Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Honor Robert Champion by Ending Hazing

Tallahassee, Florida -- In the whirlwind of events that have unfolded in the past week and a half, it's almost easy to forget that a student died.

There have been protests, Facebook groups and countless other visible outbursts from students, alumni and other supporters to have the Marching "100" reinstated and former Director of Bands Julian White re-hired after the death of student and drum major Robert Champion. But where are the student-led anti-hazing protests and Facebook groups?

Where's the outrage and frustration that a fellow Rattler has been killed and members of one of the university's largest organizations are under investigation for causing it?


This is a difficult time for Rattlers everywhere as we mourn the loss of one of our own, Drum Major Robert Champion. As he is being laid to rest today, let us all become one - a drum major for positive change! As a former Marching 100 member and a FAMU graduate, I have found tremendous peace in God's amazing grace. Please take a listen ...Hubba, Hubba, Robert. (beepbeep)

The wonderful Soweto Gospel Choir singing Amazing Grace.

Loyola controls second half and beats Gold Rush 66-59

The 2011-12 Xavier University of Louisiana men's basketball team.
(Click here for Roster and Schedule)
Head Coach: Dannton Jackson (ninth season)
Assistant Coach: Alfred Williams
(click photo to enlarge)
 NEW ORLEANS -- Robert Lovaglio had 15 points and 11 rebounds Tuesday, leading four Loyola scorers in double figures in a 66-59 men's basketball victory against NAIA No. 21 Xavier University of Louisiana at The Barn.

Corey Gray scored 13 points for the Wolfpack (6-2), and Cameron Cates and Steve Davis scored 10 apiece.

Nick Haywood scored 14 points and Wanto Joseph 10 for Xavier (4-2), which has lost two straight.

An 8-0 Loyola run in the final 4½ minutes of the first half tied the score at 20. The Wolfpack led for all but 38 seconds of the second half and took the lead for good at 42-40 on Kyle Simmons' two free throws with 8:41 remaining.

Xavier outshot Loyola 44.2 to 36.7 percent from the floor, but the Wolfpack had the advantage at the line, making 28-of-37 free throws to the Gold Rush's 16-of-27. Loyola made 22-of-30 from the line in the second half, Xavier missed seven free throws in the final eight minutes. Loyola made 9-of-10 free throws in the final 1:46.

Haywood, the reigning Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Week, made three 3-pointers to give him 10 in the past two games.

Lovaglio, the first Loyola player in five seasons to record a double-double against Xavier, grabbed nine first-half rebounds and helped the Wolfpack finish with a 36-28 advantage.

The loss was the second in Xavier's past 25 home games and 41 non-conference home games. Loyola snapped Xavier's 20-game home win streak against non-conference opponents and won for the fifth time in 34 meetings with its city rival.

Xavier will play Concordia (Ala.) at 4 p.m. Saturday at The Barn.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

This Week
at The Barn
Saturday, December 3 — Women's Basketball vs. Shorter, 2 p.m. live webcast live stats 
Saturday, December 3 — Men's Basketball vs. Concordia (Ala.), 4 p.m. live webcastlive stats

Hall's hot second half helps Xavier beat William Carey

NEW ORLEANS -- Senior center Keldra Hall scored 15 of her 17 points in the second half Tuesday to lead NAIA No. 16 Xavier University of Louisiana to a 55-38 women's basketball victory against William Carey.

The Gold Nuggets (6-3) won their second in a row and snapped the four-game win streak of the Lady Crusaders (4-4).

Hall scored all her second-half points in the final 14 minutes, including consecutive 3-point plays which gave Xavier a 47-27 lead with 4:20 remaining. For the game Hall was 7-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-3 from the line in 15 minutes. Xavier is 5-0 this season when Hall scores in double figures.

Haleigh Arcement scored 14 points, 10 in the second half, for William Carey. The Lady Crusaders were 1-of-16 on 3-pointers after shooting 39 percent from long range in their previous five games.

The Gold Nuggets outshot the Lady Crusaders 37 to 24.4 percent from the floor and outrebounded them 39-29. Xavier shot a season-best 92.3 percent from the line, making 12-of-13, and beat William Carey for the 19th consecutive time at The Barn. Xavier leads the series 48-19. The teams will meet again on January 30 at William Carey.

Xavier's next game will start at 2 p.m. Saturday at The Barn against NAIA No. 21 Shorter.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

This Week
at The Barn
Saturday, December 3 — Women's Basketball vs. Shorter, 2 p.m. live webcast live stats 
Saturday, December 3 — Men's Basketball vs. Concordia (Ala.), 4 p.m. live webcastlive stats

Xavier's Nick Haywood selected GCAC Player of the Week

Nick Haywood
NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana's Nick Haywood is the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Week in men's basketball for Nov. 21-27.

Haywood, a 6-foot junior guard from Monroe, La., and a graduate of Ouachita High School, scored 26 points and made seven 3-pointers Saturday in Xavier's 78-67 loss at Wiley. The points were the most by a Gold Rush player since Michael Harvey scored 27 at home against Tougaloo on Feb. 8, 2010, and the 3-pointers were the most since Mark Stewart made a school-record-tying eight at Mobile on March 7, 2008.

Haywood, who did not start against Wiley, played 29 minutes and was 7-of-17 from the floor and 7-of-13 on 3-pointers. He made all five of his free throws.

This is Haywood's first year at Xavier after playing at NCAA Division I Houston the past two seasons. Through five games he ranks third on the Gold Rush with 9.4 points per game and leads the team with nine made 3-pointers. He averages 17.5 minutes.

The Gold Rush have earned two GCAC player awards this season. Junior forward Denzell Erves received the other for Oct. 31-Nov. 6.

Xavier, 4-1 and ranked 21st in NAIA Division I, will play twice at home this week — against city rival Loyola at 7:30 tonight and against Concordia (Ala.) at 4 p.m. Saturday.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

This Week
at The Barn
Saturday, December 3 — Women's Basketball vs. Shorter, 2 p.m. live webcast live stats 
Saturday, December 3 — Men's Basketball vs. Concordia (Ala.), 4 p.m. live webcastlive stats

Southern Mississippi Falls to Florida A&M Lady Rattlers, 77-66

Hattiesburg, Mississippi - Florida A&M women's basketball team got 25-second chance points off 23 offensive rebounds as the Lady Rattlers defeated Southern Miss 77-66 Tuesday night.

Southern Miss (2-4) placed three players in double figure scoring led by Tanecka Carey with 16 points followed Jamierra Faulkner with 15 points to go with 10 assists and Sedreka Plummer added 10 points.

Qiana Donald led all scorers with a game-high 20 points for Florida A&M (2-4) followed by Antonia Bennett and Tameka McKelton with 15 points apiece and Keturah Martin added 13.

FAMU out-rebounded the Lady Eagles 51-39 with Donald pulling down a game-high 17 boards that included 10 offensive rebounds. Southern Miss managed to score 40 points in the paint and get 21 points off 25 FAMU turnovers. The Lady Eagles struggled from the free throw line, converting only 4-of-10 shots.

Southern Miss trailed by as many as 27 points, 56-29, early in the second half as FAMU ...


'Mayor' Hickman a large figure for Winston Salem Rams

WINSTON SALEM, North Carolina - By the kickoff Saturday, the race cars and the oak leaves were long gone, leaving Bowman Gray Stadium awash in red.  Red T-shirts. Red sweatshirts. Red uniforms with black shoulders. Red caps. Even red shoes.

The Winston-Salem State Rams wear red when they’re wearing out CIAA rivals, and they wore red while beating California University of Pennsylvania 35-28 in the school’s first NCAA home playoff game since 1991. At least 7,000 of the 7,645 witnesses had some red threads showing somewhere on the breezy November afternoon, a scene that begged for a windy politician.

The Rams, rallying the football base, bypassed the certified office holders and nominated Ced Hickman, the senior running back they laughingly (and perhaps lovingly) call “The Mayor of Winston-Salem.” Hickman has no verifiable ties to the elected mayor, Allen Joines, but he grew up in Winston-Salem and played for North Forsyth High.

Podcast of WSSU Rams vs. California U (Pa.) Vulcans Division II Playoff
Watch live streaming video from wssu at

NEXT GAME: WSSU RAMS vs. NEW HAVEN CHARGERS, Saturday, December 3rd at 12:00 PM in Bowman Gray Stadium in the NCAA Super Region One Final, WINSTON SALEM, N.C. 


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turnout for Bayou Classic smallest in history

NEW ORLEANS — This year’s meeting between Grambling and Southern was hardly the most exciting in the 38-year history of the Bayou Classic.

Maybe the fans knew something beforehand. Only 40,175 of them filed into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to watch Grambling pound Southern in the second half for a 36-12 win Saturday.

It was the smallest crowd in Bayou Classic history, and a far cry from 2000-04, when the average attendance was 70,198. The previous low was set last season, when 43,494 people came to the Superdome to watch the Jaguars lose 38-17 and finish with a 2-9 record, the worst in school history.


KEYS: Southern University season ends with a thud. What now?

Baton Rouge, Lousiana -- Twenty-one months ago, when the Southern University System Board of Supervisors approved a three-year contract for Stump Mitchell, one of its members had a question.

Darren Mire, then the board’s vice chairman, wondered aloud why Mitchell’s contract included a $10,000 bonus for winning the Bayou Classic — the same amount Mitchell would receive for winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference title.

Greg LaFleur, then the school’s athletic director, had an easy answer. “Because if you don’t win that game, you’re liable to get fired,” LaFleur said with a laugh. Mitchell has coached in two Bayou Classics since then. Last year, Grambling thumped the Jaguars 38-17.


2011 Bayou Classic Battle of the Bands: 'World Famous' Grambling State Tigers vs. Southern University Human Juke Box

Videographer: Realwidit5's

Videographer: garrett1216's, DaEdge1 Productions

Videographer: BestBelieveDat2dat |

Lady Hurricanes stumble vs. FVSU

COLUMBUS, Georgia — A 11-point lead and domination on the glass couldn’t lift the Lady Hurricanes to victory on Sunday. Instead, 30 turnovers helped Fort Valley State roar back and stun Georgia Southwestern 66-61 on Sunday at Columbus State in the Peach Belt/SIAC Challenge.

“We didn’t shoot very well, and we just turned the ball over on some poor decisions,” said coach Kelly Britsky. “We allowed ourselves to get frustrated, and when they got back in the game we couldn’t convert any shots. To put it very lightly, we’re extremely upset and it’s hard getting over it.”

GSW (6-1) shot 28 percent and committed 19 turnovers in the second half as a 33-22 first-half lead evaporated four minutes into the second half. Fort Valley (1-2) led by as many as six when GSW answered ...


Winston Salem State Rams are going where no CIAA team has gone before

Winston Salem, North Carolina -- I guess it’s time to pose the question about this year’s Winston-Salem State Rams football team. There have been a lot of great CIAA teams in its history but is this WSSU team the best ever?

It’s certainly a valid question because now that the Rams have beaten California (Pa.) 35-28 on Saturday afternoon in front of nearly 8,000 fans they will venture into unknown territory.

No CIAA school has ever gone to the Division II quarterfinals, but the Rams are there and will get to play another home game this Saturday at noon against New Haven (Conn.).

The 12-0 Rams have the most wins in school history in a season and coach Connell Maynor is now 20-2 over two seasons. Maynor, who never turns down a chance to brag about his team, was in full throat afterward. He gave his thoughts on where this Rams team ranks in WSSU history.


Dillard Volleyball Head Coach Yolanda Brown Named Finalist for HBCU Female Coach of the Year

Coach Yolanda Brown
New Orleans, Louisiana -- It is with great honor that our Dillard University Athletic Department announce that Women's Head Volleyball Coach Yolanda Brown was named a finalist for Female Coach of the Year by The Center for HBCU Media Advocacy, Inc. last week.

Winners will be announced at the Second Annual HBCU Awards, which will be held on the campus of Bowie State University. Nominees for the Female Coach of the Year award will have demonstrated a winning conference record in her respective sport and exemplary ambassadorship for her institution during the 2010-11 academic year.

During the 2010-11 season, Coach Brown's volleyball team finished with an overall record of 20-11, including 5-1 in the GCAC Conference. The Lady Bleu Devils team also captured the GCAC Regular Season Conference title, the GCAC Conference Tournament title and secured a NAIA National Volleyball Tournament berth, all being the volleyball program's first since 2003.

"I was honored and overwhelmed actually," said Coach Brown when asked of her impressions of being nominated. "I received the news via text messaging, so it was shocking, yet humbling and I felt very grateful that someone took the time to acknowledge my efforts and body of work."

The HBCU award nominations is a three-month process in which the HBCU Media Advocacy, Inc. goes through more than 1,300 entries submitted by administrators, students, alumni, faculty and supporters of HBCUs throughout the country. A panel of HBCU chancellors and presidents then names the finalists and winners.

"We were lucky to have such widespread support and participation for our inaugural awards in March of this year," said Jarrett L. Carter Sr., Founder and Executive Director of the Center. "Schools took this year's nomination process very seriously, and combining that with the feedback we received on our last effort, we're proud to show off a slate of nominees and a ceremony that will represent the best of HBCU culture."

During her current tenure in the Dillard Athletic Department, Coach Brown has shown an unflagging determination to restore a winning pedigree back into Dillard's Volleyball team, and as a staff member restoring prestige back to the department.

"Since Hurricane Katrina, our athletic department's goal has been to regain the prominence in all sports," said Coach Brown. "And with our volleyball program being the first conference champion following the storm shows what we have accomplished and the direction we are head in. It's only the start for bigger and better things to come for our athletic department."

Coach Brown has proven excellent ambassadorship and community engagement as Head Volleyball Coach at Dillard University, which is also a criteria for her nomination for this award.

Coach Brown has been instrumental in developing "DU Pink Night", which is a game night to acknowledge Breast Cancer Awareness as well as an all out effort to enlighten and alert students and fans of the symptoms of breast cancer, where to go locally for check-ups and how to reduce the possibly of getting breast cancer in our young adults.

Brown has also developed a "Faculty, Staff and Administrators Night", acknowledging those faculty, staff and administrators that don't always get the credit or recognition for the hard work that they do to academically challenge our student-athletes to help shape them into the best overall person he/she knows they can be before they leave college.

Brown's latest project is organizing and developing a volleyball skills club for underprivileged girls ages 10-13 throughout the Orleans and Jefferson parishes.

"We are building a consistent winner with all sports in our athletic department," said Coach Brown. "I'm only doing what I feel I've been destined to do. I appreciate the acknowledgements and nominations because it will always let me know the importance of my effort and the positive impact I can make in these kid's lives.

By Dillard University Sports Information

Humor Me


Grambling relishes SWAC West crown

Grambling, Louisiana -- When the coaches in the Southwestern Athletic Conference picked the Grambling State Tigers to win the Western Division championship, they probably expected it to be a smooth ride.

It certainly was anything but smooth for Doug Williams’ group, but they will play for the SWAC title against Alabama A&M on Dec. 10 in Birmingham, Ala., nonetheless.

“This team, what they have responded to, what they have done over the last six weeks, to me, they’ve written their own legacy, their own history,” Williams said during his weekly news conference Monday. “To get off the floor and do what they’ve done shows a lot of character and a lot of heart from a lot of young guys.”


Paine stays atop SIAC standings

Augusta, Georgia - After a season-opening loss to city rival Augusta State, Paine has bounced back with a vengeance. Kedric Taylor posted a game-high 17 points Monday night and the Lions fended off Kentucky State down the stretch, 61-57.

Paine extended its winning streak to three games and retained its spot atop the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings.

The Lions (3-1) are undefeated in conference play at 3-0 and enjoy a stay in first place, though it’s early – there’s 21 league games remaining. Paine coach Jimmy Link credited his team’s 15-point defeat to the Jaguars for the Lions’ improvement.

“Augusta State is really good,” Paine coach Jimmy Link said. “We took that game and really moved on with it.”


Whitted finishing up WSSU book

Winston Salem, North Carolina -- It has been said that timing is everything. Fred Whitted certainly hopes so.  Whitted has a new book scheduled to be completed Thursday — "The Rams House," about the history of Winston-Salem State athletics.

The book includes a section on WSSU's winning its ninth CIAA football title earlier this month and is scheduled to be finished two days before the undefeated Rams play in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Whitted, a 1975 graduate of WSSU who lives in Fayetteville, already has written several books on black college history. He was so intent on finishing this book, which he has been working on since April, that he didn't attend Saturday's playoff victory against California (Pa.) at Bowman Gray Stadium.

Invoking Memories of Rattler Past

Tallahassee, Florida -- I invoke the memories of Rattler past and for me there are many. For as long as I can remember I have officially been a FAMU Rattler. No, I didn’t grow up attending FAMU DRS, I never had an immediate family member work on The Hill, nor did I play sports at FAMU, though I once considered it.

Almost from the time I was born I attended Ratter football games and later in life practically every other FAMU sporting event including tennis and womens volleyball. I will not say my memory is perfectly correct, so you need not correct me if I get something wrong. The most important thing is to relate these past memories to the present.

Yes, I followed Coach Jake Gaither from the latter days of Bob Hayes to Coach Gaither’s latter days as a retired coach and athletic director. I can still visualize John Eason, Major Hazleton, Kent Schoolfield, Jumping Joe Williams (one of my favorites), Hubert Ginn, Glenn Edwards, Henry Lawrence, Earl Goodrum, James Owens, and this list goes on. I remember seeing then quarterback ...


Norfolk State Spartans are Number One

Norfolk, Virginia -- Guess who is at the top of the list with the toughest schedule to-date in the NCAA Division 1 Mens Basketball?

That’s right, a team that a year ago would barely be considered a mid-major, the Norfolk State Spartans of Virginia has played one of the toughest schedules in November and still has a winning record. In fact, their two losses have come from the fairly dominant Marquette, who has not lost a game early in the season. That second loss to Marquette was a close one with Norfolk losing 59-57 in the championship game of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.

Prior to the Marquette loss Norfolk defeated Drexel 61-59 and Texas Christian 66-53 to get to the championship. Norfolk also has a win over Eastern Kentucky.


Monday, November 28, 2011

FAMU football seeks fifth home game

Derek Horne
FAMU Athletics Director

Tallahassee, Florida -- FAMU football coach Joe Taylor just might get his wish for five home games if athletic director Derek Horne could get final contractual agreements to complete a proposed 2012 schedule that would include two important non-conference games.

Horne said Sunday he is in agreement with a five-game home schedule. He also confirmed that talks are underway to revive FAMU's rivalry game against Tennessee State University and possibly play another regional FCS team.

In addition to creating opportunities for potential corporate supporters to advertise inside Bragg Stadium, Horne said having more non-conference FCS teams on FAMU's schedule will help its case for postseason consideration. He's looking at programs that would be competitive as well.

Norfolk State Holds Off EKU, 70-63

NORFOLK, Va. – Host Norfolk State shot 65.7 percent from the field on its way to a 70-63 win over the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team Sunday afternoon in Echols Hall.

Norfolk State improved to 4-2 overall, its best start since the 1995-96 season. The Colonels now stand at 3-4. Spartan center Kyle O’Quinn, the MEAC Preseason Player of the Year, posted his fifth straight double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds. The 6-10 senior also added five blocked shots.

Four players posted double-figure points for Eastern Kentucky led by senior guard Joshua Jones with 13 tallies. Fellow senior Jaron Jones added 10 points and a team-high four rebounds.

Norfolk State ran off seven straight points midway through the first half to take the lead for good, 16-9. The Spartans went ahead by 11 points following a Marcos Tamares three-point play, 28-17. However, the Colonels chipped away at the deficit and trailed by just four points at the break, 38-34, thanks to a Jaron Jones jumper right before the halftime buzzer.

Box Score


Sunday, November 27, 2011

NFL's Saints to honor XU alum, journalist Champ Clark

Peter W. "Champ" Clark
NEW ORLEANS — Two-time Xavier University of Louisiana graduate Peter W. "Champ" Clark is one of 10 New Orleans sports journalists and publicists honored by the New Orleans Saints with press-box plaques in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Saints spokesman Justin Macione said the plaques will be displayed on the third row of the press box in time for the Saints' Monday home game against the New York Giants.

Clark, who died in 2006 at age 92, received bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Xavier. He was a pioneering and award-winning African-American journalist, writing for a variety of publications and doing play-by-play of XU basketball games on radio.

The Saints Hall of Fame awarded Clark in 2001 with its Joe Gemelli Fleur De Lis Award for contributions to the franchise.

"My dad was the whole nine yards," Clark's son Mark said. "He was gumbo, he was French bread, he was a snowball, and he was a neighbor sitting on your front porch. He never stopped trying to figure out ways to improve our city."

Bill Curl, Buddy Diliberto, Peter Finney, Hap Glaudi, Wayne Mack, Bruce Miller, Bob Roesler, Jerry Romig and Frank Wilson are the Saints' other honorees.

By Ed Cassiere, SID

Nic Cooper's three touchdowns lead Winston-Salem State over California (Pa.) 35-14 in Division II playoffs

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Clinton native Nic Cooper scored three touchdowns to help Winston-Salem State defeat California (Pa.) 35-28 on Saturday in the NCAA Division II playoffs. The 12-0 Rams built a 35-14 lead early in the second half. Neither team scored in the fourth quarter.

Cooper scored on a 6-yard run in the first quarter and on 1-yard runs in the second and third quarters. He carried the ball 20 times for 118 yards.

California quarterback Peter Lalich threw two touchdown passes to Lamont Smith in the third quarter after the Rams had taken the 35-14 lead. Lalich threw for 387 yards but also was intercepted three times.


One down, three to go

Third-ranked Winston-Salem State was very comfortable in the Division II playoffs Saturday afternoon.  WSSU did what it needed to in a second-round game against 17th-ranked California (Pa.) and won 35-28 in front of nearly 8,000 at Bowman Gray Stadium. WSSU improved to 12-0 and advanced to a home quarterfinal next Saturday against New Haven.

"We're not finished," said running back Nic Cooper, who rushed for 118 yards on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns. "We've got three more games to play."

The 12 wins are a school record for victories in a season, and the quarterfinal playoff berth is the first for a CIAA program. The Rams also snapped the CIAA's nine-game losing streak in the playoffs. Coach Connell Maynor's team had not faced much adversity in a season in which it set the school scoring record, but that changed Saturday.


Cal comeback falls short

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The Division II playoff run for California, Pa., ended Saturday as third-ranked Winston-Salem State held on for a 35-28 victory in the second round. The Vulcans finish their season 10-3 thanks to too many turnovers and not enough offense when it mattered most.

The Rams (12-0) were making their first playoff appearance in 20 years and carved out a 35-14 lead early in the third quarter. However, the Vulcans came roaring back behind quarterback Peter Lalich with two touchdowns in a span of three minutes.

"The biggest thing we are proud of is how hard we fought in the second half," said Cal offensive coordinator Mike Kellar. "We looked like we wouldn't be able to be stopped there in the third quarter, but in the fourth quarter we had some fluke things happen."


Black colleges' survival hinges on unity and collaboration

CNN's Soledad O'Brien
New Orleans -- If historically black colleges are going to survive, they're going to have to step up their collaboration, not only with schools and communities but also with one another, a panel of educators and policymakers said Friday in New Orleans. Three of the four speakers emphasized the importance of working with high schools and community colleges to prepare students academically and to ease the transition to four-year colleges and universities.

While Grambling State University President Frank Pogue didn't disagree, he said that, in a climate of dwindling public appropriations and skepticism about the continuing value of historically black institutions of higher learning, no school can afford to be alone.

"We have to come together," he said. "That is our responsibility to our students and to our future students -- to keep them engaged."

The discussion, led by CNN's Soledad O'Brien, was one of a daylong series of roundtable talks at the Hyatt Regency Hotel leading up to today's Bayou Classic pitting Southern University against Grambling in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Schools such as Southern and Grambling, which are commonly known as HBCUs, were founded when segregation was the norm.


Grambling defeats Southern for fourth Bayou Classic win in row

New Orleans, Louisiana -- Southern Coach Stump Mitchell vowed to give Jaguars fans something to remember in Saturday’s State Farm Bayou Classic. However, it turned out to be more of what they have been accustomed to seeing lately, as Grambling State pummeled the Jaguars 36-12 for its fourth consecutive Classic victory before 40,715 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Mitchell said his team would be ready for Grambling after upsetting Alabama State two weeks ago on the road. However, the Jaguars’ (4-7, 4-5) margin of defeat to Grambling (7-4, 6-3) was second only to a 30-3 setback in 1986.

Grambling continued its recent domination of the series. The Tigers’ average margin of victory in its past four wins is 19.5 points, including last season’s 38-17 thrashing. “They took our running game away, and we weren’t able to establish a passing game,’’ Mitchell said.


Cliff Exama leads the way for Grambling defense

Grambling linebacker Cliff Exama wanted his final game against rival Southern in the State Farm Bayou Classic to be special.

And he delivered.  Exama had an interception, a sack and led the Tigers with seven tackles in Grambling’s dominating 36-12 victory Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Grambling’s defense held Southern to minus 31-yards rushing and forced seven sacks.

Exama, in his final year of eligibility and listed on Grambling’s roster as a graduate student, is a returning All-SWAC selection and has been vital in the Tigers’ six-game winning streak after they started the season at 1-4. With Saturday’s win, Grambling clinched a berth to the Dec. 10 SWAC championship game against Alabama A&M in Birmingham, Ala.


In the end, Norfolk State faced a killer foe: Itself

NORFOLK, Virginia -- Chris Walley never saw it coming. Neither did Norfolk State. The end of the Spartans' season was sealed on their first possession of the second half.  Trailing by 14, Norfolk State moved to the ODU 24. The Spartans found a mix of runs and passes that had been elusive. Walley, the quarterback, found his groove. The Monarchs helped out with a roughing-the-passer penalty.

Walley recognized Old Dominion's defense, and audibled accordingly. As he went up and down the line to deliver the call, center Michael Kay didn't realize the quarterback had moved. He snapped the ball while Walley's eyes were focused downfield.

The first-down snap rolled 22 yards into the backfield, where running back Randy Maynes fell on it. A blocked field goal followed, then an ODU touchdown and - after another half of football - the end of Norfolk State's best Division I season.


Photos | Old Dominion takes on Norfolk State at Foreman Field

Several on ODU and NSU football teams are old friends

NORFOLK, VA -- Norfolk State and Old Dominion are meeting for the first time. Marcus Cooperwood and Reid Evans aren't.  After meeting at a high school all-star game five years ago, Norfolk State's Cooperwood, a cornerback from Bethel, and ODU's Evans, a receiver from Phoebus, met often at a small field in front of a church near Darling Stadium.

They ran routes against and have continued working out together ever since.
This year, they brought their teammates along. No. 10 ODU and No. 19 NSU, first-round opponents in the FCS playoffs, spent the summer in 7-on-7 competition, focused on improving each other and moving impromptu games between the two campuses.

"Obviously, we didn't see this happening," Cooperwood said of Saturday's game. "Me and Reid work out in the summer and do one-on-ones to fine-tune our games. We brought it up to our teams and both guys were good with it. There ain't no drama between us. It's all mutual love."


ODU's first playoff win sends penalty-laden Norfolk State home

NORFOLK, VA — Even as he watched the 98-yard touchdown happen, Ronnie Cameron was forgetting about it.

"We always have a mentality of, 'Play the next play,' " said Cameron, Old Dominion's senior defensive tackle and the Colonial Athletic Association defensive player of the year. "Things happen. Things have happened all year. We've just got to bounce back from it. That's what a resilient team does. That's what a mature team does.

"Don't let one play define the rest of the game."

ODU took those words to heart in a major way on Saturday as the Monarchs squared off against Norfolk State in the first meeting of the crosstown opponents, which also happened to be both teams' first appearance in the FCS playoffs.


Roaring success for first-ever Crosstown Showdown

NORFOLK, Virginia -- Gene Thomas II and three fellow Norfolk State football fans intended to join a Spartans tailgate party on the west side of Old Dominion's Foreman Field early Saturday afternoon. They were detained as they walked on the east side, however, by the kindness of strangers - a gaggle of ODU fans offering pregame food, drinks and good-natured banter.

And so loyal Spartans stayed put among proud Monarchs as time ticked toward the so-called Crosstown Showdown, an NCAA playoff game at the Football Championship Subdivision level.

"Sportsmanship has arrived in Norfolk," said Thomas, a former NSU marching band member and a music teacher at Portsmouth's I.C. Norcom High.


Photo Gallery: View all 20 photos

Xavier's Haywood makes seven 3s, but Wiley wins by 11

MARSHALL, Texas — Christopher Tolbert scored nine of his 14 points in the final 10½ minutes Saturday to help Wiley pull away for a 78-67 men's basketball victory against NAIA No. 21 Xavier University of Louisiana.

The Wildcats (3-2) avenged a 64-60 loss at Xavier from one week ago and spoiled an outstanding performance by Gold Rush guard Nick Haywood, who made seven 3-pointers and scored 26 points

Xavier (4-1) never led after the second minute and trailed by 13 in the first half. The Gold Rush tied the score for the third and final time on Haywood's 3-pointer with 11:19 remaining — that made it 53-all — but Tolbert answered with three consecutive 3-pointers to give Wiley a 73-61 lead at 3:54. The Wildcats shut out Xavier in the final three minutes and defeated the Gold Rush for the fifth straight time at Alumni Gymnasium in six seasons.

Haywood, a junior in his first XU season after transferring from NCAA Division I Houston, was the only Gold Rush player to reach double figures. He scored eight points in the previous three games but had 14 by halftime. Haywood is the first to reach 25 points for Xavier since February 2010 and the first to make seven 3-pointers since Mark Stewart made a school-record-tying eight at Mobile in March 2008.

Cordell Hadnot had nine points and eight rebounds for Xavier, and Kevin Miller grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds. Xavier made a season-best 10 3-pointers in 22 attempts — Miller, Chris Iles and Wanto Joseph made the other treys — but Xavier made 23.5 percent of its 2-pointers and finished at a season-low 32.1 percent overall.

Graylin Smith had 13 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots for Wiley. Richard Simon scored 12 points, and Freddie Haynes had 10.

Smith's basket at 6:43 of the first half gave Wiley a 34-21 lead, but Xavier made 10-of-12 free throws to cut the Wildcats' advantage to 43-36 by halftime.

Wiley shot 51.8 percent from the floor against a Xavier team which ranked fourth in NAIA Division I in field-goal percentage defense. The Gold Rush limited the Wildcats to 37.5 percent one week ago.

It was the first time in 33 games that Xavier lost despite making more free throws than its opponent. The Gold Rush were 21-of-31, and Wiley was 14-of-27.

Xavier's next game will start at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Barn against city rival Loyola in a webcast.

By Ed Cassiere, SID

What I learned on the field with the FAMU marching band

Editor’s note: Dereyck Moore is currently employed by NBA digital and previously worked for CNN Digital. Moore is a graduate of Florida A&M University. He was a member of the FAMU Marching 100 band from 1990 to 1994

By Dereyck Moore, Special to CNN

(CNN) - The tragic death of Robert Champion, drum major for the famed Florida A&M University marching band, weighs on me. I never knew Robert personally. I never shook his hand or carried on a conversation with this young man. But his death has touched me as if I had lost a member of my immediate family - because I have.

I was a member of the FAMU band 20 years ago, and the news of his death traveled among my band mates, through those who marched before me and long after I was gone. It’s sad and shocking to hear his death might be related to hazing by members of the band.

I have always looked upon my beloved FAMU Marching 100 band and many other historically black college and university - HBCU - marching bands with pride. That pride has been shaken to its core by the investigation into the death of a member of our family, my family - a young man just like me.

(Videographer: TheOProductions1907)


XU Gold Nuggets lead from start to finish against Holy Names

NEW ORLEANS -- Jasmine Grant scored 15 points Friday to lead four starters in double figures in Xavier University of Louisiana's 73-49 women's basketball victory against Holy Names in the Xavier Classic.

Grant, a senior guard who suffered a season-ending knee injury during the final day of this event a year ago, also had five rebounds, three assists and four steals.

SiMon Franklin and Brandi Young scored 12 points apiece for the Gold Nuggets (5-3), ranked 16th in NAIA Division I, and Jazmoné Kelly had 11 points, a season best, eight rebounds and five steals. Young had a season-high seven assists.

Xavier never lost the lead after scoring the first six points. The Gold Nuggets led 34-25 at halftime, and the final margin was their largest of the game.

Sarah Kilewer scored 16 points and Souljah Evans 15 for Holy Names (4-8). Both scored 11 first-half points.

Kelly and Franklin scored four points apiece in a 12-0 run which gave Xavier a 49-33 lead with 13:13 remaining. Holy Names never got closer than 11 points thereafter.

The Gold Nuggets, who entered the game shooting 37.1 percent from the floor, shot a season-best 49.2 percent -- 57.1 in the second half -- and limited the Hawks to 31.7 percent. Xavier gained 37 turnovers.

Both Xavier and Holy Cross finished 1-1 in the eight-team, two-day event. Rust defeated Mobile 62-61, Tuskegee defeated Texas College 66-52, and Langston beat Dillard 55-42 in Friday's other games. Tuskegee and Langston were the only teams to win both their games. Rust and Dillard were 1-1, and Mobile and Texas College were 0-2.

Xavier's next game will start at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday against William Carey at The Barn in a webcast.

By Ed Cassiere, SID

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Much is at stake for Grambling and Southern in Bayou Classic

New Orleans, Louisiana -- When Grambling plays Southern today in the 38th annual State Farm Bayou Classic, there will be more at stake than bragging rights. With a victory today at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Grambling can clinch a berth to the Dec. 10 SWAC championship game in Birmingham, Ala..

If Southern (4-6, 4-4) wins, it would force a four-way tie for first place in the Western Division with Grambling, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Prairie View.

Under that scenario, Arkansas-Pine Bluff would gain the berth in the conference championship because it went 2-1 against Grambling, Southern and Prairie View.


GAME TIME: 2:30 p.m. ET

GSU goes for SWAC title shot

The 38th Bayou Classic is, in a sense, both a championship game and a championship game qualifier.

A Grambling win puts the Tigers in the Dec. 10 Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship Game, something that seemed like a pipe dream after a 1-4 start.

"We were shaky coming out of the gate, but we kept the faith and overcame adversity," said GSU center Julian Wyndon, a Captain Shreve product. "We subconsciously knew we'd be here. We kept winning and kept working hard."

Subsconsciously or otherwise, GSU (6-4, 5-3) needs only a win today over Southern in the 1:30 p.m. kickoff to play in the title game.


Friday, November 25, 2011

ASU athletic director talks about program's future

Montgomery, Alabama -- The steel beams are visible to motorists who commute on Inter­state 85 every morning, a reminder that things are changing at Alaba­ma State University.

The $50 million football stadi­um that is entering its second phase of construction between Hall Street and Forest Avenue on the east side of the campus is the most noteworthy change to the Hornets' athletic program, but there are plenty of other changes, both in personnel and facilities.

Early last week, ASU athletic director Stacy Danley sat down with the Montgomery Advertiser to discuss his vision for the Hornets' athletic program ...


Turkey Day Classic -- Alabama State 30, Tuskegee 21: Hornets withstand Golden Tigers' rally

Montgomery, Alabama -- The Turkey Day Classic wouldn't be a classic without some drama.

Alabama State put together its best first half of the season, then withstood a furious second-half rally before scoring late to hold off Tuskegee 30-21 in front of 18,587 fans at Cramton Bowl on Thursday.

For the Golden Tigers (4-6), it was a missed opportunity to avoid their first losing season since 2003. For Alabama State (8-3), it was a chance to snap a two-game losing streak in the series and end the season on a positive note after two late-season losses ruined its hopes of playing in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship Game.

"This was our Super Bowl," ASU senior tailback Tim Clark said. "We don't get to go to the SWAC Championship (Game), so we wanted to come out with a good effort and finish strong."


Turkey Day Classic highlights: Alabama State vs. Tuskegee (Video courtesy ASU)

Langston rolls past XU in matchup of ranked NAIA teams

NEW ORLEANS — Ayanna Jackson scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half Thursday to lead NAIA No. 19 Langston to a 59-44 women's basketball victory against No. 16 Xavier University of Louisiana in the Xavier Classic.

The Lady Lions (6-0) snapped the 14-game home win streak of the Gold Nuggets (4-3).

Kimberly Jones and Shontice Simmons scored 12 points apiece for Langston, and Tayla Vaughn scored 10. Jones grabbed 11 rebounds.

SiMon Franklin scored eight points for Xavier, which never led. Langston took the lead for good in the second minute and limited Xavier's two leading scorers this season, Jasmine Grant and Keldra Hall,.to a combined two points.

Baskets by Danielle Kennebrew, Brandi Young, Paige Rochelle and Dalila Robinson in a 9-2 run helped Xavier cut Langston's lead to 28-25 by halftime. But Langston started the second half with a 12-4 run, including 3-pointers by Jackson and Simmons, to take a 40-29 lead with 14:21 remaining. The Gold Nuggets never got closer than seven points thereafter.

Kennebew's second of two consecutive baskets trimmed Langston's lead to 52-44 with 3:13 remaining, but that was Xavier's final score. The Lady Lions made 7-of-8 free throws in a closing burst.

Xavier shot a season-low 30 percent from the floor. Langston shot 35.2 percent and had advantages of 46-38 in rebounds, 15-6 in made free throws and 6-2 in made 3-pointers. Jackson made three 3-pointers, and Langston limited Grant, Xavier's leading perimeter shooter, to 0-for-1 from behind the arc in a scorless 23 minutes.

Langston, a 62-47 loser to Xavier on the opening night of the Xavier Classic a year ago, gave the Gold Nuggets their biggest loss at The Barn since a 70-55 decision against SUNO on Feb. 12, 2007. It's the second time in 11 seasons that Xavier suffered a double-digit home defeat. Langston also snapped Xavier's seven-game Thanksgiving Day win streak and has won 31 of 34 since losing to the Nuggets in 2010.

Xavier has a two-game losing streak for the first time since the first week of January 2010.

In the other Xavier Classic games, Dillard defeated Rust 77-76 in overtime, Holy Names defeated Texas College 63-59, and Tuskegee beat Mobile 61-58.

Friday's games will match Rust vs. Mobile at noon, Tuskegee vs. Texas College at 2 p.m., Langston vs. Dillard at 4 p.m. and Xavier vs. Holy Names at 6 p.m in a webcast. Helen Cox will play Terrebonne in a high school girls game at 10:30 a.m.

Ed Cassiere, SID