Sunday, August 31, 2008

Transfer receiver sparkles in TSU win over AAMU

Spillman scores twice against Alabama A&M

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — JaJuan Spillman isn't asked to do too much for Tennessee State. Since he's still new to the program, all that's expected of the Louisville transfer is that he score touchdowns. He does that well. The lightning-fast receiver touched the football three times through the first three quarters of Saturday night's game at Alabama A&M and scored twice. Spillman's big plays set the stage for a 34-13 win before a crowd of 10,072. The victory helped TSU snap a three-game losing streak to the Southwestern Athletic Conference power.

The last time TSU won its opener was in 2004, when the Tigers beat A&M 42-7. Finally beating the Bulldogs would have been more difficult without Spillman's heroics. After returning the opening kickoff for a short gain, Spillman got wide open early in the second quarter deep down field and caught a 65-yard pass from Antonio Heffner for a touchdown. The next time he touched the ball, 6½ minutes later, Spillman broke loose for a 94-yard kickoff return and another score.


Attendance: 10,072, Lewis Crew Stadium, Huntsville, AL (Capacity: 21,000)

MEAC/SWAC Battle of the Bands 8/30-31/2008

FAMU Marching 100 Drill

FAMU Marching 100 Dance Routine

Hampton University Marching Force Band
Jackson State University Sonic Boom of the South Marching Band
Texas Southern University Ocean of Soul Marching Band

Alabama A&M University Maroon and White Marching Band

Weevils surprise UAPB Golden Lions

PINE BLUFF, AK — Is it too early to assume there’s more to the Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils than previously thought? UAM’s 21-7 season opening victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff Saturday at Golden Lion Stadium in Pine Bluff suggests as much. The NCAA Division II Boll Weevils entered Saturday having won six games in the past three seasons, and were picked to finish last in the 11-team Gulf South Conference in a preseason poll. But that didn’t keep UAM from manhandling the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA ) Golden Lions offensively and defensively.

Sophomore quarterback Scott Buisson ran for 95 yards and a touchdown and added 193 passing yards and two touchdown passes for the Boll Weevils. “This ain’t a last-place team,” UAM Coach Gwaine Mathews said. “Defensively, I thought we had something to prove. I thought tonight, we did.” A defensive unit that surrendered more than 40 points per game in 2007 limited UAPB to 183 yards passing and intercepted Golden Lions quarterback Jonathan Moore three times.


Attendance: 8,126 @ Golden Lion Stadium, Pine Bluff, AK (Capacity: 12,500)

SE Louisiana Lions stave off Alcorn Braves to spoil Jones' debut

LORMAN, MS - Ernest Jones saw his share of amazing comebacks in his playing days at Alcorn State during the Steve McNair era. In his head coaching debut at his alma mater, Jones came oh-so-close to seeing another one. Tim Buckley's fourth-down pass with six seconds left was just out of the grasp of Channin Pugh and Alcorn dropped a 34-28 heart breaker to Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday night in the season opener at Jack Spinks Stadium.

"I marched up and down the field during that drive and told my guys that we have a chance," said Jones, who replaced Johnny Thomas. "I played with a miracle-maker. Steve McNair made miracles happen and games like that we were in all the time. The expectations were that we were going to drive down the field and win the football game." And the Braves almost did that.


Attendance: 3,000, Jack Spinks Stadium, Lorman, MS (Capacity: 22,500)

NSU Spartans turn it on, rout Virginia State

NORFOLK, VA - Slow start, fast finish. How fast? Usain Bolt kind of fast. The Spartans didn't just win, they overpowered their rivals from Division II Virginia State in the Labor Day Classic on Saturday 47-7 before a festive crowd announced at 17,132 at Price Stadium that appeared far larger. Speaking of big, the 40-point margin of victory was the greatest in the annual series that dates to 1963.

The Spartans (1-0) rang up the first 47, with 28 of those points earned in the second half. Virginia State's lone score came with 1:34 left in the game when NSU had a collection of backups on defense. After missing all of the 2007 season due to eligibility issues, running back DeAngelo Branche showed as much rust as a shiny new vehicle. A white towel hanging from his gold pants exclaimed "I'm back!" in colored marker, and the Trojans couldn't argue. Scoring three touchdowns, which matched his previous high from the entire 2006 season, the sophomore showed off elusive moves that should make him the MEAC's best.


Attendance 17,132 @ Dick Price Stadium, Norfolk, VA (Capacity: 30,000)

Nevada Wolf Pack off to fast start with 49-13 win over Grambling State

The Grambling State marching band opened its halftime show with Earth, Wind and Fire's "Let's Groove Tonight." The Nevada football team took it literally. The Wolf Pack made the expected first-game miscues -- and a few unexpected bumbles -- but otherwise had a fairly crisp and ground-dominating start to the 2008 season with a 49-13 victory over Grambling State before 20,078 fans at Mackay Stadium on Saturday night. It marked the first time since 2003 that the Wolf Pack opened the season with a victory.

"It's great to get that first win under our belt," said sophomore quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who rushed for three touchdowns. "We haven't had that in the past few years. "(We) still had a lot of mistakes, though, and we need to improve those for next week." Nevada dominated the running game on both sides of the ball, totaling 426 yards and seven rushing touchdowns, averaging a whopping eight yards per carry. Four hundred yards rushing is amazing," Kaepernick said. "That tells you right there the kind of work our offensive line has put in the offseason and the kind of work they put in tonight.

Grambling State University Tigers Marching Band


Attendance: 20,078 @ MacKay Stadium, Reno, NV (Capacity: 31,545)

Jacksonville Third quarter does in Savannah State

SSU Coach Robby Wells starts Tiger career at 0-1, as he learned Saturday morning that 11 players were ineligible to play against Jacksonville because of NCAA Clearinghouse issues. The Dolphins are a non-scholarship program in the Pioneer League.

Jacksonville (Fla.) University cornerback Robson Noel guaranteed a victory against Savannah State University and his teammates delivered Saturday night. After a scoreless first half, Jacksonville scored 17 points in the third quarter and held on for a 20-7 victory. A Memorial Stadium crowd of 4,441 watched as the Dolphins spoiled the head coaching debut of SSU's Robby Wells, and gave JU second-year head coach Kerwin Bell his first road win.

"I just knew our team was ready to play," said Noel, who made four tackles. "I'm very relieved. I owe it all to my teammates." Jacksonville, which does not offer athletic scholarships, is a member of both the Football Championship Subdivision and the Pioneer Conference. The Dolphins won their season opener for the first time since 2002, when they beat Lenoir-Rhyne, 37-27. SSU has not won its season opener since 2004, a 41-34 double-overtime victory at Norfolk (Va.) State.


Attendance: 4,441@ Memorial Stadium (Capacity: 15,000).

North Carolina A&T Aggies rediscover that winning feeling

Photo Gallery of N.C. A&T record breaking win

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- After searching for almost three years, N.C. A&T finally found somebody it could beat. After losing 27 straight games, the fourth-longest streak in NCAA Division I-AA history, the Aggies and coach Lee Fobbs defeated Johnson C. Smith 44-12 Saturday in the first game of Fobbs' third season at A&T.

And there was great rejoicing. Maybe too much. A&T's band was admonished by officials in the first quarter, presumably because the Marching Machine was bothering its own team. The fans had no idea how much time was left on the malfunctioning scoreboard clock, so they just enjoyed the long evening as if it would last forever. By the end, it was the Smith band being chided by officials for making too much noise, and the Aggies taunting the opponents the way winning programs can taunt opponents.

It had been a long time.


Attendance: 11,552 @ Aggie Stadium (Capacity: 22,500)

Joe Taylor Era at FAMU starts with a dominating victory

Make no mistake about it: Rattler Nation is buzzing.

The curtain rose on the Joe Taylor Era on Saturday, and the opening night revues are calling it a smash-mouth hit. Playing before an enthusiastic crowd of 18,088, Florida A&M turned back Alabama State 30-20 in its season-opener. "Everybody is excited for this football team," FAMU linebacker and team captain Vernon Wilder said. "We have a chance to be great.

"It was real electric here tonight." The Rattlers played opportunistic football. Alabama State won the statistical battle, putting up 378 yards of total offense to FAMU's 201. But the only numbers that count after the final horn are the ones on the scoreboard, and that's where the Rattlers were the undisputed champions.

FAMU vs. ASU Hornets Photo Gallery


Attendance: 18,088 Bragg Memorial Stadium, Tallahassee, FL (Capacity: 25,500)

Prairie View pummels TSU 34-14 in Labor Day Classic

Prairie View A&M jumped out to a 28-point lead before allowing its defense to carry the Panthers home to a 34-14 victory over Texas Southern at the State Farm Labor Day Classic at Reliant Stadium on Saturday night in front of 20,444. Panthers, who have won four of the last five against the rival Tigers, spoiled the coaching debut of TSU coach Johnnie Cole by smothering his ballyhooed HOBO (high octane, big play offense) attack, as Prairie View A&M allowed just 113 yards and nine first downs while also recording six sacks of TSU quarterback Bobbie Reid.

“We were prepared for whatever they did,” said Prairie View coach Henry Frazier III. “We have a sound defensive foundation, and once we got settled in, we were able to stop just about anything they threw at us.”


Attendance: 20,444 @ Houston, TX Reliant Stadium (Capacity: 69,500)

Commentary: Knights don't wow in opener against South Carolina State

You don't want to show too much in the first game. If that was UCF's goal, you can call Saturday night a Category 5 success. The Knights didn't show a lot. In fact, they did such a good job of hiding their offense that you have to wonder if they have one. Either that or the MEAC is the sleeper power conference this year.

All hail South Carolina State.

"We had an opportunity to possibly take a football game here," Coach Buddy Pough said. Not Really. UCF was never in danger of losing, mainly because South Carolina State was never in danger of scoring. But the Knights led only 7-0 entering the fourth quarter, which was about 21 points short of where they should have been.


Central Florida blanks South Carolina State, 17-0

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The phrase “moral victory” is not in South Carolina State head football coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough’s vocabulary. Not surprisingly, he refused to view Saturday’s 17-0 season-opening loss to Central Florida in such a manner. “We’re not in the moral victory business,” Pough said. “We’re a good enough team now where we’ve got to make some type of statement and we haven’t made it yet. The one thing we do know is that we can go in and play defense I think with pretty much anybody. We’ve just got to find a way to make our overall team come together.”

The Bulldogs stopped the Knights on three of five trips to the red zone as Markee Hamlin (#11) had eight tackles and one fumble recovery to lead the S.C. State defense.

Even though the Bulldogs’ third contest against a Football Championship Subdivision foe was less lopsided than last year’s two contests against Air Force Academy and the University of South Carolina, to a man, the outcome was seen as a missed opportunity. “Tough season opener,” Pough said. “When you come into stadiums like this you feel like you might have a chance to at least hang around. “When you do for a while, you feel really bad about not getting it done.”


Attendance: Bright House Networks Stadium, Orlando, FL: 42,126 (Capacity: 45,301)

UH opens Sumlin era with 55-3 win over Southern

Game statistics

Quarterback Case Keenum torched the Jags for 359 passing yards and five touchdowns — both career-highs — while completing 33 of 43 passes in only three quarters of play.

With all the buildup heading into Kevin Sumlin’s first game as coach of the Houston Cougars, you almost expected a letdown when they finally took the field Saturday to play the Southern Jaguars. Too much was expected of the Cougars, who were installing new schemes on both sides of the ball and were trying to find new playmakers at key skill positions. But despite the pregame hype, the Cougars still managed to impress, rolling to a 55-3 victory before a rowdy crowd of 26,555 at Robertson Stadium.

Everything seemed to click for the Cougars, who enjoyed the highest-scoring coaching debut in school history, eclipsing the 54 points Bill Meek put up against Montana in 1955, despite emptying the bench late in the third quarter.


Attendance: 26,555 at Robertson Stadium, Houston, TX (Capacity 32,000).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Colts cut QBs Lorenzen, (FAMU) Gray

Former FAMU Rattlers Quinn Gray is out of an NFL quarterback job tonight, with his cut from the Colts Roster.

The Indianapolis Colts reached the NFL’s regular-season limit of 53 today by waiving 20 players, including quarterbacks Jared Lorenzen and Quinn Gray (Florida A&M University), and placing two projected starters on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

The waiving of Lorenzen and Gray indicates the team is confident its top two quarterbacks – Peyton Manning and Jim Sorgi – will be healthy for the Sept. 7 regular-season opener against the Chicago Bears. Manning did not play in the preseason after undergoing surgery on his left knee July 14. Sorgi was held out of the last two preseason games after injuring his right knee.


MEAC/SWAC Internet Live Game Links for 8/30/08

1. FAMU vs Alabama State webcast:

2. NCA&T vs. Johnson C. Smith University webcast:

3. NSU vs. Virginia State live audio:

4. SCSU vs. UCF:

5. Arkansas-Monticello @ Arkansas-Pine Bluff:

Prairie View A&M, TSU motivated for opener

Someone will move, and someone will get hit, so the plan goes.

Hence the theme for tonight’s State Farm Labor Day Classic, as Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M open the regular season (7 p.m.) in a contest that will feature an explosive quarterback (TSU’s Bobbie Reid) attempting to avoid being frequently hit by an equally volatile Prairie View defense that looks to pick up where it left off last season, when the Panthers allowed the fewest points in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

“Anything moving on the field (tonight) will get hit,” said Prairie View coach Henry Frazier III. “We plan on playing aggressive, confident football for 60 minutes.” Confidence is one trait the Panthers don’t lack. With 18 returning starters and the momentum from last season’s 7-3 campaign flowing throughout campus, Prairie View embarks on a season in which expectations are higher than they have been in decades. A winning season isn’t enough for the program, which has its eyes locked in on a SWAC championship.


Florida State Volleyball Sweeps Florida A&M On Opening Day

The Seminoles are now 20-0 all-time against the Rattlers.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Seminoles opened the 2008 season with a win over the Florida A&M Rattlers on day one of the Florida State Invitational Friday, August 29. FSU swept its cross-town rival in three sets (25-13, 25-15, 25-16) to lengthen the all-time winning streak to 20-0.

"It is always good to get an early match like that out of the way like that," FSU head coach Chris Poole said. "I felt like the girls for the most part played really well. The biggest thing I want them to focus on is not making as many mistakes on our side of the net and I think we did a pretty good job eliminating that for the most part." Leading the way for the Seminoles was junior Jordana Price (Mountain Home, Idaho) who had an impressive nine kills for a .818 attack percentage. Price also led the team with four assisted blocks and 12 points.

Final Stats


The Tulane University volleyball home opener against Florida A&M on Monday, Sept. 1., has been cancelled due to evacuation of its student-athletes, coaches and staff out of New Orleans with the impending weather threat from Tropical Storm Gustav. The Tulane volleyball team flew out of New Orleans on Thursday for their season opener at the BYU Molten Classic in Provo, Utah, and will remain on a West Coast road trip and travel directly to their next tournament, the Paso Robles Marriott Invitational, Sept. 5-6, at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Moon goes off on Alabama State and SWAC

No Shame:

I wrote last week about Alabama State offensive lineman Lionell Mapp breaking through the floor at ASU's mobile football facility. That's right, Mapp fell through the floor and one leg nearly hit the ground below. Anyway, I've been thinking about this for a while and I think now is the time to say it: ASU has no business on the Division I level.

If you're operating a program that can't manage to obtain the necessities, you need to take a serious look at where you are and what your options might be. ASU is in that position now. And I'm not saying that simply because of the incident with Mapp and the dilapidated state of the "football offices." It's also the practice field, which is so riddled with holes that the team is avoiding it, and the compliance office, which still employs just two people.

This program, like the rest of the SWAC's programs, should be in Division II. And I'm failing to see the shame in admitting it. If ASU were to drop to Division II, it wouldn't look so bad when Tuskegee handed out its annual Turkey Day whipping.

Josh Moon can be reached at


UAPB Coach knows Turner’s path to excellence

UAPB Coach Monte Cole-man: "Senior linebacker Tim Turner is the unquestioned leader of the Golden Lions defense with 122 tackles a year ago."

PINE BLUFF, AK — Arkansas-Pine Bluff Coach Monte Coleman probably thought he had a pretty interesting sports history. It’s not every day a young man grows up with his eye on other sports, hardly plays high school football, never receives a recruiting letter and yet goes on to become a standout linebacker in college and, later, the NFL. Yet for all the odd little bumps and curves that led Coleman to stardom, he’s not the only member of the UAPB football program who has followed that path... at least up through college.

A preseason All-Southwestern Athletic Conference selection who led UAPB with 122 tackles a year ago, senior linebacker Tim Turner is the unquestioned leader of the Golden Lions defense. His speed — Coleman said he can run a 4. 5-second 40-yard dash — and 6-1, 220-pound size fit the ideal college linebacker mold, enough so that the New York Giants had a scout in Pine Bluff last Friday to do some firsthand observation.


NSU hopes game with Virginia State starts something big

NORFOLK. VA - James Riddick lists the priorities for any Norfolk State football fan. No. 1 is beat Virginia State in the opener. No. 2: beat Hampton. No. 3 is beat everyone else in the MEAC. It's a sentiment shared by many Spartan diehards, most of who will fill Dick Price Stadium tonight for the annual Labor Day Classic against the Trojans.

The Norfolk State schedule, toughened with a match-up at SEC foe Kentucky next week and CAA stalwart William and Mary later this month, doesn't have a more attractive date to its fans than today's game. Even talk of a future contest with down-the-road rival Old Dominion doesn't hold the same mystique for Spartans fans, who have made this annual showdown with the Division II Trojans a circle on their calendar since 1963.

Six of Price's top 10 crowds have come with Virginia State in the stadium, including the top attendance of 33,872 exactly 11 years ago in the stadium's inaugural game there. As for today? "I'm projecting a sellout," said NSU athletic director Marty Miller, whose only reservation about making such a bold statement is the chance of rain dampening the evening.



Time: 6 p.m., Bragg Memorial Stadium, Tallahassee, FL

FAMU offense vs. ASU defense

For the first time in his career, FAMU quarterback Eddie Battle is the undisputed starter heading into the season opener with the Hornets. Battle was named the starter after impressing new head coach Joe Taylor in the spring. He's shown over the summer why Taylor tapped him to be the starter: He is a leader capable of guiding an offense down the field. It's highly unlikely new Kentucky transfer Curtis Pulley will see any time today. There's little doubt who the star of the offense will be, however, and that will be sophomore running back Philip Sylvester.

The 2007 MEAC Rookie of the Year, Sylvester joins Demitric Henry and fullbacks Mykel Benson and Kalum Harris as veterans of the backfield to give FAMU a potentially scary running attack. With Willie Hayward gone, Jarvis Funderburk, Adrian Smith, Javares Knight and tight end Taj Jenkines need to provide FAMU with a formidable receiving corps for the Rattlers to succeed through the air this season.


Jacksonville cornerback guarantees a victory over SSU

Teams meet at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium

It's Savannah State's football season opener. It's Robby Wells' first game as the Tigers' head coach. And if that's not enough intrigue then try this: Jacksonville (Fla.) University cornerback Robson Noel has guaranteed a JU victory against SSU at 7 p.m. today at Memorial Stadium.

Noel, a senior from Pompano Beach, Fla., last week told the Florida Times-Union, "We want to get off to a fast start this year. We've got a couple of big games ahead of us. We're focused in on Savannah State right now, and we're looking forward to Appalachian State (Sept. 6), but we're keeping that in the background. "We're thinking about this first game, and we're going to come out with a win ... and I guarantee it." Thanks to the Internet, word of Noel's guarantee spread quickly at SSU.


Coleman era begins with UAM’s stout offense

Arkansas-Monticello at Arkansas-Pine Bluff
WHEN 6 p.m. Central today WHERE Golden Lion Stadium, Pine Bluff 2007 RECORDS Arkansas-Pine Bluff 4-7, 4-5 Southwestern Athletic Conference; Arkansas-Monticello 4-7, 3-5 Gulf South Conference COACHES Arkansas-Pine Bluff: Monte Coleman (first season ); Arkansas-Monticello: Gwaine Mathews (fourth season, 6-27 ) SERIES Arkansas-Monticello leads 12-4 RADIO KUAP-FM, 89. 7, in Pine Bluff; KHBMFM, 93. 7, in Monticello INTERNET

Let the Monte Coleman era begin. After struggling to a 4-7 finish last season the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions fired coach Mo Forte, and hired defensive coordinator Monte Coleman to right the ship of what has been one of the more prestigious programs in Arkansas state history. Coleman’s tenure officially starts tonight when the Golden Lions open the 2008 season against the University of Arkansas at Monticello at 6 p.m.

“Feels like Christmas,” Coleman said of his head coaching debut. “Can’t wait for the next morning.” Coleman hopes to give a present to all Golden Lion fans by beating the Boll Weevils. And while UAM is a Division-II opponent, Coleman acknowledged that a victory won’t come easy for his squad.


SU Holloway, others have chance to star

Southern University junior defensive end Don Holloway is so much like the rest of his teammates. He looks the part. He’s spent his time as the understudy. And his number is being called. This season, how so many guys like Holloway, defensive tackle Frank Harry, wide receiver Corderious Gregory and safety Anthony Wells fare, will determine if Southern is to make a run for its first Southwestern Athletic Conference title since 2003.

There are enough established players, like quarterback Bryant Lee and defensive end Vince Lands, who helped SU emerge from two consecutive losing seasons to an 8-3 mark last season. But as SU opens its season at the University of Houston at 6 p.m. today at Robertson Stadium, there is the next line of players who will need to elevate their games to make their mark.


Grambling, Nevada have similarities

RENO, Nev. — Something will have to give when Nevada has the ball Saturday night in its season opener against Grambling State. Grambling, defending champions of the Southwestern Athletic Conference West Division, has many unanswered questions on offense but returns seven key players to a defense that ranked 12th in the nation in the Football Championship Subdivision last season.

Nevada returns eight players to one of the Western Athletic Conference’s best offenses a year ago, but is suffering from inexperience in the defensive secondary.
“They sound a lot like us,” Wolf Pack defensive coordinator Nigel Burton said in comparing the Tigers offense to Nevada’s defense. “Inexperienced. Talented, but inexperienced. ... I don’t know who has the advantage,” he said.


New Rattler' coach Taylor's goal: Return to glory

New Rattlers coach brings Gaither-esque run attack

As he made his rounds throughout Florida and other parts of the country during the offseason to promote his mission as Florida A&M's new football coach, Joe Taylor heard countless stories about Jake Gaither. Some went back more than half a century, but they all had the same theme — Gaither had a positive impact on his players' lives. There was plenty said about the numerous national championships won under Gaither during his 25 years of coaching at FAMU, too.

Taylor was touched and encouraged. But months earlier, Taylor had reason to be worried whether Gaither's legacy would be remembered generations from now. He discovered that only a handful of his players knew anything about Gaither or had ever heard of the legendary coach's accomplishments.


Friday, August 29, 2008

A&T: Will Fobbs' third year be the charm?

GREENSBORO, N.C. — When you're in charge of an operation that has lost 27 consecutive football games, there are few easy questions. And so it wasn't stunning to N.C. A&T coach Lee Fobbs when a fan, given a microphone in what was termed a news conference, recently asked why the Aggie populace should believe the upbeat rhetoric of August 2008.

The matter-of-fact tone of Fobbs' response spoke more to diplomacy, practicality and recent history than it did to the current state of affairs. There really are some reasons to anticipate the end of the fourth longest losing streak in Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) history. And maybe a little more.


History lesson could help UCF avoid an upset by SCSU

Two words have given inspiration to every overmatched, undersized team in college football. Two words have come to symbolize hope and confidence and a belief that even the littlest team can beat up the biggest bully. And two words will make UCF players and coaches wary when they open the season Saturday with an unknown opponent.
Two words: Appalachian State.

"They have given all of us the thought that we can do it, too" says South Carolina State Coach Buddy Pough, whose Division I-AA Bulldogs will kick off the college football season Saturday at UCF. What Pough is referring to, of course, is I-AA Appalachian State's 34-32 upset of then-No. 5 Michigan in last year's season-opener. Not only was it the biggest upset in college football history, it may have been the biggest upset in sports history.


Just shut up and play, S.C. State! Victory is yours for the taking...

South Carolina State University Marching 101 Band

U.Houston not expecting romp vs. Southern U.

The University of Houston never punted while romping in its first two games against Southwestern Athletic Conference schools. The next SWAC team up is Southern, which plays UH in the third Cougar Football Classic at 6 p.m. Saturday in Robertson Stadium. Will this game between two teams from different levels of Division I football be another mismatch?

It’s nothing to lose. It’s everything to gain,” senior defensive end Vince Lands said. “We want to show what Southern football is all about.”

“Those are proud guys and they are going to come in here and give us all they want,” first-year Houston coach Kevin Sumlin said. UH beat Grambling 42-22 in 2006 and winless Texas Southern 59-6 last season. Although Grambling was the defending SWAC champ that season, the Tigers went 3-8 and, combined, those teams were 3-19 in the seasons they played Houston. In comparison, UH went 18-9, won the 2006 Conference USA title and went to two bowl games.


Towns reaches A&M milestone

Assistant begins 30th season on Bulldogs' staff

Brawnski Towns never envisioned himself as a college football coach. He had other plans for his life. Towns signed to play football at Alabama A&M in 1965 under legendary coach Louis Crews and majored in mechanical drafting and technology design. "I was going to work at Boeing or some other company and make a lot of money," Towns said, laughing. Towns never made it to Boeing. He never made a lot of money, either. He did, however, become a football coach.

"I never wanted to coach," said Towns, A&M's defensive coordinator. "Coach Crews asked me to help him and the rest is history." Towns will make history in his own right Saturday night when A&M hosts Tennessee State in the season opener for both teams. The game will mark Towns' 30th year as an assistant coach with the Bulldogs. Kickoff is 6 at Louis Crews Stadium.


ASU freshman moves to corner

When redshirt freshman John Andrews first stepped foot on the Alabama State campus, he was ready to flourish as a quarterback. However, certain limitations kept him from staying as a Hornet signal-caller, and now one year later, he is on his third position -- cornerback. Head coach Reggie Barlow made the decision earlier this week to move Andrews.

"John is blessed with athletic ability," said Barlow. "Maybe we can get something out of him at another position. He just wasn't ready to contribute as a receiver." The presence of Keon Humphries and Robert Childers helped contribute to the decision. However, Andrews could be called upon on offense in a pinch this week as neither Humphries or Childers could be ready for action.


FAMU volleyball makes switch at setter

FAMU Coach Tony Trifonov will be working against formidable odds to win the MEAC crown and a NCAA berth with a team composed of only five returning players and three walk-ons.

Defensive star Egoavil tries to give Trifonov 100th MEAC win in a row

All the great expectations that volleyball coach Tony Trifonov had for the coming season took a spike when two of his overseas recruits couldn't gain admission to FAMU. Instead of sulking, Trifonov has done a little shuffling with his undermanned team. With any luck, he might still have a team good enough to get him to the 100-win plateau in the MEAC.

"Whatever happens, happens," said Trifonov, who needs one more MEAC victory to extend his consecutive win streak in the league and reach the milestone. "I'm not worried too much about the streak."

One of the more pressing matters Trifonov has to address is molding 5-foot-5 Susan Egoavil into a setter. She was moved from libero on the back row to the front-court position after Zaira Monzo decided not to struggle with homesickness and left FAMU. Egoavil has proven defensive skills that earned her a spot on the 2007 All-MEAC preseason first team. But she now has to find ways to be effective despite her lack of height.


FAMU Rattlers ready for new season

FAMU Football team looks to silence critics

The Rattler football team is entering into the season with a sense of optimism. After a summer of long workouts the team is confident it can compete in the MEAC. Head coach Joseph Taylor said about 75 athletes stayed in Tallahassee for the summer. "They took classes," Taylor said. "They were up on the track at 5:45 a.m. working on speed and later in the evening, they were lifting." Taylor said this season the team must play smarter.

Rattlers DB/KR Qier Hall #1 will be returning from an injury shorten 2007 season.

"It's all about hard work. We expect to be successful," Taylor said. "On offense, we have to make sure we protect the football. On defense, we have to be accountable and pay attention." Even though Tropical Storm Fay caused delays and closed some schools, Taylor said the weather had minimum effects on the team. The team watched a film and took a written test during the bad weather. "It was a good chance to get our legs back," Taylor said.


JSU self-reports secondary NCAA rules violation

Jackson State’s football program has committed what school officials consider a secondary violation of NCAA rules, the university announced today in a press release. The release said the school has self-reported the violation to the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

According to JSU, freshman quarterback Domonick Britt practiced beyond the allowed number of days while awaiting word on whether he had been ruled academically eligible by the NCAA. The NCAA allows players to practice for 14 days after reporting for athletic competition without being cleared academically. After 14 days the institution cannot provide athletically related financial aid and the player cannot practice until being cleared. Britt, the star of the 2008 recruiting class, reported when camp opened Aug. 2 and was still practicing Monday without being cleared.


JSU is set to open the season Sunday in Orlando, playing Hampton University in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. Kickoff is 1 p.m. CDT and the game will be televised by ESPN2

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nevada, Grambling bands to perform together after game

They've brought their version of "Ball of Confusion" to three Super Bowls and two presidential inaugurations, and this week members of Grambling State University's world-famous Tiger Marching Band will be shaking things up in Reno. Nevadans have two chances to catch the Tigers: Friday at a free performance at the Peppermill Casino Resort and Saturday when Grambling State's football team plays the Wolf Pack in Mackay Stadium.

It's an athletic and musical matchup that has been two years in the making, said Rory Hickok, Nevada associate athletic director. "We started the negotiations in 2007, so this has been in the works for quite a while now," he said. "This is truly a historic occasion to get a band of this renown in Northern Nevada. They have played at presidential inaugurations and Super Bowl halftimes, so this is an opportunity to see one of the world's most famous bands."

Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band


MVSU Totten retools attack

After 3-8 season, coach changes offense to better suit quarterbacks' abilities

Following an off-season of change in Willie Totten's Mississippi Valley State program, the Delta Devils seem set on a quarterback who can lead their offense. For now. That honor belongs to junior Ryan Burciaga. But if last year - when the team started three different QBs because of injuries and ineptitude - is any precursor, who knows how that'll wind up.

For the former quarterback Totten, whose Delta Devils open with Texas College on Aug. 30, the uncertainty at that position is troubling. Especially when the talented Paul Roberts, anointed as the starter as a freshman last season, is now the third-stringer. "It's a challenge for him," Totten said. "Either way you want to stay third string or you push up to challenge as the starter." MVSU ranked dead-last in the SWAC in total offense last year.


'Bama State Hornets struggle with the heat

Hornets head football coach Reggie Barlow.

After two days of rain and clouds, the sun finally beamed down on the Hornets on Wednesday. The effects of the heat had some positive and negative aspects on the Hornets. "Florida is the 'Sunshine State' and it's warm down there," said ASU head coach Reggie Barlow. "I don't want our guys to feel sorry for themselves. We have to push through the fatigue."

Barlow saw some things that he felt were less than impeccable. "Practice was ok," Barlow said. "Some guys were out there feeling sorry for themselves." Junior quarterback Reid Herchenbach took 60 percent of the snaps with the first-team offense.


Scott gets chance as FAMU placekicker

Trevor Scott practiced every day with a soccer ball at his old high school field in Jacksonville, hoping for an opportunity. Every roll of the ball carried his hope that he'd one day be kicking for a college soccer or football team. FAMU associate head football coach George Small just happened to be making a recruiting trip on one of those days that Scott was toiling in late spring. Finding a kicker was high on his list.

Kicker Trevor Scotts

His eyes caught Scott on the practice field. Bingo. Scott turned out to be just the player that head coach Joe Taylor worried about finding to shore up his special-teams unit. Scott came to FAMU at the start of preseason practice and immediately began to separate himself as a field-goal kicker and PAT specialist. Taylor rewarded him with the job earlier this week, when he also named Will Platt for the kickoff and punting duties.


QB Souverain key to 'Cats fortunes

During the past two years, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference seems to have figured out Bethune-Cookman's "Wyattbone" offense. And for the first time since Alvin Wyatt took over as coach, B-CU recorded back-to-back losing seasons, finishing 5-6 each year. However, things are looking up for the Wildcats. Eighteen players return who started at least 17 games. Wyatt has said that some new wrinkles in his offense, emphasizing the skills of new quarterback McKinson Souverain, could be the key for the Wildcats.

"You better get you a trigger man, a quarterback, and we've got that in McKinson Souverain this year," Wyatt told The Associated Press. "With this kid, if he stays healthy, our team will have a lot of success. This kid is everything for our football team." But offense isn't the only key to a potential resurgence. Defensively, end Dexter Jackson was a first-team preseason all-MEAC selection and defensive back Antwane Cox was chosen to the second team.


GSU has Jack of all trades

Jeffery Jack, #4 provides blocking for Zaire Wilborn, #26 on interception return last season.

GRAMBLING, LA — Grambling State head football coach Rod Broadway is clear about the strength of his 2008 Tigers football team. "Defense should be the strong suit of our football team, especially early," Broadway said. One reason for the expected strong defense is the return of defensive back Jeffrey Jack. Last season, Jack was the team's second-leading tackler with 77 tackles. He also had an interception and a fumble recovery. And he should be even better this season.

"Last year, I was pretty banged up for most of the season," Jack said. "Over the summer, I got healthy, lost a lot of weight, almost 30 pounds. I'm faster and I'm stronger. Basically, I feel like I'm a freshman in college. I'm ready to use all my knowledge and all my skills and play to the best of my ability." His fall camp performance has already been noticed by Broadway.


A&M aims to prove '07 was no fluke

Alabama A&M women's soccer coach Frank Davies always tries to find a way to top the previous year. After winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship last season and becoming the first team in league history to score in an NCAA tournament game, Davies says he has found a way. "We've got to repeat," Davies said. "In order to prove that last year wasn't a fluke, we've got to win it again."

In the five-year history of the SWAC championships, there has been no repeat winner. Davies says the Bulldogs can do it if he can find a way to retool their midfield. "How we revamp that unit will be a big key," Davies said. Belinda Kanda, one of the nation's top scorers, returns along with six other starters. Brittan Thomas and newcomer Celeste Roberts will also be counted on to help shoulder some of the scoring load.


Southern ready for cat fight in Houston

Storm or no storm, the Southern Jaguars are ready to take the field against the Houston Cougars this weekend.


SU monitoring effects of scheduling FBS teams

After years of not playing Football Bowl Subdivision teams, Southern University will open this season and next season on the road at schools with more scholarships and bigger coffers. This could be the start of a trend or, if SU coach Pete Richardson’s vision is true, be the spark to start an A.W. Mumford Classic in the future. That’s just something we have to look at as an institution, to see which direction we’re going to go,” Southern Athletic Director Greg LaFleur said.

This season, the Southwestern Athletic Conference, which plays in the Championship Subdivision, arranged its conference schedule to open in September and shortened the commitment of SWAC games from seven to nine, so its 10 teams could seek more non-conference games. Five SWAC teams are playing FBS teams this season: Southern at Houston and Grambling at Nevada on Saturday, Alabama A&M at Louisiana-Monroe and Alcorn State at Troy on Sept. 13 and Alabama State at Alabama-Birmingham on Sept. 20.


Fast finish has Prairie View hopeful for this fall

Prairie View aims to build on 7-3 mark with senior quarterback Mark Spivey, who is getting a sixth season of eligibility for a medical hardship. Spivey went 5-1 as a starter in the Panthers’ last six games in 2007.

In past seasons, three or four wins would have counted as a sign of progress for Prairie View A&M, a program that had been starving for positive attention. This year, the bar is raised much higher for a Panthers team that comes off a 7-3 season, returns 18 starters and has become the trendy pick to overtake Southwestern Athletic Conference stalwarts Grambling State and Southern for the West division title. Optimism is overflowing for coach Henry Frazier’s squad, which last year delivered the school’s first winning campaign in 31 seasons.

“It’s (the expectations) bigger than last year. It’s very exciting,” said running back Donald Babers. “Everybody’s anticipating the season.” Prairie View finished 5-1 to close out 2007, due in part to an offense that jelled behind quarterback Mark Spivey. Spivey fired seven of his nine touchdown passes in the last two games, giving the offense — which had become run-oriented — some much needed balance.


Bozeman talks Morgan State's 2008 recruiting class

Todd Bozeman has a lot returning from Morgan State’s 2007-08 team.

But he’s also adding several talented newcomers to the Bears -- the reigning regular-season MEAC champions. Pensacola (Fla.) Junior College center Buford Foote, Hagerstown Community College forward John Long, Northeastern (Colo.) Junior College guard Troy Smith and Gwynn Park guard Sean Thomas are the new additions to MSU’s roster. Philadelphia forward Ameer Ali, former Walbrook center Kevin Thompson and ex-St. Frances point guard Desmond Thomas all redshirted for Morgan last season and will be eligible this fall.

Bozeman spoke with Recruiting Report recently about the Bears’ 2008 recruiting class. Give us an overview of your class of newcomers...


"Meet The WSSU Rams" draws record crowd

Coach Kermit Blount and the Winston-Salem State University Rams football team were home in the friendly confines of Bowman Gray Stadium on Sunday afternoon as they participated in their annual “Meet the Rams” Fan Fest and Media Day in front of a record crowd that took advantage of their first chance to see the 2008 WSSU football team.

The Rams, entering into their third year of a transition to NCAA Division I status following 61 years of membership at the NCAA Division II level, head into the 2008 season on the heels of a 2007 season which saw WSSU surprise college football pundits by posting a 6-5 record overall.

16th-year head coach Kermit Blount, a man that needs only three more wins to overtake Bill Hayes (current A.D. at Florida A&M University) as the winningest coach in WSSU history, fielded questions from both media members and loyal Ram fans at the annual fan fest and media day.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cooper Is Firmly at the Controls for Howard Bison

Video Games Help LB Develop Plan of Attack

Before he would entrust his defense to Endor Cooper, Howard coordinator Andre Creamer wanted to make certain the senior middle linebacker fully understood all of its nuances. The two men spent countless hours going over the playbook, watching film together and discussing defensive strategies. But it wasn't until they sat down in front of a television and played football video games that Creamer became convinced that Cooper grasped every aspect.

By manipulating the outcome of the game, Creamer was able to throw every scenario he could think of at Cooper. Trailing 21-17 with four minutes to go: What's the plan? The opponent just went to a hurry-up offense: How do you react? Each time, Creamer allowed Cooper to work through the situation, to make mistakes and to learn from them.

Howard University Bison 2008 Team Photo.


Howard University 'Show-Time' Marching Band

TSU linebacker's goal: Be top tackler

Willis wants to lead nation in category

Linebacker Remond Willis was one of the few bright spots on Tennessee State's defense last year and hopes to stand out even more this season. The transfer from Illinois led the Tigers last year with 84 tackles. He's set a higher goal this year, hoping to lead the nation in tackles. "I've got a lot to prove this year,'' Willis said. "I'm going to try to lead the nation in tackles and I believe it's a realistic goal. Fifteen tackles a game is nothing."

Nothing? It's nearly twice as many tackles as Willis had last year when he averaged 7.6 tackles a game. He didn't finish among the nation's top 100 tacklers, but was 11th in the Ohio Valley Conference. TSU's defense needs that type of improvement all over the field. The unit cost the team in a big way last year, allowing an average of 33.4 points a game.


Cowboys' Bob Hayes (FAMU) and Falcons/Eagles Claude Humphrey (TSU) gets Hall nod as finalist

CANTON, Ohio — Claude Humphrey (Tennessee State University) and Robert Lee ("Bullet Bob") Hayes" (Florida A&M University) were nominated by the seniors committee Wednesday as finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Hayes, an Olympic gold medalist as a sprinter, played for Dallas from 1965-74 and for San Francisco in 1975. He averaged 20 yards a catch for his career and led the NFL with a 20.8-yard average per punt return in 1968. He was a seniors finalist in 2004 but did not get the necessary 80 percent of the vote to make the hall. He died in 2002 at the age of 59.

Hayes was the first player in the history of the Dallas franchise to surpass 1000 yards receiving in a single season and he did that in his rookie year by finishing with 1,003 yards. Hayes was the first person to break 6 seconds in the 60 yard dash with his indoor world record of 5.9 seconds. He was named to the Pro Bowl three times and All Pro four times and is the only person so far to win both an Olympic gold medal (1964 Tokyo Olympics) and a Super Bowl ring (1971). Bob Hayes finished his 11-year career with 371 receptions for 7,414 yards and 71 touchdowns, giving him an impressive 20 yards per catch average. (Both career TDs and yds per catch average remain franchise records.)

Humphrey was a regular finalist two years ago, his final year of eligibility. He played 11 seasons with Atlanta before finishing his career with Philadelphia from 1979-81. He was considered one of the best pass rushers in the game during an era in which sacks were not an official statistic. Humphrey was selected out of Tennessee State University in the first round of the 1968 NFL Draft with the 3rd overall choice by the Falcons.

They will join 15 modern-era finalists yet to be determined in the final selection the day before the Super Bowl in Tampa on Jan. 31. The two seniors finalists are voted on separately. A total of seven can be elected — the two seniors and up to five modern candidates.


JSU looking into possible NCAA rules violation

Jackson State is investigating whether its football program violated NCAA rules by allowing quarterback Domonick Britt to participate in practice, compliance director Alethea Ringo confirmed this morning.

Britt, the star of the 2008 recruiting class, has not yet been cleared academically by the NCAA but has been practicing with the team. NCAA bylaw says a recruited athlete may practice during a 14-day period after reporting for athletic competition without being cleared academically. After 14 days the institution cannot provide athletically related financial aid and the player cannot practice until being cleared.


Norfolk State's QB Dennis Brown is ready to go

NORFOLK, VA -- He has yet to throw a pass, but Dennis Brown is already the talk of Norfolk State football. Frankly, the guy everybody calls Dino says he'd rather be just another Spartan. But there's no chance of that with all the hype around the transfer from the University of Connecticut, despite his efforts to make himself just one of the guys since he set foot on campus in January. Coach Pete Adrian raves about his new quarterback's arm, talks up his ability to scramble and even suggests that the magnetic Brown is almost too mentally sharp.

"Sometimes I have to calm him down. I don't want him to think he has to go out against Virginia State and win the game by himself," Adrian said. "He doesn't have to throw the ball 200 mph. He's really hyped up. He's not a milquetoast guy who hangs in the corner. He's someone who can walk in a room and immediately start talking to everyone there."


Virginia State University 'Trojan Explosion' Marching Band

Virginia State University Cheerleaders "Woo Woos"