Monday, September 29, 2008

CCU notebook: Looking back at N.C. A.&T Aggies


GREENSBORO, N.C. The Coastal defense was scheduled to face yet another talented runner in A&T's Michael Ferguson, who rushed for 1,169 yards last season and entered averaging 102 rushing yards per game this season. Ferguson was scratched Saturday with a high ankle sprain. He was listed as questionable on the Aggies' injury report. Dione McNair replaced Ferguson in the lineup.

Welcome to the machine. The North Carolina A&T marching band, "The Marching Machine," is a sight to behold. The band began play in 1918 with 50 members and now contains over 200 pieces, easily out-numbering both football rosters on Saturday. The Marching Machine typically plays throughout the game, offering the Aggies a distinct home-field advantage.

CCU's party. With the win, Coastal improves to 6-1 all time against MEAC schools. Coastal's lone loss to a MEAC opponent came last season when the Chants lost their opener to eventual MEAC champion Delaware State.


Attendance: Coastal Carolina defeat the Aggies 20-7 in the rain. A&T had only 2,062 (9.4%) fans at Aggie Stadium, Greensboro, N.C. (Capacity: 22,000).


Coastal Carolina Tops NC A&T 20-7
Disappointed Aggies fall to Coastal Carolina
Autopsy: A&T Player Died of Heat Stroke

Rutgers gets much-needed victory; Morgan State gets $300,000

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Consider the $300,000 that the Rutgers football team paid Morgan State for Saturday's 38-0 drubbing a bargain.

Entering the day as one of only two schools from the BCS conferences without a win, the Scarlet Knights needed a victory in the worst way. They got one, scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions and cruising by their Football Championship Subdivision foe at Rutgers Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

If the win doesn't salve all their wounds from the 0-3 start, it builds confidence for a Rutgers team that begins Big East play at West Virginia next Saturday. Nothing cures a losing streak more than a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school. Counting Saturday's win, Rutgers has now outscored its MEAC competition, 153-7, over the past three seasons (Howard, Norfolk State and Morgan State).


Norfolk State didn't learn the lesson the first time, being on the losing end of a 0-59 score. The Spartans loved the exposure so much that they are scheduled for another beat down on Sept. 10, 2010. I guess its raising the profile, when Rutgers can talk about MEAC teams like this.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

N.C.A&T Cold Steel plays for Barack Obama in Greensboro

VIEW PHOTO GALLERY: Click Playlist Tab; Click Photos of Barack Obama and Joe Biden;click on each picture to change to next in gallery.

Atlanta Football Classic '08: FAMU Marching 100 vs, TSU Aristocrat of Bands

FAMU Marching 100 (Part I)

FAMU Marching 100 (Part II)

Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands (Part I)

Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands (Part II)

Prairie View A & M defeats Morehouse College, 28-17


Somewhere between the band clinic, the youth game, the step show and the concert, there was a football game Saturday at the Coliseum. Not exactly USC versus Ohio State. However, for organizers of Saturday's Angel City Classic -- pitting Morehouse College against Prairie View A&M -- it was bigger than that.The game, won by Prairie View A&M, 28-17, was the centerpiece of the annual showcase for historically black colleges across the country. This was the third year for the game, originally named the Silver Dollar Classic, and the first time it was televised nationally.

At least it was until a power outrage knocked Fox Sports off the air with 5 minutes 22 seconds left in the game. There was no lack of power in the legs of Donald Babers, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound Prairie View A&M junior who rushed for 180 yards and a touchdown to lead the Panthers. "Reggie Bush was my hero," Babers said. "I'm just glad I could play on the same field he did."


Attendance: 52,487 (57%) at Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA (Capacity: 92,000).

Prairie View A&M University Marching Storm and Black Foxes 9/08.

BCU 'Cats get mad and get even

You know what they say about payback. And if you're a Norfolk State fan or a Spartan, you know how it feels after Saturday's 33-17 loss at the hands of a fired-up Bethune-Cookman football team. The Wildcats came into the game with vengeance on their minds. During pregame warm-ups, the 'Cats had an extra bounce in their steps on Municipal Stadium's Kelly Field and every now and then one of them would shout, "Payback!"

It had been a year since B-CU's 38-31 road loss to Norfolk State in a series that has heightened interest because the Spartans are coached by former Wildcats defensive coordinator Pete Adrian. Some of the Wildcats, including head coach Alvin Wyatt, had not forgotten how that game played out. The 'Cats left Dick Price Stadium feeling as if they were robbed. Wyatt said his team was forced to alter its blocking scheme to avoid inaccurate penalties for blocking below the waist.


Attendance: 5,228 (52.3%) at Municipal Stadium, Daytona Beach, FL (Capacity: 10,000).

Bethune-Cookman runs past NSU in 33-17 romp

Howard wins first Miami Classic 49-21 over Savannah St.

The first annual Miami Classic football game between Howard University and Savannah State at Traz Powell Stadium in North Miami was a memorable one for several former South Florida prep players. The Miami Classic -- which essentially replaces the defunct Orange Blossom Classic and moves to FIU Stadium next year -- featured 15 former local high school standouts. The Bison's roster had 12 former Miami-Dade and Broward prep players. The Tigers had three local players.

And four Bison players with local ties were instrumental in Howard's 49-21 rout of Savannah State. Howard freshman receiver Brandon Drayton, a Northwestern standout in the Bulls' run to the Class 6A state title last year, helped set up the Bison's second score of the game. With his team ahead 6-0, Drayton returned a punt 36 yards to the Tigers 30. After Drayton was tackled, the Tigers (2-3) incurred a late hit penalty that placed the ball at the Savannah State 15.


Attendance: 3,926 (52.3%) at Traz Powell Stadium, Miami, FL (Capacity: 7,500).

FAMU continues to own Tennessee State

Taylor's 200th win gives Rattlers momentum

Photo Galleries:
FAMU 28, Tennessee State 21
Photos of the game, the bands
Atlanta Classic Pre Game
Atlanta Classic Step Show

ATLANTA, GA-- He played it off, but they knew better. Florida A&M University head football coach Joe Taylor was largely hush-hush about the 200-win deal all week. It's about the game. Play the game better than the last time. Beat this team. Focus on that, he would tell them. The Rattlers did that, too. Taylor's players held off a last minute drive by Tennessee State in the 20th Atlanta Football Classic to earn a 28-21 win over the 23rd-ranked team in the Sports Network Division I Championship Subdivision poll and the 25th-ranked team in the Football Championships Subdivision Coaches poll.

FAMU Coach Taylor reached a career milestone with the Rattlers win over arch rival TSU. Taylor now has a record of 200-77-2, becoming the ninth black coach to achieve this level of excellence, joining FAMU's Hall of Fame coaches Jake Gaither and William "Billy" Joe in the exclusive 200 win club.

But even before he had a chance to speak about the game when it was over, the question about becoming the ninth Black College coach to reach 200 wins in his career came to the fore. "That's the residue of enjoying what you do," Taylor said. "It speaks to having been around supportive administrators, top-level coaches, and great student-athletes." No student-athlete on the Georgia Dome turf Saturday was more instrumental in the game than Rattler linebacker Bryan Parker.


Attendance: 50,428 (70.7%) at Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA (Capacity: 71,228)

High gas prices can't stop FAMU, TSU fans

Milestone win part of Taylor's goal
FAMU vs. Tennessee State Blog: Final: FAMU 28, TSU 21
Florida A&M wins Atlanta Classic again

Tigers coach blasts team's failure to run
Pulley helps Florida A&M beat Tennessee State
TSU tagged with first loss
Poor running game frustrates TSU coach
Tennessee State eager to alleviate the pain

Michelle Obama, Jill Biden speak to over 8,000 at FAMU campus about student issues, economic crisis

Photo Gallery: Michelle Obama visits FAMU

According to Cindy Dick, Fire Chief of the City of Tallahasse, somewhere between eight and ten thousand people gathered on a hot and sunny day at the campus of Florida A&M University to hear Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden speak. The two women showed great respect for each other and spoke highly of the presidential debate held Friday night (Sept. 26, 2008).

The Rickards High School marching band opened the event with excitement. A giant “Change” banner was suspended in front of great white pillars. First Jill and then Michelle entered through double white doors, were swung wide open for their dramatic arrivals.

Jill talked about her experiences as a professor at the community college level. She explained that her students are her heroes, often juggling day jobs and caring for their children while still finding time to go to college. She described her dreams of a country in which college was affordable for everyone.

Michelle discussed Barack’s history and his promise to end the war in Iraq. She urged the students in the crowd to take action and help register Floridians to vote, noting that there are only nine days left to register here. In Florida, every vote counts, as it is a major swing state. She promised that she would personally call the parents and grandparents of the student on campus who registered the most voters and sing the praises of their child.

Please enjoy a video of the event.


DSU drenched, but not in glory

Photo Gallery: Central Connecticut St. 28, DSU 10

Blue Devils handily beats Hornets at home

DOVER, DE -- Their jerseys were drenched, looking like they were showered in a Gatorade celebration. It was only the steady rain. There was little to celebrate at Delaware State on Saturday night. In a game that was supposed to gauge their season's potential, the Hornets probably were left looking for a do-over. Central Connecticut State, a visitor from the Northeast Conference, defeated the Hornets in their first-ever meeting, winning 28-10 at Alumni Stadium.

"This is not practice, it's real football," Hornets coach Al Lavan said. "I had concerns over how this team would respond this week. When you're trying to build a young team, you are going to go through times of adversity and you have to find out how they will respond." While it certainly didn't predict an easy outcome, Delaware State hardly would have expected such a loss to the Blue Devils. And it occurred at home, where the Hornets had not lost in 10 tries, dating back to Oct. 14, 2006, against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference foe Hampton. Delaware State (1-2) has lost two games in a row for the first time since 2006.


Attendance: 3,254 (47.8%) at Alumni Stadium, Dover, DE (Capacity: 6,828).

Hornets game notes
DSU finishes 3-0 in volleyball tournament
Central Connecticut too much for Hornets

NEXT: The Hornets host the Hampton Pirates on Saturday at 1 PM in a MEAC showdown.

Grambling's win over (NAIA) Langston no thing of beauty

Photo Galleries:
Grambling You Cam, 9/27
Grambling-Langston halftime show
Grambling vs. Langston

Ethan Conley kept a running diary of Grambling's 13-2 win over Langston on Saturday:


15:00 It's 85 degrees and sunny at Robinson Stadium, and we're poised for a titanic matchup between two explosive offenses ... ah, who I am kidding?

This should be a blowout in GSU's favor.

11:59: Grambling's Dezmond Spivey boots the first punt of the game. You'll understand the significance soon enough.

11:43: Grambling dodges a bullet. Langston tight end Donald Hill was wide open behind the Grambling defense only he never knew it. Hill never turned around to look for Danny Lowery's pass, which fell harmlessly to the ground. Had he caught the ball Hill may have coasted to the end zone untouched. Unfortunately, this won't come close to being the most inept offensive play of the game.

9:41 : Kiare Thompson's 32-yard punt return gives Grambling the ball at the Langston 26.


Attendance: 5,121 (26%) at Robinson Stadium, Grambling, LA (Capacity: 19,600).

Alcorn can’t close it out--SU Jaguars win!

Braves defense unable to hold Southern in end

LORMAN, Miss. — Alcorn State’s calling card came up short Saturday in its Southwestern Athletic Conference opener at Jack Spinks Stadium as Southern scored the go-ahead touchdown to topple the Braves 15-12 just before time expired. “There is no explanation for it (the defensive breakdowns),” said Alcorn senior linebacker Lee Robinson. “We just didn’t close the game out.”

Alcorn, clinging to a 3-0 lead headed into the second half surrendered two touchdowns as SU pieced together quick-strike scoring drives of 2:37 and 1:48. SU (2-2, 1-0 SWAC) got its first score as quarterback Bryant Lee hit Clevan White on a 16-yard strike putting the Jaguars ahead 7-3 with 4:09 left in the third. The drive was good for 10 plays and 86 yards. Then in the fourth quarter, after Lee was knocked out of the game following a Idly Etienne hit on the far sideline, reserve quarterback C.J. Byrd fumbled the snap on fourth and goal with 5:05 remaining and Alcorn took possession.


Attendance: 22,500 (100%) for ASU Homecoming Game at Jack Spinks Stadium, Lorman, MS (Capacity: 22,500).

Lee lifts Southern
SU defense seals deal
Fosselman cashes in on rare chance
How They Scored: SU-Alcorn
Alcorn lets late lead slip away vs. Southern

Next Week: The Braves (1-4) travel to 1-A Western Athletic Conference, New Mexico State Aggies (1-2) in Las Cruces for a beat down and a quick paycheck.

The Southern Jaguars will be on the road to face Jackson State University, Jackson, MS for a 6 p.m. game.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Week 5: MEAC/SWAC Football Updates

  • Florida A&M (3-1) vs. Tennessee State (4-1) - FAMU is giving the 4-0 TSU Tigers a clinic on Joe Taylor power football with the Rattlers driving at the start of the 4th quarter with a 28-14 lead. Kudos to Versus with an excellent telecast of the Atlanta Football Classic game, including full half-time shows by both bands. FAMU Qier Hall intercepts QB Antonio Heffner with .59 second left in game to give the TSU Tigers the loss and Joe Taylor gets his 200th career victory (200-77-2). FAMU keeps the streak alive in a hard fought battle for their 7th consecutive victory over rival TSU. Rattlers move up with 3-1 record and has served notice to all, knocking off the #23 ranked team in the FCS Rankings and the Ohio Valley Conference leader. The Rattlers are moving forward to their rightful place as the premier football program in the MEAC. The game MVP for FAMU was QB Curtis Pulley and QB Antonio Heffner was the MVP for TSU. Final score FAMU 28-21.
  • Morgan State vs. Rutgers - No surprise here as the Scarlet Knight called the dogs off in the second half, but steamrolled the Morgan Bears 38-0.
  • Bethune Cookman vs. Norfolk State - The Spartans received a bitter dose of reality in Daytona Beach as the BCU Wildcats flatten the Spartans 33-17. The Spartans are nothing more than a one season wonder with a 2-3 record on the season.
  • South Carolina State vs. Winston Salem State - SCSU Bulldogs trying to get their pride back after getting smashed by Clemson last week 54-0. Too bad for the hapless WSSU Rams as they are getting a tatto beaten on their rear at the tune of 3-31 at the end of second quarter. Update: Score 37-10 SCSU with 12 minutes left in 3rd quarter. Final score on this blowout is SCSU 43, WSSU 17.
  • Grambling State vs. Langston - GSU wins 13-2 over their visitors. Final: GSU 13, Langston 2.
  • Southern vs. Alcorn State - The Jaguars are in for a long season as they escape the lowly Braves by a score of 15-12, with all their points coming in the second half of the game.
  • Central Connecticut State University vs. Delaware State - Hornets gets pounded 28-10 by a North East Conference, 1-AA Blue Devil team that moves to 3-1 on the season with a victory over N.C. Central last weekend. DSU falls to 1-2.
  • PVAMU vs. Morehouse - The Division II Maroon Tigers gave the Panthers a fight in the Angel City Classic in Los Angeles, CA. With the 28-17 win, Prairie View moves to 4-0.
  • AAMU vs. UAPB - Monte Coleman and the Golden Lions move to 0-5 as the Bulldogs move to 2-3, winning 23-17.
  • Howard vs. Savannah State in Miami, FL - In the battle of the cupcakes, Howard gains a much needed win by pounding the helpless Tigers 49-21 in Miami, FL. Bison moves to 1-3 and SSU drops to 2-3
  • NCA&T vs. Coastal Carolina - The Aggies get embarrassed again falling on the losing end of a 20-7 score. The Lee Fobbs era may be ending soon as only 2,062 attended this contest at Aggie Stadium in Greensboro, N.C. This attendance figure has to be wrong. If not, the Aggies have lost their pride and are feed up with Fobbs and his losing ways. The Aggies fall to 2-3 on the year. CCU of the Big South Conference moves to 3-2.
  • Texas Southern vs. Concordia College - TSU is padding its record with a schedule of Division II cupcakes in Texas College and Concordia College. The Tigers are leading 45-21 in the 4th quarter over Concordia which illustrate how awful this TSU program is under-performing.

Who's Hot: FAMU Rattlers are playing superb football and has opportunity to become the league's contender with a home date with South Carolina State next weekend. Rattlers should mop the field with Buddy Pough Bulldogs who ran over the Rattlers last season when Rubin Carter was coach. It won't happen this time as the Rattlers are seeking a championship.

Greatest Surprise: PVAMU 4-0 and in the drivers seat to win the SWAC. Overall poor showing of the SWAC this football season. FAMU defense is stopping drives and scoring TDs to help offense. National televised rivalry game attracts 50,428 to Georgia Dome with gas shortages in Atlanta. MEAC Teams inability to beat Out of Conference 1-AA/FCS teams that they scheduled for their home stadiums.

Top Newcomer: FAMU QB Curtis Pulley

Dummy of the Year: The clown(s) responsible for the FAMU athletic website ( that has everything wrong or missing including current rosters for the athletic teams, posted game scores and stats, and listing two coaches no longer on Coach Joe Taylor's staff.

N.C. A&T eager for some home cookin'

When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Aggie Stadium, Greensboro
Records: Coastal Carolina 2-2; N.C. A&T 2-2

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The N.C. A&T Aggies play host to Coastal Carolina on Saturday, which is nice for reasons beyond the totally obvious: It means they won't be going to Tidewater Virginia for the third straight week. An odd scheduling quirk sent A&T to Norfolk State on Sept. 13 and Hampton last week, and the Aggies made the five-hour drive back home with a pair of losses. It is the mirror image of scheduling in 2005, when the teams came to Aggie Stadium.

"It's like following your own footsteps back up there," coach Lee Fobbs said this week. "Hopefully, in the future, we can correct that. Is that the reason we lost? Probably not. At least (change) would give us some peace of mind." So how does this happen? Imperfections are almost certain when the process is complicated by two otherwise welcomed trends, expansion and television.


Rivalry is personal for TSU's Heffner

NO. 23 TSU (4-0) VS. FLA. A&M (2-1)
Where: Georgia Dome
Last meeting: FAMU 18, TSU 17 (2007)
Key matchup: FAMU RB Philip Sylvester vs. TSU DT Maurice Davis. Sylvester carried the ball 25 times for 131 yards in last year's game. Davis helped TSU hold Eastern Kentucky to 9 rushing yards last week and is tied as the Tigers' leading tackler among linemen with 13 total stops.
TV: Versus Sports Channel (LIVE nationally) -- Cable Systems, Dish Network and Direct TV

Time: 4:00 PM ET

Tennessee State quarterback Antonio Heffner made his way past a teammate being interviewed by a reporter earlier this week and offered a directive. "Talk about the team Cliff — it's all about the team,'' Heffner said to safety Eugene Clifford. This team is very special to Heffner. Just how special a team the Tigers are could be answered if they finally beat Florida A&M (2-1) at 3 p.m. today in the Atlanta Classic at the Georgia Dome.

TSU QB Antonio Heffner proposed to girlfriend after Southern Heritage Classic victory in Memphis on Sept. 13, 2008. She said "yes", and since he has the girl, he now plans to get first victory in his career against FAMU.

It has been a great start for the No. 23 Tigers (4-0), but today's test might be the stiffest they've faced so far. Playing before a large crowd that could be in excess of 50,000, TSU hopes to snap a six-year losing streak to an opponent Coach James Webster calls "our No. 1 rival." Heffner agrees. "Not only is this our No. 1 rival, (but) it's about the event, all the hype that comes along with this game,'' Heffner said. "We haven't beaten them in a long time and not since I've been here." More fanfare was added last week when the Versus cable sports network announced it would televise the game live nationally for the first time.


ATLANTA FOOTBALL CLASSIC: Game scores its 20th year
Tenn. St. on a roll entering Classic
Life of FAMU players difficult but simple
Keys to the game: Florida A&M at Tennessee State

Three more I-A road games will raise profile, boost coffers for NSU

NORFOLK, VA - Rutgers and Kentucky were only the beginning. Norfolk State's future includes more games against Division I-A opponents - three more in the next four years, in fact. The Scarlet Knights are on tap again for Sept. 10, 2010, in Piscataway, N.J. Rutgers beat NSU 59-0 on Sept. 16, 2007, in the first-ever I-A game played by a Spartans football team.

NSU meets West Virginia in Morgantown on Sept. 10, 2011. On Sept. 8, 2012, Norfolk State plays Ohio University in Athens. NSU has never faced either team, though West Virginia is coach Pete Adrian's alma mater. "In four years, to be able to play three Division I-A football teams is something I don't know any other school in the MEAC can match," Adrian said. "It's a good thing to mention when you're recruiting a young man."


Let's Call It Like We See It

We're not impressed, especially after the Spartans got kicked to sleep 42-12 by a bottom feeder, 1-AA William and Mary, last Saturday. No chance of beating 1-A Rutgers, West Virginia or Ohio on their worst days. So, let's call it like we see it ---an easy paycheck game for the Spartans athletic budget and another over-matched, non-competitive football game that makes the MEAC look like a cupcake Division III league, like most of the SWAC.

Norfolk State, the MEAC does not need your help on deteriorating the conference image further--North Carolina A&T did an exceptional job in that department with 27 straight losses and Howard is working diligently towards replacing the Aggies and Savannah State as the #1 cupcake in 1-AA football. At least attempt to schedule a 1-A team that you can at least stick with for a half, before getting crushed by 50-60 points.

Getting shellacked 97-3 in two "practices" with Rutgers and Kentucky, and losing to W&M by five TDs would be enough for us to seek developing a new marketing plan for filling beautiful 30,000 seat Dick Price Stadium with one of your old CIAA rivalry opponents like Fayetteville State, to boost the coffers $325,000. We would even suggest scheduling Division II Tuskegee University (who will beat the socks off the Spartans) or 1-AA Tennessee State, Southern or Jackson State, teams that travel well that will pack out Price Stadium to see the Spartans get steamrolled by the road team.

With all of the infrastructure in place, why go build the other guys fan base and business community, and give them a guaranteed victory on a platter for a few hundred thousand dollars? Why leave your Stadium empty with only five home games and your local business community and employers losing another $6-$12 million dollars of fan revenues on NSU game day because the 1-A will never sign a home and home contract with you?

Please focus on renewal of your past rivalry games in the CIAA, as games with W&M, Virginia Military and ODU does nothing for your bottom line. Forget playing Virginia and Virginia Tech, as they don't need you and the guaranteed 60-70 point loss for a paycheck that you are pimping. Moreover, it is not worth the national humiliation for the conference and University to have the Spartans flashed on ESPN being cremated by 8-9 touchdowns by a second or third tier 1-A in a so-called "tune-up" game for the opponent.

No doubt, Spartans athletic director Marty Miller is fast becoming the Number One, 1-A scheduler (pimp) in the MEAC. We only wish greater efforts would be placed in the development and execution of sustainable marketing plans by MEAC and SWAC athletic directors to fill the coffers. Scheduling 1-A power conference teams for a pay-check is just a band-aid solution to the greater problems in the MEAC and SWAC. And that's how we see it!


Norfolk State's sparse scoring ranks last in league

NORFOLK, VA - The Norfolk State offense has scored 13 points in its last six quarters. It's no surprise, then, to see the Spartans ranked last offensively in the MEAC, a statistic the team must improve in order to remain competitive in the conference. NSU meets Bethune-Cookman at 4 p.m. today in Daytona Beach. The Spartans won in Jacksonville when the teams played there in 1996 but haven't won in the past six games played in Daytona Beach.

UConn transfer QB Dennis Brown, #10 was a no show at William and Mary as the Spartans were embarrassed 42-12, by a CAA cellar dweller.

"We're looking to reduce a few things, simplify the offense," NSU coach Pete Adrian said. We don't need 60 plays and 10 formations." The Spartans faltered badly in a 42-12 loss at William and Mary because of five turnovers, drive-killing penalties and an inability to move the ball. NSU was 3 of 18 on third-down opportunities, and many of Dennis Brown's passes were either dropped, thrown too hard or tossed behind receivers.


Friday, September 26, 2008

FAMU and Tennessee State supporters will bring up $30 million into Atlanta economy this weekend

Joey Walters said events like today’s Atlanta Football Classic may have a comparable economic impact and visitor estimates as smaller bowl games. Such comments may exemplify the spending power that fans from Historically Black Colleges have when it comes to classics. Walters is the director of the Florida Classic for Florida Citrus Sports in Orlando, a game where Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman supporters infuse up to $30 million in the Central Florida economy each November.

This weekend the 20th annual match-up between Florida A&M and Tennessee State is expected to bring $30 million into the Atlanta economy according to estimates from the Atlanta Sports Council. The SEC Championship Game and the Chick-fil-A bowl, by comparison, bring $25 and $30 million respectively into the Atlanta economy.


Tennessee State seeks to end Atlanta Classic heartbreak

Florida A&M has won the last five games in rivalry

Tennessee State loves playing in the Georgia Dome every year. And because Atlanta is the school’s largest alumni base outside of Nashville, Saturday’s Bank of America Atlanta Football Classic has become like a Bowl game for Tigers fans. But there’s only so much heartbreak a team can take. When the classic kicks off at 4 p.m., the Tigers will be trying to break a six-game losing streak in the series that’s been unusually painful.

The Rattlers have won the last five by six points or fewer. In 2006, they won 25-22 in overtime following a Tigers’ fumble. Last year, FAMU overcame a 14-5 halftime deficit and held on 18-17 when Tennessee State missed a short field goal at the end. The Tigers say this year will be different. “These seniors have never beaten them and there’s a commitment to winning this game,” coach James Webster said. “Our faith is strong and we believe we will be victorious.”


FAMU's offense rotates around center Brazzle
FAMU and Tennessee State supporters will bring up $30 million into Atlanta economy this weekend

Tennessee State University vs. Jackson State University

TSU gives transfer opportunity to shine

Tennessee State University DB Anthony Levine #6 and Ozzie Harrell #3 closing in on EKU receiver.

Former Ohio St. player is Tigers' new defensive star

Tennessee State needed help in the secondary. Eugene Clifford needed a place to play. It was a match made in football heaven. The Tigers were looking for an impact player to replace All-American cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Who knew they would be able to find one so quickly? "As coaches, we knew what Eugene Clifford could do when he came here,'' TSU Coach James Webster said. "He was a five-star athlete coming out of Ohio. We knew he was going to be a dominant player for us and he was going to be an impact player."

Clifford, a safety who transferred from Ohio State, displays a hard-hitting physical style of play that is much different from the electrifying speed and quickness Rodgers-Cromartie provided. But the impact on the secondary has been the same. Opposing offenses would avoid Rodgers-Cromartie, seldom throwing the ball his way. Now it's Clifford who has their attention.


TSU moves up in poll; Heffner honored again
Nashville is a city of winners
TSU stays unbeaten despite sloppy play
TSU resembles '98 OVC title team

FAMU will try to stay calm on big stage

Qier Hall could hardly believe what he'd done in the Georgia Dome. After all, he was just a freshman coping with the fascination of playing in a pro venue. He certainly wasn't expected to be the one making a play to change the momentum in Florida A&M's favor. But his 83-yard punt return turned out to be the touchdown by which his career as a cornerback at FAMU might well be defined.

Rivalry weekend: FAMU (2-1) vs. Tennessee State (4-0) at Atlanta Football Classic; view live (nation-wide) at 3:00 p.m. ET on "Versus Channel" on Cable, Dish Network or Direct TV. Photo: CB LeRoy Vann.

"It was unbelievable that a freshman could change the whole game around like I did," said Hall, whose touchdown last season put the Rattlers in position to win on a field goal over Tennessee State. "It felt good." That's the feeling every freshman who gets on the field Saturday wants to experience when they make their first appearance on the Atlanta Falcons' home field. But as much as the younger players want to shine, rookie mistakes are a concern going against an undefeated Tennessee State (4-0) team.


Sylvester to share FAMU load
Coaches: FAMU can handle TSU
FAMU's offense rotates around center Brazzle
Rattlers' CB Beach is up for any challenge

MEAC Notebook: Taylor has Florida A&M rolling

Coach Joe Taylor of Florida A&M has his team playing very well and is 2-1 heading into Saturday's game against Tennessee State in Atlanta's Georgia Dome. Taylor, a former coach at Hampton, said that Tennessee State is very talented. "I think they have seven Division I transfers on offense and six on defense," Taylor said.

Taylor inherited a young team but said he doesn't like to talk about that aspect. "I usually don't talk about how young they are because I don't want to scare the hell out of them," Taylor said. Taylor has a chance to get his 200th career win on Saturday. "That just speaks to the fact that you've been around a lot of good people and outstanding young men," Taylor said.

Taylor also said that getting 200 wins also means: "I'm getting old."


ASU 47, MVSU 7: Hornets gain 1st victory of season

Photo Galleries:
After opening the season with three straight losses, the Alabama State football team needed something to go right. Enter Mississippi Valley State: the cure for every strug­gling football program. The Hornets (1-3, 1-0 in the SWAC) turned in their most dominating performance in years, as they breezed to their first win, 47-7, at Cramton Bowl.

"(The first three weeks have) been rough on us," ASU head coach Reggie Barlow said. "We needed (this game) bad. We needed the good feelings. We needed the confidence. This was very good for us, very good for our offense." It was very bad for Valley. For three hours Thursday night, the Delta Devils provided a clin­ic on how not to play organized football. And ASU took full advan­tage.


Homecoming Attendance: 7,783 (31.8%) at Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL (Capacity: 24,500).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rutgers football: Morgan State coach Donald Hill-Eley meets the media

With Morgan State (2-1) set to visit Rutgers on Saturday -- a Championship Subdivision School looking for its first-ever victory over a BCS opponent -- head coach Donald Hill-Eley met with the media on Monday to discuss the game and the prospects of an upset.

Here is what the sixth-year coach had to say:

Q. As fragile as Rutgers' psyche seems to be, is it important for your team to have some early success to have a chance?

Hill-Eley: As with any game, it's important to try to get some success early, moving the ball to get that confidence that we can compete with them.

Q. What type of matchup problems does your quarterback, Carlton Jackson, create with his athleticism and running ability?


No game here, folks...Rutgers by 55! The only suspense is will Morgan score 3. No need for wishful thinking, the MEAC and SWAC have proven they can't beat an average FCS/1-AA outside the MEAC. This is simply a paycheck game for the Bears. Just pray Hill-Eley makes a better showing than the Norfolk State Spartans that got shellacked 59-0 last season by the Scarlett Knights.

FAMU vs. Tennessee State is on nation-wide TV at 3:00 p.m. and the Rattlers will give the MEAC something to cheer about in this OVC-MEAC rivalry game before a packed house at the Atlanta Football Classic.

Florida home to many successful programs


We take an inside look at the state of Florida's programs.


It's not often that a team out of the MEAC causes headaches for opposing teams, but Bethune-Cookman certainly is the exception. The Wildcats haven't been able to make a huge splash on the national stage, but have caused some waves inside the state of Florida. Long-time coach Mervyl Melendez has done a tremendous job at BCC, and the Wildcats continued their winning ways last season by going 17-1 in conference, 36-22 overall.


There's no question Florida A&M has the worst program in the state of Florida. The Rattlers consistently finish near the top of the MEAC, but that obviously doesn't mean much considering they've finished the last two seasons with overall records of 20-22 and 16-36. FAMU should look at Bethune-Cookman as a perfect example.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hampton U. win comes easy over A&T

Photo Gallery: Hampton vs. North Carolina A&T

Hampton 44, North Carolina A&T 7

HAMPTON, VA - It was plenty impressive that Jeremy Gilchrist returned three punts for touchdowns in 11 games last season, particularly since that number led the Football Championship Subdivision. Even more spectacular was Gilchrist returning two punts for touchdowns Saturday in a span of 1 minute, 59 seconds. His first, for 56 yards, gave Hampton University the lead in its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game against North Carolina A&T. His second, for 88 yards, turned the game into a rout before halftime as the Pirates crushed the Aggies 44-7.

The return touchdowns were the fourth for the Pirates within four quarters. Kevin Teel returned kickoffs 87 and 90 yards for touchdowns a week earlier in the Pirates' 38-27 win over Howard.

Hampton's WR/KR Kevin Teel


Attendance: 5,103 (30%) at Armstrong Stadium, Hampton, VA (Capacity: 17,000)

Punt returns sting Aggies
Spotlight, not tacklers, touches him

TSU stays unbeaten despite sloppy play

PHOTO GALLERY: TSU vs. Eastern Kentucky
Click here for official box score.

Even with three turnovers, Tigers are 4-0

Sometimes it's good to be bad. Tennessee State was not as good as it could be Saturday night, but still managed to beat arch-nemesis and Ohio Valley Conference power Eastern Kentucky 34-20. An LP Field crowd of 8,276 watched the Tigers commit costly turnovers and a flurry of frustrating penalties while still handily beating a team it hadn't beaten since 1999.

"We won despite having some penalties and having some turnovers and that's a testament to how good this football team can be,'' TSU Coach James Webster said. "It's also a testament to the heart of this football team. We had some fumbles and interceptions at key times and they could have folded, but they were very confident in what they were doing." TSU (4-0, 1-0 OVC) committed 11 penalties for 103 yards, while EKU (1-4, 0-1 OVC) had three penalties for 20 yards. The Tigers also had three turnovers — two interceptions and a fumble — yet improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2001.


Attendance: 8,276 (12%) at LP Field, Nashville, TN (Capacity: 68,800).

Defense rises for Tigers
At TSU, game's weight doesn't match crowd
Tennessee State Downs EKU in OVC Opener, 34-20
TSU tops EKU, 34-20
EKU falls to Tennessee State 34-20

FAMU blasts Howard Bison

FAMU at Howard Pregame
FAMU 51 Howard 24

Even a certain gentleman who lives in a big white house several blocks from here would have struggled to bail out the hometown Howard University Bison. Like the Bison, he probably would have never had time to react to a Florida A&M football team that simply came on too strong -- too early. Now 17 days removed from a game they lost in overtime, the Rattlers appeared to need little time to overwhelm the Bison on their way to a 51-24 road win.

In less than one minute, the Rattlers turned a 3-0 lead in the first quarter into 17-0 with two long defensive touchdowns. First, FAMU defensive end Joseph Wims picked up a fumbled snap and made a mad 65-yard dash for a touchdown, the first of his career. "Before the game, (head coach Joe Taylor) was talking about 'Start out fast. Start out fast,?' " Wims said. "When they made errors, we just capitalized on it. We just do our job. We expect to win. That's why we got up at 5:45 in the morning all spring -- for this."


ATTENDANCE: 5,297 (53%) at William H. Greene Stadium, Washington, D.C. (Capacity: 10,000).

Rattlers pile on vs. Howard
Rattlers' defense puts together strong showing
Catches help FAMU's West cope
FAMU fights battle with penalties
FAMU vs. Howard blog: FINAL: FAMU 51, Howard 24
Battle, FAMU pound Howard
Battle sets tempo as Rattlers scuttle MEAC foe
Catches help FAMU's West cope

UAB Blazers burn Alabama State Hornets, 45-10

PHOTO GALLERY: ASU loses to UAB in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, AL -- Alabama State came to Birmingham looking for answers to its recent struggles. The Hornets left Legion Field with more questions. UAB kept the struggling ASU offense in check and, surprisingly, sliced through the Hornets' defense with ease. The Blazers (1-2) were as dominating as the 45-10 final looked.

Coach Reggie Barlow's ASU Hornets (0-3) have absolutely nothing to cheer about after getting a beat down by a terrible UAB Blazer team (1-2) that was win less prior to facing the Hornets.

"It looked bad scoreboard-wise," ASU head coach Reggie Barlow said. "Whenever you go up against a I-A school, there is some unbalance there. You don't want to dwell on that, but it's a fact. Still, we come to play and we didn't get the job done." UAB quarterback Joe Webb did. Webb completed 14 of 22 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 121 yards on 14 attempts and added another TD.


ATTENDANCE: 26,414 (32.8%) at Legion Field, Birmingham, AL (Capacity: 80,391).

Webb leads UAB in win over Alabama State
UAB players say big win feels good

William & Mary routs NSU in first meeting since '87

Box Score

WILLIAMSBURG, VA - Both teams wore green and gold at Zable Stadium on Saturday night. That's where the similarities ended between Norfolk State and William and Mary in the first meeting between the schools in 23 years. For the Tribe (2-1), it was a night of big plays in a 42-12 rout. For the Spartans (2-2), it was a frustrating evening of missed opportunities, blown coverages and offensive ineptitude.

NSU Coach Pete Adrian and the Spartans were steamrolled by William and Mary Tribe 42 -12, Saturday. However, the Spartan Legions Band did play and may have won the so-called mystical battle of the bands. It appears that Spartans football was out of their league in facing divisional foe, William and Mary. The Spartans were validated by the Tribe as being "certified pretenders" for the MEAC Crown and a FCS playoff berth.

NSU had four turnovers, committed 12 penalties and converted just three of 18 third-down opportunities. William and Mary's Jake Phillips, meanwhile, had his third straight game with three or more touchdown passes, throwing four four scores. "We played very poorly and I'm not happy with it at all," NSU coach Pete Adrian said. DeAngelo Branche's 1-yard run with 5:58 remaining in the third quarter was the lone touchdown by the Spartans.


ATTENDANCE: 10,152 (82.8%) at Zable Stadium, Williamsburg, VA (Capacity: 12,259).

Return of two Tribe RBs provides boost
Blocked kick returned for TD ignites Tribe
Tribe feeds on Spartans' errors
W&M Defeats Norfolk State, 42-12, For Second Consecutive Victory
Tribe cruises past Spartans
Tribe offense moving forward

Clemson routs overmatched S.C. State, 54-0

Final Stats Photo Gallery

CLEMSON, S.C. — A tired-looking Vic Koening met with reporters earlier this week, explaining that his lack of sleep was due to anxiety over facing South Carolina State. Clemson’s defensive coordinator and his fellow coaches pushed the right buttons with their players as the Tigers matched the underdog Bulldogs’ intensity Saturday. Early in the second half it was most of those in attendance at Death Valley stifling yawns during No. 23 Clemson’s 54-0 win.

“We did what we needed to do,” head coach Tommy Bowden said. “We were focused and played with a lot of energy, and that’s all we can ask for right now from the players.” Clemson’s coaching strategy was to preach all week that S.C. State featured many players who had been recruited by the Tigers and the talent level was not to be taken lightly. “I think Coach Koenning did (over-hype the Bulldogs),” senior safety Michael Hamlin said. “That’s any coach’s job, to blow them up bigger than they really are. He told us how good they were and really opened everybody’s eyes up.”

S.C. State head coach Oliver "Buddy" Pough has been stomped 143-6 in four "practices" with Clemson, Central Florida, South Carolina and Air Force Academy the past two seasons. Should SCSU spare themselves and their fans the embarrassment and cancel the Georgia Tech game for '09, as the Bulldogs have proven they are not competitive with middle of the pack FCS and FBS teams? Clearly the Bulldogs are pretenders and are guilty of being over-hyped by their AD and SID.


ATTENDANCE: 78,000 (97.2%) at Death Valley (Memorial Stadium), Clemson, S.C. (Capacity: 80,301)

Clemson notebook: Davis grinds up Bulldogs
Clemson's performance not easy to assess after Tigers thump South ...
Shove story: Tigers flex muscles against overmatched Bulldogs
Tigers Overcome Early Miscues, Rout SC State, 54-0
MISMATCH: One-sided affair turns into 54-0 SCSU loss to No. 21 Clemson
When it counted, Malcolm Long hung in there for the Bulldogs

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Florida A&M University's opponent Howard not living in the past

Howard vs. Florida A&M
When: 1 p.m.
Where: Greene Stadium (7,000).
Records: Bison 0-2, 0-1 MEAC; Rattlers 1-1, 0-1.
Complete Game Notes
Webcast (audio only), notes and more Play-by-Play: Ron Harris
Radio: 96.1 (Tallahassee)

Florida A&M has a 24-6 lead in its all-time series against Howard, which is coming off back-to-back losses to start the 2008 season. Bison coach Carey Bailey wants his players to forget all that by kickoff, as well as anything else that might have gone wrong. "You live in the past and you have no future," Bailey said earlier this week during MEAC coaches conference call. "The thing about football is you don't have a lot of time to celebrate or mourn. You have to go get your mind on the next game."

The next game is FAMU today at Green Stadium in Washington, D.C., where Howard used a spread offense to baffle Hampton before falling 38-27 last weekend. The loss kept Howard winless on a day that quarterback Floyd Haigler put himself in the program's record book by passing for 456 yards. The offense that Haigler is directing could make the afternoon interesting for the FAMU defense because of similarities to what the Rattlers saw in their first game against Alabama State. FAMU could not get more than a seven-point lead, mostly because of the short underneath passes that often caught the defense off-guard. That and Haigler's speed has been a concern for FAMU head coach Joe Taylor this week.


Keys to the game: Florida A&M at Howard
FAMU's Vann parlays confidence into success
FAMU hopes to slow Howard's passing game
Sorry sports fans, this one is in our backyard, so the "Beep" will be attending the Howard vs. FAMU game this afternoon. We will update the blog on our return late this evening. Have a great football day! Go Rattlers, Pirates, Wildcats, Bears, Bulldogs, Tigers, Eagles and Spartans!!!

Week 3: MEAC/SWAC Battle of the Bands

Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands (So. Heritage Classic)

South Carolina State University Marching 101

Bethune-Cookman University Marching Wildcats

Jackson State University Sonic Boom Marching Band

Mississippi Valley State University

Alcorn State University Sounds of Dynomite and the Golden Girls
ASU Golden Girls

Friday, September 19, 2008

Stronger quarterback gives TSU power lift

Heffner spent time in weight room

Antonio Heffner is off-limits to the media this week because Tennessee State Coach James Webster doesn't want him bothered by questions about facing Eastern Kentucky. If only it were that easy to keep EKU's defense away from the TSU quarterback. It was against the Colonels that Heffner's 2007 season abruptly ended when he broke his leg trying to escape a heavy rush.

No. 25 TSU (3-0) faces EKU (1-2) in Saturday's Ohio Valley Conference opener at LP Field. And the Colonels might not recognize Heffner. Not only is he back on his feet, he is bigger and stronger than when they saw him last.It was the second straight year Heffner was seriously hurt. It inspired him to do whatever was necessary to change his bad luck. He hurt his shoulder the year before. After his leg healed last winter he headed for the weight room to become sturdier.



Unbeaten TSU joins Top 25 poll
TSU's early success sends message to critics
TSU claims Classic for 6th straight year

Versus selects TSU-Florida A&M

Versus announced Thursday it will broadcast the Atlanta Football Classic game between Tennessee State and Florida A&M on Sept. 27. It is the first time in the game's 20-year history that is has been televised nationally. Versus reaches approximately 73 million homes.

"We feel that given the tradition and historic rivalries featured … it is truly an event of national significance,'' said Marc Fein, executive vice president of programming, production and business operations for Versus. Kickoff will be at 3 p.m. This will mark the 10th consecutive year that TSU and Florida A&M have appeared in the Atlanta game. Florida A&M has won the last six.

Click here for details on this year’s event and the exciting history of the Bank of America Atlanta Football Classic.



Howard U. transfer athletes hit a wall with eligibility

Office of Compliance Receives Students, Parent Complaints

The Howard University football team has not only been battling opposing teams, but also the Howard University Compliance Office. The office ensures that student athletes meet NCAA requirements. Two football players and one parent have accused Chief Compliance Officer Altha B. Williamson of being unprofessional, rude and having a complete lack of care about their situations.

"Mr. Williamson told me he's going to do everything in his power to get me kicked out of Howard University," said Oscar Gonzales, a transfer student-athlete. The Hilltop contacted Williamson and he directed questions on the matter to the Office of the Provost. Gonzales enrolled at Howard in January for the spring semester. He transferred from Auburn University and signed a scholarship to be on the Bison football team. Gonzales thought everything was fine and that he would be able to play in the 2008 season. However...


I-AA play has been king in Virginia

Richmond and James Madison are in the top 5. Liberty is in the Top 25. Norfolk State and Hampton are knocking on the door. Even William and Mary is receiving votes in the national poll. Virginia's Division I-AA football - the Football Championship Subdivision, as the NCAA likes to call it - is thriving these days and threatening to take center stage this weekend, when No. 5 JMU hosts three-time defending national champion and top-ranked Appalachian State.

"I've always said that FCS football is the equivalent of the mid-major programs in Division I basketball," JMU coach Mickey Matthew said. "I think everyone would agree that we have as many good mid-major programs in Virginia as anywhere, and the same can be said for football. "There are quality programs in the state, and Old Dominion starting football will only enhance that."


How about the Commonwealth Conference?
UNCC chancellor backs football plan

NSU Spartans vs. W&M Tribe

Two weeks into the College of William and Mary’s 2008 season, the Tribe sits at 1-1 after playing two radically different teams. Week one opponent North Carolina State University was an athletic, deep Bowl Championship Series program with which the College did well to compete. Last week, the Tribe pounded an over matched Virginia Military Institute squad. Tomorrow, the College will get its first chance to match up against comparable talent when the Norfolk State University Spartans come to town.

Norfolk State University and QB Dennis Brown can lay the cornerstone for a possible At-Large 1-AA Playoff Berth for the Spartans with a victory at CAA foe William and Mary, Saturday.

“We want to come out and make a big statement to our future opponents,” senior linebacker Michael Pigram said. Such a statement will not come easily. The Spartans went 8-3 a year ago and head into tomorrow’s matchup at 2-1 on the season. The squad received 23 votes in The Sporting News’ most recent Football Championship Series poll to the Tribe’s single tally. “We haven’t played them in quite some time, but we know their reputation,” Head Coach Jimmye Laycock said. “We’ve looked at a little bit of tape and they’re a very good football team.”


Football: Keys to the Norfolk State game
Tribe offense is well grounded
Tribe football update: weekly luncheon
How about the Commonwealth Conference?

SCSU's Long, Clemson's Korn have a past coming into the present

Malcolm Long would rather focus on the present and future with South Carolina State rather than the past. Yet to Upstate football fans, he remains well-known as the quarterback who led Gaffney High School to back-to-back state titles in 2005 and 2006 and victories in three of four high-profile games against state powerhouse J.F. Byrnes and former starting quarterback Willy Korn.

S.C. State QB Malcolm Long.

The rivalry between the two championship rich programs, as well the high-profile coverage given to the games (the 2006 regular-season game was aired nationally by Fox Sports) would forever link the “Mr. South Carolina Football” and Parade All-American. It also forged a level of mutual respect and friendship between Korn and Long which continues to this day. “Out of all the guys that I played against in high school, he’s definitely by far the best quarterback I went against,” Korn said.


Oh, BROTHER! SCSU-Clemson siblings square off Saturday
It's a crazy week for two coaches in Clemson-SC State game
Willie Jeffries to be inducted into National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame

Alcorn outduels UAPB 13-3 to give Jones 1st victory

LORMAN, MS — Alcorn State quarterback Tim Buckley threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Arceneaux in the second quarter Thursday night, and the Braves hammered out a 13-3 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The win, which didn't count in the Southwestern Athletic Conference standings, was the first for new Braves coach Ernest Jones and moved Alcorn to 1-3 on the season.

Alcorn's Taylor Richardson kicked a 37-yard field goal in the third quarter and another from the same distance in the fourth to give the Braves some breathing room on a night they were outgained 216-205 in total yardage.UAPB (0-4) scored in the first quarter on Carlos Reyes' 25-yard field goal. Buckley completed 9 of 18 passes for 118 yards with no interceptions. Arceneaux caught six balls for 79 yards.


Attendance: 2,500 (11%) at Jack Spinks Stadium, Lorman, MS (Capacity: 22,500).