't expect a close game this time, but anything can happen.
Prediction: Grambling 45, Texas Southern 14
Mississippi Valley State University (2-5, 2-4) at Prairie View A&M University (4-2, 3-2) 2 p.m. (Homecoming)
Prairie View confidence is soaring after their big road victory last week at Alabama State. I don't expect Henry Frazier's Panthers to ease up on the Valley, although this one will be a battle for one or two quarters. The Valley defense is giving up 37.1 points per game and is last in scoring defense in the SWAC. Prairie View is first in scoring defense limiting their opponents to 10.5 points per game. The Devils have won the last five games in this series including a 14-10 victory in 2006 at Itta Bena. Defense wins games, offense makes homecoming fans happy. No contest even with MVSU defensive coordinator Dennis "Dirt" Winston on the Devils sideline.
Prediction: Prairie View 33, MVSU 9
Alabama A&M University (6-1, 4-1) vs. Alabama State University (4-3, 3-3) in Birmingham, 2:30 p.m.
Its Magic City Classic time and it will take a lot of magic for Alabama State to beat the Bulldogs today. The reality is ASU does not have enough offense to get the job done. AAMU has scored 253 points on the season and ASU only 113. Both defenses are about equal with AAMU opponents scoring 144 points to ASU's opponents 134. But, this is a rivalry game and you can throw the stats out the window. The momentum favors the Bulldogs and we don't expect the Hornets defense to contain the offensive weapons of Alabama A&M.
The AAMU Bulldogs have won the last two meetings and Coach Anthony Jones has a 47-19 record/65-32 overall record in his ninth season as a collegiate head coach. Alabama State Coach Reggie Barlow is 4-3 career as a head coach. RB Jay Peck (155 car, 706 yds, 3 TD) leads the Hornet offense along with WR Fred Ragsdale (15 rec, 204 yards, 3 TD) and QB Chris Mitchell (57-129-8, 736 yds, 6 TD). QB Kelcy Luke (122-216-6, 1510 yds, 17 TD), RB Ulysses Banks (100 car, 620 yds, 5 TD) and WR Thomas Harris (28 rec, 509 yds, 5TD) leads the high powered Bulldog offense.
Prediction: AAMU 41, ASU 24
University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-6. 1-4) at Jackson State University (4-3, 4-1) (Homecoming) 3:00 p.m.
Rick Comegy's JSU team was embarrassed last week by Grambling's defense. Expect improvements on the offensive line play and at running back. UAPB has been a disappointment after having a great season last year. LB Tim Turner leads the Golden Lions with 69 total tackles but he will help from his offense for UAPB to pull off the upset. The offense has only scored 98 total points (14.0 ppg average) on the season, which is not good enough to beat the Tigers who are averaging 27 points per game. It will take a few more recruitment seasons for defensive coordinator Monte Coleman (former Washington Redskins star LB) to get the kind of players he needs to make UAPB a consistent winner. The Golden Lions defense is giving up an average of 322.6 yards per game.
More production is needed from JSU running back Erik Haw (98 car, 464 yds, 6 TD) to help quarterback Jimmy Oliver (80-138-5, 1160 yds, 8 TD) and Chris Johnson (17 rec, 373 yds, 2 TD).
Prediction: JSU 33, UAPB 14
Alcorn State - Idle
Southern - Idle
Photo: Grambling Junior QB Brandon Landers leads the SWAC in passing yards with 133 Cmp/237 Att/ 10 INT/12 TD/ 1619 yards/231.3 average per game/56.1 completion percentage.
FCS HBCU Independents
Edward Waters (3-6 NAIA) at Savannah State University (1-6, 1-2 home) 2:00 p.m.
This should be an evenly matched game with lower division Edward Waters College, but its the 117th homecoming of Savannah State University, so anything can happen. The Tigers only victory came at the expense of Johnson C. Smith University (CIAA/Division II), so expect SSU to handle its business today and get victory number 2. Former FAMU offensive coordinator Jimmy Joe is the OC for Savannah State. The Savannah State defense is giving up over 30 points per game while the offense is averaging less than 15 points per game. Interesting!
Prediction: SSU 20, EWC 14
North Carolina Central (6-2 FCS) at Western Kentucky (4-3 FBS-IA Indep.) 7:00 p.m.
Both North Carolina Central University and Western Kentucky University are in NCAA transition in moving up a division. The WKU Hilltoppers are NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (1-A) provisional and NCCU Eagles are Football Championship Subdivision (1-AA) provisional. That's where the similarities end.
The former Black National Champion Eagles have had their problems this season beating Division II teams like Albany State (L-16-10), provisional FCS Presbyterian (L-34-27) and escaping with wins over over Division II St. Augustine's (W 6-0), Fayetteville State (W 17-0), North Greenville (W 17-14) and Elizabeth City (W 18-10). The Eagles only real test was against 0-24 FCS North Carolina A&T that has not won since 2005 (W 27-22) where the Aggies threw an interception at the 8 yard line with first and goal with 27 seconds remaining in the game to give the Eagles a gift victory. The Eagles were able to defeat their only other FCS opponent, Savannah State (W 30-14).
No doubt, the Eagles have played a bunch of cupcakes and have not shown the championship form from last season, under new head coach Mose Rison.
On the other hand, Western Kentucky has knocked off OVC leader Eastern Kentucky (ranked #17 FCS) on the road (W 26-6) and beat Sun Belt Conference Middle Tennessee (W 20-17) on the road as their signature victories. The Hilltoppers stomped West Virginia Tech at home 87-0 in its only September home appearance and played a paycheck game at the Florida Gators to open their season (L 49-3).
Unfortunately, North Carolina Central has not experienced a team with the playing experience of WKU and will be undermanned going against an 85 scholarship program with a history of dominating on the FCS level. Gateway Conference Indiana State was smashed by WKU on their home field 56-7 last week. Expect more of the same today, just worst for NCCU if the Hilltoppers decide to run up the score.
Prediction: WKU 62, NCCU 3
Eastern Illinois University (5-3, 4-1) at Tennessee State University (3-4, 2-1), 4:00 P.M.
Tennessee State University Tigers will be breaking in true freshman quarterback Calvin McNairl (6-0/210, Henry County H.S., Paris, TN) today, along with Sophomore RB Terrance Wright (71 carr, 290 yds, 4 TD) against FCS #25 ranked Eastern Illinois. TSU was hit with the injury bug last week against Eastern Kentucky University. The Tigers lost starting Junior QB and OVC Passing Leader Antonio Heffner for the season to an ankle injury. Heffner underwent surgery on October 26 to repair damage.
Starting running back Javarris Williams was also injured when he was kicked in the side (ribs) on a block in the EKU game. He has experienced swelling and soreness and Coach Webster indicated that he did not practice this week in preparation for EIU. Williams is not expected to play. Both Heffner and Williams combined for 85.5 percent of TSU offense on the season and had scored 18 of the 23 total touchdowns scored by the team.
Calvin McNairl has played in four previous games before taking over for the injured Heffner and is expected to operate within the TSU scheme without major adjustments. McNairl passed for 6544 yards and 64 TDs in high school and was recruited by Memphis, Middle Tennessee and TSU. Expect TSU to rally around McNairl and Wright and stay focused on the OVC title goal with WR Chris Johnson and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie taking a more active leadership role on the team.
Eastern Illinois is riding high after winning four of their last five games, having lost on the road at Eastern Kentucky (21-28) on October 6th. TSU was defeated by EKU 49-7 last week.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Photo: Hampton University MEAC Leading Passer, #4, Sophomore quarterback T.J. Mitchell (121 of 244, 1765 yards, 12TD, 6 INT, 49.6%, 252.1 yards per game).
Howard (3-4, 1-3) at Norfolk State (6-1, 5-0), 1:00 p.m, ESPNU
The Howard Bison did the impossible last week in fighting back from a 27-15 deficient with 10 minutes remaining in their homecoming game. The Bison were able to score 20 unanswered points on the Aggies who had beat Howard University in every phase of the game, except finishing. The Bison will be playing the top of the MEAC this week in Norfolk State University. What a difference does a year makes as the Spartans are looking ahead to the show down with Delaware State for conference and FCS playoff honors. This game should be a real test for Norfolk State as Howard's senior quarterback Brian Johnson is a difficult passer and runner to defend. Bison running back Terry Perry can get tough yards to keep the Bison offense moving. The Bison defense can stop the running of Daryl Jones. Expect a Bison upset.
Prediction: Howard 30, Norfolk State 24
Bethune Cookman (2-5, 0-5) at North Carolina A&T (0-8, 0-6) 1:30 p.m.
Finally, the Aggies gets a win and break the string of 23 or 24 straight losses. I've loss count, but they are a long ways away from 80 that was recorded by non-scholarship Prairie View A&M University. The BCU Wildcats have not played well all season and the Wyattbone has only beaten non-scholarship Jacksonville University and lowly Savannah State Tigers. Expect the Wildcats to fumble their way out of the game in the first half. The Aggies will finish this game and win.
Prediction: NCAT 22, BCU 14
Delaware State (6-1, 5-0) at South Carolina State (4-3, 4-1)
Not even homecoming can help Buddy Pough and the SCSU Bulldogs. DSU is coming prepared for payback for the 10-9 loss last year in Dover, Delaware that knocked the Hornets out of MEAC race and the automatic bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs. Expect this to be a knock down, drag out contest with the Hornets finding a way to win on the road. Delaware has a strong defense and QB Vashon Winton, WR Shaheer McBride and RB Kareem Jones will show why NFL scouts have been making a path to Dover.
The Hornet defense does not make many mistakes and will find a way to contain Bulldog running and passing QB, Cleve McCoy. McCoy will be forced to beat the Hornets with the pass. This will be one of the better games of the MEAC season, but with no television for the conference favorite, SCSU. SCSU Marching 101 Band wins the half-time and 5th quarter without breaking a sweat.
Prediction: DSU 20, SCSU 14
FAMU (2-5, 1-3) at Morgan State (4-4, 3-2), 4:00 p.m.
Morgan State Bears are going no where and their chances of winning the MEAC is non existent. The Rattlers have the Bears numbers and will win this one in the rain with a defense that finally shows up and stops MEAC leading rusher Chad Simpson. Morgan has not proven that they can beat anyone with their passing game. Count this one as a road victory for FAMU who will play a lot of underclassmen in preparation for next season. Rattlers playing for pride only in this one.
Prediction: FAMU 24, MSU 20
Hampton University (4-3, 3-3) at Winston Salem State (4-3, 4-2)
Hampton is out of the MEAC race but don't expect HU Coach Joe Taylor to take the weekend off. Winston Salem has not played a team with the defensive speed of Hampton nor a future NFL second/third round draft pick in DE Kendall Langford. Expect the one dimensional WSSU ground game to get derailed and baptised by the three time MEAC champions, Pirates. Without an effective running game, Hampton will be able to score at will using faster players at the skill positions and special teams. Welcome to the MEAC, Winston Salem State!
Prediction: Hampton 42, WSSU Rams 10
Photo: Morgan State University's MEAC Leading Rusher, Chad Simpson (993 yards) should go well over 1000 yards on the season verses FAMU on Saturday.
Florida A&M University Rattlers (2-5, 1-3) are scheduled for a 4:00 p.m. football contest with the Morgan State University Bears (4-4, 3-2) on Saturday. FAMU will be there in force with East Coast Rattlers' fans. However, the question is will Morgan State come ready to play?
It appears that Morgan State heads may still be mentally stuck on the game that got away last week in Dover, Delaware at conference co-leader, Delaware State University. The DSU Hornets are currently ranked #12 in the Football Championship Subdivision, tied with a 5-0 conference record with FCS #23 ranked, Norfolk State University Spartans.
Reports have been published today by both the Baltimore Sun and The Baltimore Examiner, respectively, that MSU athletic director Floyd Kerr and head football coach Donald Hill-Eley have asked Dennis Thomas, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) commissioner to declare the MSU versus DSU game a "no contest."
Kerr also has asked university president Dr. Earl S. Richardson to become "involved" in the appeal process. Morgan State loss to Delaware State 25-17 in the televised homecoming game for the Hornets.
The MEAC admits that its officials did make two incorrect calls in the game. One call denied the Bears a touchdown, that was ruled on the field as a MSU fumble at the goal line, with a DSU recovery that was run back 100 yards for a Hornet touchdown. The other call was on the recovery of a block DSU punt, that was recovered by MSU, fumbled by MSU and recovered by DSU. Delaware State scored a field goal two plays later.
For crying out loud--this is the worst whining we have ever seen in the MEAC or SWAC. Before the MEAC commissioner attempts to initiate instant replays whereas, 99 percent of the conference games are not televised nor audio/video streamed over the Internet, that we first invest in getting the latter item accomplished for the conference fans. Currently, the MEAC and SWAC only televises a few games a season on ESPNU or ESPN Classic that does not reach all cable systems within the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions.
Head football coaches Donald Hill-Eley, Morgan State (MEAC) and Henry Frazier III, Prairie View A&M (SWAC) names are becoming synonymous with the word, "whining." No conference is perfect and every coach deals with bad or incorrect official calls at one point or another.
It appears that the Rattlers are facing the Bears at the right time with their minds mentally tuned in to the DSU Hornets and the MEAC commissioner's office.
Expect FAMU to start red shirt-freshman quarterback Eddie Battle, who has completed 60 percent of his passes in the last two games against Norfolk State and South Carolina State in very limited action. Battle does not have to win this game himself as he has available a stable of good running backs lead by freshman Philip Sylvester who has rushed for 696 yards on 119 carries in seven games.
Sylvester is the fourth leading rusher in the MEAC and first in all-purpose yards averaging 182.1 yards per contest.
FAMU will need to play a mistake free game, which is expected to be played on a wet field turf surface with 90 percent chance of rain. The Baltimore/Washington region has been in a drenching rain pattern since Wednesday with temperatures in the mid-50's at night and 62-67 during the day. More of the same is expected by game time.
FAMU's thin defense will have to step up to contain senior running back Chad Simpson. He is averaging 124.1 yards per game and runs with tremendous power and speed. Simpson leads the MEAC in rushing with 993 yards in eight games, ahead of Norfolk State's Daryl Jones, who burst loose for 256 yards against the Rattlers last week.
Morgan State junior starting quarterback Mario Melton has completed 47.4 percent of his passes (55 of 116, 3 TD, 7 INT) for 666 yards. Senior quarterback Byron Selby has completed 52.1 percent of his passes (38 of 73, 3TD, 2 INT) for 530 yards, and serves as the other half of Coach Hill-Eley two quarterback system.
Photo: Morgan State University Head Coach Donald Hill-Eley will try to get the Bears back on the winning track as the Bears host FAMU Saturday.
Here is what we can expect:
Morgan State Offense vs. FAMU Defense
Morgan State averages 26.2 points per game on offense (4th in MEAC), 149.6 yards per game in passing (5th in MEAC) and 233.8 in rushing yards (2nd in MEAC). The Bears strength is the Rattlers primary weakness-- inability to stop the run. Morgan has only scored 6 touchdowns by the pass and 17 by the run. More importantly, the Bears lead the league in Red Zone Offense converting 85.3 percent of their opportunities into scores.
FAMU defense gives up an average of 28 points per game, 169.3 yards passing (6th in MEAC), 228.7 rushing (9th in MEAC) and 398.0 yards per game in total defense (9th in MEAC). MEAC offenses have averaged 5.9 yards per play and 26 TD which gives FAMU the rank as the MEAC worst defense.
FAMU Offense vs. Morgan State Defense
FAMU has been inconsistent in the quarterback position for the entire season. The Rattlers are scoring at an average of 20.9 points per game (#7 MEAC) and completing 47.8 percent of their passes for a 149.6 yard average (#4 MEAC). The FAMU ground game is averaging 156.0 yards per game (#5 MEAC). However, turnovers have plagued the Rattlers with seven fumbles and ten interceptions (#6 MEAC) for a turnover margin of -0.43 per game.
FAMU special teams play has been very good and the Rattlers lead the conference in punt returns averaging 17.5 (#1 MEAC). But the Rattlers are at the bottom of the conference in both Red Zone Offense (#7 MEAC) 66.7 percent and last in Red Zone Defense (#9 MEAC) 89.7 percent.
Morgan State is #1 MEAC in Red Zone Offense (85.3 percent) and #5 MEAC in Red Zone Defense (74.1 percent). Translation: Morgan State will run the ball down FAMU's throat in scoring position and FAMU will be unable to stop them. In other words, watch Chad Simpson run and watch James Meade kick field goals.
ADVANTAGE: Morgan State
FAMU Wesley Taylor will need a breakout game in order for FAMU to have a chance to pull out a victory. The old Wesley Taylor needs to show up and control field position on punts and kickoffs. Taylor must also make every PAT and field goal attempt. Morgan State is a team with 16-18 Floridians that would love to knock off FAMU. Expect Philip Sylvester and company to produce and set up the FAMU offense in scoring position.
The Rattlers must play mistake free football for four quarters and tackle the ball carriers on the first hit. Morgan State is a solid defensive team that FAMU should be able to beat with team speed, special teams and their running game. FAMU has seen bad MEAC officiating forever, so that should not distract from the mission at hand. Expect Morgan State to continue to pile up drive stopping penalties. The pressure is on Carter to find a way to get the Rattlers back on the winning track. The FAMU offensive line will be the key to the Rattlers success in Baltimore. Expect the FAMU defense to show some Rattlers pride and stop Chad Simpson for under 100 yards rushing.
Expect the MEAC officials to stay consistent and make three bad calls. Coach Hill-Eley can continue his silly path of trying to overturn conference games by filing formal protests with the league office, but it will not change the game day outcome of getting beat. Bad calls are just a part of the college football landscape and no one should be surprised by a human error.
Final Score Prediction: FAMU 24, Morgan State 20
Saturday, October 20, 2007
The Florida A&M University Rattlers learned first hand Thursday evening that the Spartans of Norfolk State University are for real and will be a major player in determining the MEAC championship for this season. What's more amazing is this team has knocked off Hampton, South Carolina State, Bethune Cookman and FAMU in the same season. These teams may have better overall talent that NSU, but the Spartans execute their plays with superior passion and precision.
With the upset of FBS #2 ranked South Florida by Rutgers, who blanked NSU 59-0 last month, the Spartans have proven that they are a very good football team with a powerful running game. Daryl Jones, soon to become MEAC player of the week, rumbled for 256 yards on 38 carries with one 9 yard touchdown run.
The Rattlers could not tackle Jones and when they did, he always pushed the pile of bodies forward for an extra 2-3 yards. I have not witness this type of bull running since Earl Campbell played at Texas. Jones is around 5-10/250 pounds but can turn the corner on you quickly and get into the secondary which he did repeatedly to FAMU.
Never mind that game conditions included a major downpour of rain, standing water on spot areas of the football field and 12,287 faithful Rattlers' fans in attendance. Norfolk State came to play and win, showed determination on overcoming every miscue. Quarterback Casey Hansen had a sub par game completing 8 of 21 passes for 133 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT, making for an interesting last 2 minutes of the game.
FAMU had a chance to overtake the Spartans when NSU could not run out the clock on their next to last possession. An interception of a FAMU pass in the final minute by NSU defense preserved the victory for the Spartans. This victory ends the 9-0 win streak that FAMU had over Norfolk State.
The only teams that are now standing in the way of NSU for its first MEAC championship is Morgan State and Delaware State. Howard and Winston Salem State may not be able to match the strength of the NSU defense, but you cannot count out any MEAC team with the parity of the league, today.
Photo: RB Daryl Jones is a surprise leader in MEAC rushing yards (#2, 818 yards/7 games) as he runs away from Hampton University's top NFL draft prospect, All-American/All-MEAC DE Kendall Langford in last week's game.
Morgan has a better running back in conference rushing leader Chad Simpson who leads the MEAC with 994 rushing yards, 10 TDs and a 4.9 yard average. Daryl Jones is second in the conference at 818 rushing yards, 10 TDs, and a 4.7 yard average.
Norfolk State will get the opportunity to face Morgan State's Chad Simpson on November 3rd and Delaware State's Kareen Jones on November 10th. Both are stronger than FAMU and NSU will have to play better on the road in order to win the MEAC title.
Norfolk State's coach Pete Adrian deserves MEAC Coach of the Year honors for moving his perennial cellar dwellers from the bottom of the conference to the very top in less than three years. Daryl Jones is a serious contender for MEAC offensive player of the year honors, as I have not watched a more determined runner in football this season.
Jones rushed for 256 or the total 272 yards achieved by Norfolk State on the ground and helped the Spartans control the clock for about 10 minutes more in time of possession. Without out his hard running and production, this game would have been won by FAMU.
For a team that was fore casted to finish near the bottom of the MEAC standings, Norfolk State is the surprise team of the season in the MEAC that will have their first winning season in Division I, since their move up ten years ago.
The Spartans are now 6-1 overall with a 5-0 record in the MEAC. Way to go Norfolk State!
Behold, the Green and Gold.
Today's rivalry game with the only two undefeated conference teams in the SWAC has created a championship buzz and excitement second only to the final SWAC championship game itself. Grambling State University with a 5-1 overall record (5-0 SWAC), will face Jackson State Tigers, 4-2 overall, 4-0 SWAC in a celebration that will commemorate the 40th year of Grambling and JSU playing at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
This game will also honor the late Grambling coach Eddie Robinson. Members of Coach Rob's family (wife, Doris Robinson and son Eddie Robinson Jr.) are expected to attend the game to receive honors on his behalf. Members of the 1967 JSU football team and former JSU coach Rod Paige, who later served the country as a political appointee and Secretary, over the U.S. Department of Education will also be honored.
But best of all, this rivalry game will be a classic with the Tigers band of Grambling State University and the Jackson State University Sonic Boom of the South Marching Band doing non-stop battle in the stands, on the field and in the 5th Quarter. All the SWAC bands are great, but these two schools takes it to the highest level when they face off at half-time, and you don't want to miss these memorable performances that will be talked about by fans for the next 40 years.
Photo: JSU Sonic Boom of the South band is ready for the world famous GSU Tigers Band.
Yes, this game will be televised today at 12:00 p.m. Central Time, (1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) on ESPN Classic and via the Internet online at ESPN 360.
Expect the football to be great also, with Rod Broadway's Grambling Tigers and Rick Comegy's Jackson State Tigers fighting for bragging rights to the SWAC championship.
This one is too close to call and you just have to watch it or be there to see who will become the favorite for the SWAC Championship.
However, to get you in the spirit here are a few excepts for your enjoyment from the bands of GSU and JSU. Enjoy!
Grambling State University Tigers Marching Band (10/13/07)
Jackson State University Sonic Boom of the South Marching Band (10/13/2007)
Thursday, October 18, 2007
from Jacksonville Jam Press Release
Premier Basketball League (PBL) Jacksonville Jam
Jacksonville, Fla., - The Jacksonville JAM, Jacksonville's professional basketball team announced that former Florida A&M head coach Mike Gillespie will be joining the JAM coaching staff as Head Coach for the upcoming 2007-2008 Premier Basketball League season.
"Mike Gillespie is one of the most outstanding basketball minds in the country and his presence here with the Jam will help elevate an already impressive roster that we are forming for the upcoming season." stated Jam GM Felix Krupczynski. "It is a rare opportunity to bring in the experience, drive and knowledge that someone like Coach Gillespie brings to an organization."
The Joliet, Illinois native began his impressive coaching career on the high school level in his home state, winning 223 games from 1974 through 1987. Then he moved south to Florida, beginning his college coaching career at St. Leo College (now University) in St. Leo, Florida (just north of Tampa). There, he won 26 games in two seasons (1988-89 to 1989-90), including a 15-12 mark his first year. Gillespie then moved to Tallahassee, where he built the now nationally-renowned Tallahassee Community College program from scratch. From 1991-92 to 2000-01, Gillespie spun gold in Tallahassee, guiding the Eagles to 258 wins in 10 seasons. He compiled back-to-back 30-plus win seasons in 1995-96 (30-2) and 1996-97 (35-2), and his teams were annually ranked among the nation's best junior college programs.
He then moved down the road to Division I Florida A&M, where over the last six seasons, he compiled a record of 60-64, won two Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championships, and made two NCAA tournament appearances in 2004 and 2007. This past season he led the Rattlers to their first 20-win season since 1989-1990.
Photo: Mike Gillespie coaching the FAMU Rattlers during timeout with Delaware State Hornets at 2007 MEAC Championship game. Gillespie took the Rattlers to two automatic bids to the NCAA Championship Tournament.
"I am extremely excited about having Coach Gillespie join our organization" stated associate head coach Scott Cooper. "I have known Coach G for over 15 years and he has been a mentor to me throughout my basketball career". "His guidance and savvy will certainly be a tremendous asset in our drive to attain a championship for the City of Jacksonville."
The Jacksonville JAM successfully launched its inaugural season in the 2006-2007 American Basketball Association. The JAM emerged on the scene as a premier sports and entertainment organization entertaining and delighting their fans throughout Jacksonville and beyond. The Jam will now tip-off their second season at the University of North Florida as a member of the Premier Basketball League.
WJXE TV-15 will now broadcast all of the JAM games throughout the season for both home and road games. The team's pre-season and regular season schedule will be released later this month. For information on season tickets, log on to www.jaxjam.com/contact/tickets.html or call 904-302-5323. For more information on the excitement and buzz being created by your Jacksonville JAM, visit us at www.jaxjam.com.
Photo: The "Welcome" signs are out for MEAC foe Norfolk State University and the Spartans maybe just what the doctor ordered to get the FAMU Rattlers healthy and back on the winning track. The Rattlers are 9-0 lifetime against the NSU Spartans.
The stormy weather that is coming into the Tallahassee area this evening, shifts the game favorite from Norfolk State University to our FAMU Rattlers. Let it rain, let it rain--to stop that MEAC #2 ranked passer in QB Casey Hansen and the NSU #3 ranked offense. Not that we don't have faith in the Rattlers, but every element from God helps.The Rattlers received good and bad news yesterday as follows:
- WR Willie Hayward may be back from grieving the passing of this grandmother. If so, what kind of mental shape is he in for playing the game tonight? If he is in fact back and plays, don't count on Hayward to be a factor this evening (period).
- Robert Love, r-freshman QB has been officially ruled academically ineligible to play this season. Love is the message board coaching experts favorite to lead the Rattlers to the championship promise land, but that plan was derailed by a preseason suspension which carried over to the first three games. Love may become the best quarterback in Rattler- lore that never plays a down of football for FAMU, unless he is able to get on track.
- Freshman QB Gregory Tobias Lee will be unavailable for tonight's game. Coach Rubin Carter was quoted as stating, "Lee has a university-related issue that he needs to get taken care of." "This will keep him from participating in all activities of the team," as was stated in an article from the Tallahassee Democrat. There is more accuracy of the FAMU situation coming from the TDO message board than from our beat writers. The "MB coaches" indicates that Lee will be red shirted as he has not played in any games this season. We all like the size and strength of Lee and he needs time to develop.
- Who says Coach Rubin Carter does not accept tranfers? FAMU has a new name to get accustomed to in Football Bowl Subdivision (1-A) Troy University transfer QB Jeb Tyre from Class 1A Vernon High School. Tyre was on the 1A All-State second team in 2004. He is a walked-on FAMU player and will be activated as the third string QB for tonight's game. Who? What? That theory is now dead regarding 1-A transfers coming to FAMU.
- Four starters will be back for NSU game: DE Tyrone McGriff, DE Carlos Rolle, SS Ernest Williams and LB Victoriano Arboleda.
The MB coaches says Albert Chester II wants to return to the Rattlers. As a supporter of Chester, I say, depart from us--we never knew you! I rather the Rattlers fail with class as a team than let that selfish AC2 come back and make a greater mess of the present situation.
The greater question is how will all of this impact the Rattlers tonight? Our guess is the Rattlers will play their best game tonight to regain respect by knocking off FCS #25 ranked Norfolk State University. Just run the damn ball down NSU throat! NSU can't stop the run and FAMU can control the clock. If FAMU plays conservative and Norfolk State will crack like they did last year in that 36-33 OT loss to the Rattlers. QB Casey Hansen is a load, but he can be stopped if pressure is put on him from the defensive line. We expect FAMU to sack Hansen like a 235 pound bag of sugar.
This all should make for an exciting Thursday night game, but remember--NOT on ESPNU so you have to go to this game.
THE GAME WILL BE ON FAMCAST ON THE INTERNET LIVE AT 7:00 P.M. TONIGHT AT: http://www.famu.edu/?a=famcast
Florida A&M University Incomparable Marching 100 --(Playing: All we do is think of you (Rattlers))
What are they saying about this big guy....
- Hampton's top tackler, 39 in six games.
- Plays with passion of a "big cat" that will not be denied at 6-6/294 and runs with speed and power.
- Made 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks against rival Norfolk State in the Battle of the Bay game last week.
- Enough speed to run down running backs from behind.
- Consistent performer and leader of Hampton's defense; can beat double and triple team and impossible to stop one-on-one without illegal holding.
- NFL Pro scouts have discovered him and projects a possible 3rd or 4th round draft position.
- Solid student, outstanding player, excellent All-MEAC performer that is taking care of business in the classroom and on the football field.
Definitely a division I level talent that selected Hampton University for academics first, and football. Kendall Langford may surprise all of us and get drafted higher by a smart NFL general manager. He is traveling the same path as last year's 3-Time All-MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, Jacksonville Jaguars ILB, Justin Durant (Hampton University), who was drafted #48, NFL second round pick.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band (@ UAPB 10/13/07)
By Noell Barnidge, Savannah Morning News
Savannah State starting quarterback JaCorey Kilcrease practiced Tuesday but he will have his left (non-throwing) shoulder re-evaluated by the team's physician today, SSU sports information director Opio Mashariki said.
Kilcrease re-aggravated his shoulder while being hit after a 20-yard scramble with 4 minutes remaining in the first half of SSU's 32-14 loss at Morehouse last Saturday night.
It was Kilcrease's first time playing in a game since Sept. 15, when he separated the shoulder against Bethune-Cookman. The sophomore was sidelined against Fort Valley State (Sept. 29) and Charleston Southern (Oct. 6).
Kilcrease's status for the Tigers' game Saturday against North Carolina Central is undetermined. SSU (1-5) will play host to NCCU (5-2) at 1 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
NCCU defeated North Greenville, 17-14, last Saturday. The Eagles are competing in their first season in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA).
The Durham school is the defending Black College Football national champion and won the NCAA Division II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship last season.
McCrary developing at QB
If Kilcrease can't play Saturday, freshman Greg McCrary will start at quarterback. McCrary produced the best performance of his career against Morehouse, leading SSU's offense with 112 total yards.
He ran 10 times for 40 yards, and was 5-for-11 passing for 72 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted once, did not fumble and was not sacked.
"We were happy with the way (McCrary) played," SSU second-year coach Theo Lemon said. "He did some things where we had a chance to score some points. We haven't done a lot of that in the last three weeks."
After the Charleston Southern game, McCrary said he was having trouble adjusting to the speed of the college game, something that Lemon said only experience can alleviate.
Against Morehouse, McCrary took over for Kilcrease and led SSU to its first scoring drive in 10 quarters when he connected with freshman running back Justin Babb for a 34-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.
McCrary found wide receiver Deleon Hollinger for a 21-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. Hollinger, a sophomore from Miami, caught two passes for a team-high 25 yards.
Johnson still punter; Justiniano out for season
After the Charleston Southern game, Lemon said the starting job at punter was up for grabs between senior Jeremy Johnson and freshman Brandon Webster, a McIntosh County Academy graduate.
Lemon said the starter for the Morehouse game would be determined by how Johnson and Webster performed during practice last week.
Johnson kept the starting job and executed all five of the Tigers' punts against the Maroon Tigers for a 31.8-yard average, including two attempts inside Morehouse's 20-yard line. His longest punt traveled 36 yards.
Johnson also made an extra point and kicked off once while filling in for sophomore kicker Luis Justiniano, who was injured against Morehouse.
Justiniano is out for the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees, Mashariki said.
Justiniano, a walk-on from Bluffton (S.C.) High School and Armstrong Atlantic State, was 1-for-5 on field goals and 6-for-7 on extra points this season.
SSU senior defensive end Dominique Clark (ankle sprain) will not play against NCCU, Mashariki said.
Beach High grad led all receivers
Morehouse wide receiver James Steadman, a Beach High School graduate, made five catches for 58 yards, both game highs, against SSU.
Steadman, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound junior, is the Maroon Tigers' leading receiver with 26 receptions for 402 yards and two touchdowns. He has played in six of seven games for Morehouse (5-2).
SSU junior middle linebacker Calvin Leonard made a game-high 12 tackles against Morehouse.
Sophomore strong safety Antwan Allen and junior weakside linebacker Chris Herans made 10 tackles apiece.
Allen and junior free safety Javorris Jackson each intercepted passes. Jackson has a team-high four of the Tigers' nine interceptions.
By MIKE ORGAN, Tennessean
Webster uses lopsided loss to spur his team
Tennessee State Coach James Webster won't say he's bitter.
He won't say he's out for revenge.
But he won't deny that he vividly remembers Eastern Kentucky continuing to try to pile on points late in the game during Webster's first season at TSU.
The Tigers (3-3, 2-0 OVC) play at Eastern Kentucky (5-2, 4-0) Saturday in a match-up that pits the only Ohio Valley Conference teams with unbeaten conference records.
"I remember when it was 49 to nothing and they were still trying to score at the end of the game,'' Webster said Tuesday. "I remember it. There's no bitterness. I just remember it."
In 2005, Eastern Kentucky, comfortably ahead 35-0 after three quarters, tacked on two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The last was an 11-yard pass from the starting quarterback to a starting wide receiver with 6:23 left to play.
The 49-0 loss stands as TSU's worst under Webster.
Not only does Webster remember the rout, but he's also making sure his players do as well. He's reminded them not only of the lopsided loss in 2005, but also of last year's 20-3 loss in Richmond, a game that TSU went into still clinging to hopes of sharing the OVC championship.
"The last two times we lost to them are a factor in my mind,'' Webster said. "Those are games our players need to think about and realize that this football team needs to take a step. Eastern Kentucky obviously has been, and is one of the top teams in the OVC. That's the level we're trying to get to."
Webster is not surprised that EKU stands between his team and the primary goal it set at the start of the season, to win the OVC title.
"Obviously, in order to get into the position to win the OVC we've got to beat Eastern Kentucky,'' Webster said. "This is a very important game for us. And I would like to think that we've learned something from the first two games when we played them since I've been here."
Injury updates: Starting defensive nose tackle Lamar Divens likely will miss Saturday's game with a sprained foot and high ankle sprain, which limited his action last week against Tennessee Tech.
Starting wide receiver Troy Smith (quadriceps muscle), who didn't play against Tech, also is doubtful along with defensive back Brandon Blackmon (knee), and defensive tackle Harold Ayodele (ankle).
Webster also said the chances of tight end Antonio Graham (broken hand) returning this season are not good.
Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands (@ SU 2007)
By MIKE POTTER, The Herald-Sun
Joli Robinson couldn't get practice started quite early enough for her N.C. Central women's basketball team.
McLendon-McDougald Gym wasn't available over the weekend because of homecoming festivities, so the Eagles couldn't get started preparing for their first season of Division I competition on Friday when most teams did.
But they were ready to go at 5:15 on Monday. That's 5:15 a.m., and players were required to be on site by 4:45. That pattern will be the pattern for four weeks.
"I never get that much sleep during the season anyway," said Robinson, who will enter her 13th season with a 181-135 record that includes four 20-win seasons including a 26-6 mark and a CIAA title last season.
She may be getting even less sleep this season. The Eagles will be facing 14 Division I foes in 26 games, with all of those games on the road. The biggest challenges are in their season opener, Nov. 9 at UNC (34-4 last season), and their Jan. 3 game at Duke (32-2).
"Those are games we need to play," Robinson said of the local challenges. "They should be good experiences for our student-athletes."
The measuring-stick game may be on Nov. 20 when NCCU travels to traditional MEAC power Coppin State (25-8 last season) in a battle of Eagles. The two shared the Black College National championship.
NCCU lost some major firepower from last season, as all-time leading scorer Cassie King (16.5 points per game, 7.9 rebounds) finished her career and had her jersey retired. Additionally, both sophomore LaQuanda Williams (14.2, 5.6) and classmate Jasmine Newkirk (11.2, 3.2) will miss this season because of separate violations of team policy.
But Robinson is most concerned about the road, where NCCU will play all but six games including the first 10.
"We'll just have to get used to it," the coach said.
And they'll be going as far away as Tallahassee, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; Pittsburgh; and Wilberforce, Ohio by bus.
"I'd rather go by bus than fly," Robinson said. "That way you have more control over when you leave."
The Eagles return six of their top nine scorers, led by sophomore center Jori Nwachukwu (11.7, 9.3). Guards Jennifer Hukill (5.9, 1.1) and Jordan High alumna Casey Daniel (4.6, 1.8) are the only seniors. Guards LaVonna Hailey (5.7, 5.6 assists) and Northern alumna Tonia Roundtree (4.2, 2.4 rebs.) are juniors and post player Latoya Bennett (4.0, 3.3 rebs) a sophomore.
"We're all going to have to score more," Hukill said. "I know I have to step up my game and show I can do things other than shoot 3-pointers."
Robinson said 6-0 center Losamo Osby from Richmond, Va., and 5-9 guard Shanice Blanks of Wilmington New Hanover have been the most impressive of the current freshmen.
"They're all looking pretty good," Roundtree said of the newcomers. "I'm looking forward to the challenge of this season. Some people are expecting us to get blown out, so we don't have anything to lose."
NOTES -- The Eagles will have two exhibition games -- at home against Virginia State on Nov. 3 and at Wake Forest on Nov. 7 -- before taking on the Blue Devils. ... Daniel is in her fourth season with the Eagles. If NCCU wins at least 14 games, she will become the first player in school history to participate in four straight winning seasons.
2007-08 NCCU Women's Basketball Schedule
Day Date Opponent Location Time/Result Record
SAT. NOV. 03 VIRGINIA STATE (EXHIBITION) DURHAM, NC 2:00 PM
Wed. Nov. 7 at Wake Forest (Exhibition) Winston-Salem, NC 7:00 pm
Fri. Nov. 9 at North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC 8:30 pm
Mon. Nov. 12 at Elon Elon, NC 7:00 pm
Wed. Nov. 14 at Maryland Eastern Shore Princess Anne, MD 7:00 pm
Fri. Nov. 16 at Appalachian State Boone, NC 7:00 pm
Tues. Nov. 20 at Coppin State Baltimore, MD 7:00 pm
Wed. Nov. 21 at Morgan State Baltimore, MD 5:30 pm
Fri. Nov. 23 vs Lenoir-Rhyne (Catawba Classic) Salisbury, NC 6:00 pm
Sat. Nov. 24 at Catawba (Catawba Classic) Salisbury, NC 4:00 pm
Thurs. Nov. 29 at Tennessee State Nashville, TN 7:00 pm
Wed. Dec. 5 at Armstrong Atlantic Savannah, GA 7:00 pm
FRI. DEC. 7 ELIZABETH CITY STATE
(Lady Eagle Classic)
Fayetteville State vs. Barton - 7:30 pm DURHAM, NC 5:30 PM
SAT. DEC. 8 FAYETTEVILLE STATE
(Lady Eagle Classic)
Barton vs. Elizabeth City State - 2:00 pm DURHAM, NC 4:00 PM
Sat. Dec. 15 at Florida A&M Tallahassee, FL 2:00 pm
Mon. Dec.17 at Bethune-Cookman Daytona Beach, FL 5:30 pm
Sat. Dec. 22 at Towson Towson, MD 2:00 pm
SUN. DEC. 30 MERCY COLLEGE DURHAM, NC 2:00 PM
Thurs. Jan. 3 at Duke Durham, NC 7:00 pm
Sat. Jan. 5 at High Point High Point, NC 7:00 pm
Mon. Jan. 7 at Duquesne Pittsburgh, PA 7:00 pm
WED. JAN. 9 NORFOLK STATE DURHAM, NC 6:30 PM
Sat. Jan. 12 at West Virginia Tech Montgomery, WV 6:00 pm
SAT. JAN. 19 WEST VIRGINIA TECH DURHAM, NC 2:00 PM
Mon. Feb. 4 at Fayetteville State Fayetteville, NC 7:00 pm
Wed. Feb. 6 at Central State Wilberforce,OH 7:00 pm
Fri. Feb. 8 at Lincoln Lincoln, PA 5:30 pm
SAT. FEB. 16 LIVINGSTONE DURHAM, NC 2:00 PM
Home Games at McLendon-McDougald Gym in CAPS