Sunday, September 30, 2012

THE SHOW: Howard University "Showtime" Marching Band

Alabama A&M cruises to 38-17 victory over Grambling State

NORMAL, Alabama - Alabama A&M cruised to a 38-17 victory over Grambling State on Saturday night to remain undefeated. 

The Bulldogs (5-0) broke out to a 28-7 lead by halftime thanks to in part to three touchdown pass from quarterback Deaunte Mason. He completed touchdown passes of 32, 30 and 32 yards in the first half. The Bulldogs also got a 45-yard touchdown run from Kaderius Lacey. 

Alabama A&M scored two more times int he second half thants to a 31-yard field goald by Chance Wilson and a 19-yard touchdown run by Brendon Johnson.

Week 5 HBCU ScoreCard

The new Talladega College Tornadoes(GCAC) marching band performs in the 2012 Atlanta Football Classic Parade, 9/29/12. CIAA
Shaw 16, Virginia State 6
Chowan 27, Fayetteville State 3
Elizabeth City State 23, Saint Augustine's U. 21 (Down East Classic)
Livingstone 23, Virginia Union 21
Winston Salem State 35, Bowie State 3

Tennessee State 40, Arkansas Pine Bluff 13

Albany State (Ga.) 17, Kentucky State 14
Miles 50, Benedict 7
Morehouse 34, Clark-Atlanta U. 16
Stillman 32, Lane 22
Tuskegee 49, Fort Valley State 18

Langston (Ok.) 17, Southern Nazarene 14
Valdosta State 58, Edward Waters 10
Mercyhurst 36, Cheyney 10
Central State (Ohio) 23, William Jewell 21
Emporia State 37, Lincoln (Mo.) 26
West Virginia State 21, Seton Hill 13

Sam Houston State 50, Texas Southern 6 (Thursday game)
Southern U. 21, Florida A&M 14 (Atlanta Football Classic)
Alabama A&M 38, Grambling State 17
Alabama State 54, Alcorn State 14
Jackson State 34, Prairie View A&M 13

Morgan State 21, North Carolina A&T 18 (Thursday game)
South Carolina State 14, Norfolk State 0
Bethune-Cookman 38, Hampton 26
Howard 56, Savannah State 9
Southern U. 21, FAMU 14

Howard Grounds Out Easy Win Over Savannah State

Washington, DC — Aquanius Freeman rushed for a career-high 212 yards and two touchdowns to lead Howard to an easy 56-9 win over Savannah State University in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at Greene Stadium.  A 5-10 sophomore from New Orleans, La, Freeman averaged a single-game school-record 16.3 yards per carry, including a 71-yard jaunt.

A reserve, Freeman was starting for starter Terrence Leffall, and he made the most of it. Freeman got the Bison on the board first with a 16-yard scamper that gave Howard (3-1, 2-0 in the MEAC) the early 7-0 lead with 38 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

That opened the door for the Howard running game, which amassed 466 yards and nine yards per rush.  Senior Jarren Brown and junior quarterback Randy Liggins, Jr. got into the act, Brown on a one-yard dive and Liggins on runs of 12 and 29 yards during a seven minute stretch in the second quarter that put the game away.

"We established the run early," said Howard Coach Gary Harrell.  "Our offensive line, the running backs, and even the quarterback, did a great job running the ball today.  We played sound football and stuck to the fundamentals."

The Tigers (0-4, 0-2 in the MEAC) did manage to get on the board when Preston McCarthy capped off a 73-yard drive with a 33-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, the opportunistic Bison special teams made its presence felt for the fourth game this season, this time with senior safety DeCarlos Knight blocking his second punt attempt of the season.  Freshman LB Devin Rollins returned Knight's gift 23 yards for a TD to extend the lead, 35-3.

Savannah State got a boost from sophomore reserve quarterback Victorian Hardison who connected with Simon Heyward less than two minutes later to make it 35-9 at the 12:37 mark of the third period.  Hardison came off the bench to complete 12 of 24 passes for 137 yards and a TD.

"Howard did not do anything different. They are who they are, a solid football team," said SSU Coach Steve Davenport.  "There is nothing positive that we can take from this game.  No one tackled, no one blocked and they scored on offense, defense and special teams.  They beat us in all phases of the game."

Operating on a short field on their next possession, the Bison scored again, this time with senior fullback Justin Duncan punching it in from one-yard out.  A little more than two minutes later, freshman William Parker scored on a twisting, winding 46-yard run.

It seemed only fitting that Freeman who close out the scoring.  The 5-10, 195-pound sophomore from Stone New Orleans, La streaked 71 yards down the final score.

"All of the credit has to go to the offensive line," said Freeman.  "They did an outstanding job.  The strength of our team on offense is  to be able to run the ball effectively.  We did that today."

Parker finished with a career-high 87 yards on nine carries while Liggins (10 carries, 70 yards) and Terrence Tuscan (7 rushed for 51 yards) contributed to the game.

The 212 yards was the third highest in school history behind former All American Harvey Reed (260 vs Newberry in 1987) and Antoine Rutherford (230 vs Norfolk State on 11/01/03).

The 59 points was the most by a Howard team since the 1998 season against Morgan State.

"We preach ball control and execution and that was what we were able to accomplish today," said Liggins, who was 9 of 13 passes for 85 yards to go along with 70 yards rushing. Liggins has filled in admirably for starter Greg McGhee, who had to sit out his third game of the season.  He has yet to throw an interception this season.

Savannah State was led on offense by Sheldon Barnes (62 yards rushing on 14 carries), Hardison who added 30 yards rushing to his 137 yards passing and wide receiver Dylan Cook, who grabbed 5 passes for 72 yards.

GAME NOTES:The 59 points is the second highest in school history.  The Bison defeated Morgan State, 69-3 in 1998,..Keith Pough had a half tackle for a loss and now needs 3.5 to break the FCS record…the current 3-1 record is the best start for Howard since the 1993 season when the Bison went undefeated….It is also the last time that Howard has started the season, 2-0 in the MEAC.

NEXT UP:  Howard will host Florida A&M University next Saturday at 1 pm in Greene Stadium.


THE SHOW: Tennessee State University 2012 Homecoming

TSU rolls at homecoming

NASHVILLE, Tennessee  -  Tennessee State celebrated its 100th anniversary homecoming Saturday night, but the Tigers didn’t have much to celebrate until the offense finally joined the party.

And that didn’t happen until the second half when TSU scored four touchdowns in a stretch of 9:37 on the way to blowing out Arkansas-Pine Bluff 40-13.

A crowd of 31,765, an LP Field record for TSU, watched the Tigers improve to 5-0 for the first time since 2001.

“Being 5-0 means a lot. It means we’ve already won as many games this year as we won all of last year,” said TSU coach Rod Reed, who in his third season.

“That’s an accomplishment within itself, but it’s still a long season. We’ve still got six football games to play and we’re going into the meat of our schedule right now and facing a tough, tough Eastern Kentucky team next week.”

It was the Tigers’ most lopsided victory of the season, but they actually trailed 13-12 to the Golden Lions (3-2) at the midway point in the third quarter.

The fireworks began for TSU after that.

Seven Quotes That Describe This Week’s MEAC/SWAC Games

Dwight FloydWeekly Commentary
“In seven days God made the heavens and the earth.”(Bible) That’s how people must feel right now about the Southern Jaguars.  Never has there been such a quick turn-around from a team that was winless, 0-3, yet in 7 days the Southern Jaguars found a convincing way to beat a legit Jackson State team in Mississippi. Their game today against the FAMU Rattlers won’t have a bearing on the conference race, but it will have a major impact on the overall record and the psyche of the team. Jaguar fans should not be ready to label interim coach Odum as Moses, the prophet who has come to take them to the promise land. It is exciting though just to know that there is talent on this team and hope for the season. The Jaguars should not win this game simply because Odum had two weeks to prepare while FAMU’s Joe Taylor has been coaching his team for 5 years. FAMU is at a disadvantage in one respect, it doesn’t have the Marching 100, so at half time it will be the Human Jukebox versus Joe Bullard and the cast of stars—Chaka Khan and Future. This is a made for television game of the week and you couldn’t write a better script. I’ll be watching this one on NBC – 3:30 P.M. EST.

“It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” (Dan Cook – broadcaster) Okay, I know that these are insensitive words. Consider that this phrase actually alludes to the “fat lady” in opera. In any case don’t count Grambling out. Today at 7:00 P.M. EST, they play the hot Alabama A&M Bulldogs, who have yet to lose a game. This would not be the first time the rambling Tigers started out slow and ended up Grambling Tigers in the conference championship game. If you live anywhere close to Huntsville, Alabama, I recommend a road trip to watch this game.


XU's Howell and Flowers reach NAIA regional doubles final

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Xavier University of Louisiana's Kourtney Howell and Brion Flowers won two matches Saturday to reach the women's doubles final of the USTA/ITA NAIA South Regional. It will be the first time that the Gold Nuggets play for a regional championship.

Howell and Flowers built a 6-1 lead and held on for an 8-6 quarterfinal victory against Auburn Montgomery's third-seeded Chanel Cunningham and Tiffany William. Then the XU tandem defeated Brenau's Stephanie Moniz and Eline Nagels 8-5 in the semifinals.

Howell and Flowers will play AUM's top-seeded Jade Curtis and Morgane Zowczak for the championship on Sunday and a berth in the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships next month.

It's the second consecutive year that Xavier produced a regional finalist. The XU men won singles and doubles championships in 2011.

Howell, seeded third in singles, defeated Belhaven's Natalia Krier 6-0, 6-0 before losing 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 to AUM's sixth-seeded William in the quarterfinals. Flowers, seeded 10th, lost 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 to AUM's top-seeded Curtis in the round of 16.

More on this tournament will be posted online at

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Seven singles players from Xavier University of Louisiana advanced to the round of 16 Friday in the USTA/ITA NAIA South Regional.

Viktor Svoboda, Nikita Soifer and Amir Rahbar of the Gold Rush all won their matches 6-2, 6-1. Svoboda defeated Reinhardt's Nick Draghiceanu, Soifer beat Belhaven's Andres Cepede, and Rahbar defeated William Carey's Julian Arnowski.

In the women's division, XU's Brion Flowers defeated Reinhardt's Lindsay McCutcheon 6-1, 6-0, Kourtney Howell beat Loyola's Kanda Borgononi 6-0, 6-1, Jordyn Goody defeated Belhaven's Ashley McLendon 7-6 (7-1), 6-3, and Amber Brown beat Loyola's Frances Bonnin 6-0, 6-0.

Howell and Flowers advanced to the quarterfinals of women's doubles after their 8-1 victory against Loyola's Bonnin and Meghan DeBaroncelli.
More on this tournament will be posted online at

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Week 5, HBCU Football

Thursday FINALS
Morgan State 21, North Carolina A&T 18
Sam Houston State 50, Texas Southern 6

Arkansas Pine Bluff @ Tennessee State (Homecoming), 6pm

Alabama State @ Alcorn State, 3pm
Florida A&M vs. Southern (Atlanta Football Classic) 3:30 pm, NBC     Sports Network
Prairie View A&M @ Jackson State, 5pm
Grambling State@ Alabama A&M, 7pm ESPN3

Savannah State @ Howard, 1pm
Norfolk State @ South Carolina State, 2pm
FAMU vs. SU, Atlanta Football Classic, 3:30pm, NBC Sports Network
Bethune-Cookman @ Hampton, 6pm

West Virginia State @ Seton Hill, 12Noon
Mercyhurst @ Cheyney, 1pm
Lincoln (Mo.) @ Emporia State, 2pm
Central State (Ohio) @ William Jewell, 2pm
Edward Waters @ Valdosta State, 7pm
Southern Nazarene @ Langston (Ok.), 8pm

Fort Valley State @ Tuskegee, 2pm
Stillman @ Lane, 3 pm
Albany State @ Kentucky State, 5pm
Morehouse @ Clark-Atlanta, 6pm
Benedict @ Miles, 7pm

Winston-Salem State @ Bowie State, 1pm
Livingstone @ Virginia Union, 1pm
Saint Augustine's U @ Elizabeth City State, (Down East Classic), 4pm
Shaw @ Virginia State, 6pm
Fayetteville State @ Chowan, 6pm

NOTE:  We are taking a short road trip to Bowie State University today, to witness the battle with Winston-Salem State University.  We will catch up on the Blog postings later this evening.  Have a Great Day at an HBCU Football Game!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Akil Blount, son of Mel Blount, makes his own way at FAMU

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana  -  In the 1960s, Mel Blount made his mark as a top athlete in Southern history. Then, during 13 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he won four Super Bowls, became one of the best cornerbacks to ever play in the NFL and stands as the lone Jaguar in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
When his alma mater takes the field on Saturday in the Atlanta Classic, there will be a Blount wearing the familiar No. 47, but he’ll be on the opposite sideline.

His son, Akil Blount, will suit up for Florida A&M, where’s he’s a 6-foot-3, 225-pound freshman linebacker.

“I tried to talk to him about going to Southern, and we even talked with (former SU coach) Stump Mitchell at the time. But he just never wanted to get under that umbrella,” Blount said. “He wanted to go out and chart his own course and blaze his own trail.”

A bonus was playing for Earl Holmes, a former FAMU star who went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL (including six with the Steelers) before taking over his current role as the Rattlers’ defensive coordinator.


ECSU's McNeill continues to shine for Vikings

ROCKY MOUNT, North Carolina  -  Defenses put hard hit after hard hit on Elizabeth City State running back Daronte McNeill, hoping that just one of those hits will force the Vikings to put someone else in the game.

And more than the yards or touchdowns – of which there are plenty – that McNeill puts on opposing teams, the most deflating aspect of his game comes after the whistles: He keeps hopping back to his feet.

Defenders hit him hard. They hit him often. They try his legs and his torso. And each time he jumps up, unfazed and heads back to his huddle, ready to take another carry.

By the end of the game, it’s an exercise to determine who was punishing whom.

“No matter how hard they hit ...


TSU Tigers Battled Top Ranked Sam Houston

HOUSTON, Texas  -  Texas Southern played against the 9th ranked FCS team in the country, and Sam Houston played like they were one of the best teams in the nation.

TSU fans sensed it was going to be a long night when the Bearkats scored after two plays into their first drive.  SHSU scored again two possessions later on a 32 yard run by Trey Diller which gave Sam Houston a 14-0 advantage.

TSU freshman quarterback Justin Jones got into the game at the end of the first quarter.  In his second series under the center, he led the Tigers to their only touchdown of the game.  Jones hit James Davis on a 16 yard pass play for six points.  The extra point was blocked and returned for a defensive PAT.  TSU trailed 16-6.

Sam Houston scored three more times in the second quarter and ended the first half up 33-6.

They scored 17 points in the second half for a 50-6 win.

Quarterback Rudy Johnson started the game for TSU and completed 6 of 11 passes for 39 yards.  Jones had 4 of 6 passes caught for 67 yards and a touchdown.  James Davis had three catches for 37 yards and a score.  Fred Plummer had 1 catch for 38 yards.  Running back Edward Perkins-Loving had 23 yards on 15 carries.

Jarius Moore and LeTevin Wilcox were the defensive leaders for TSU.  Both had 9 tackles.  Moore also had a TFL.  Steven White recorded two tackles and an interception which he returned 37 yards.

The Tigers will regroup from this game and prepare for conference play.  Texas Southern heads to Montgomery, AL to face the Alabama State Hornets on Saturday, October 6th.  Kickoff is at 1:00pm


Texas Southern University's 'Ocean of Soul' suspended over hazing report

HOUSTON, Texas  -  Texas Southern University suspended its renowned Ocean of Soul marching band as officials investigate alleged hazing.

The incident was reported on Wednesday to school authorities, prompting a campus police investigation, a news release issued late Thursday said.

"While it is not known at this time how many students were involved in this incident, it is believed to involve one section of the band," the statement said, adding that school officials will "take appropriate action."

The suspension canceled Thursday's scheduled band performance at TSU's football game against Sam Houston State University at BBVA Compass Stadium. One band member who preferred not to be identified said members did not learn about the suspension until Thursday's pregame rehearsal on campus. At least a handful of Ocean of Soul members attended the game out of uniform.


Morgan State wins on TD pass with 10 seconds left

GREENSBORO, North Carolina. -  Morgan State's Andrew King caught a game-winning, 32-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone with 10 seconds remaining after quarterback Josh Council scrambled from trouble to give the Bears a 21-18 victory against North Carolina A&T on Thursday night.

The Bears drove 77 yards with no timeouts remaining, beginning the march with 1:43 to play in a dramatic Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener for both teams at Aggie Stadium.

The winning drive appeared doomed after the Bears reached the Aggies' 14-yard line with more than 35 seconds to play. An intentional grounding penalty and a 10-second run-off appeared to thwart momentum before the winning play.

But on the next play, Council hit King, who got behind the N.C. A&T defenders in the end zone.

"I saw the defense coming and I tried to make something happen with my feet," Council said. "I just threw it up and he caught it. Our work pays off."


Greensboro, N.C. -  Just when it seemed like N.C. A&T had the win wrapped up in the first nationally televised game at Aggie Stadium in five years, Morgan State snatched the victory away.

Bears quarterback Robert Council broke out of the pocket and heaved a ball toward Andrew King, who hauled it in with 10 seconds left to cap off a frenzied last-minute drive with a 32-yard touchdown pass to give Morgan State a 21-18 win over the Aggies on Thursday night.

Morgan State (2-2, 1-0 MEAC) got the ball back at its own 23 with 1:43 to go, and drove down to the Aggies' 14 on a 35-yard catch and run from Council to Travis Davidson with 38 seconds left.

Council took a bad snap and threw it away, but was flagged for intentional grounding because he was still inside the tackle box, moving the ball back to the 32 with 18 seconds to go, thanks to a 10-second runoff with the penalty.

Homecoming Week Activities Highlight TSU’s 100th Anniversary

NASHVILLE, Tennessee  (TSU News Service) – Inspired by the yearlong celebration of 100 years of achievement and tradition, Tennessee State University will welcome alumni, students, community members and friends to the University September 23-29 for Homecoming 2012.

Named A Centennial Homecoming, this year’s celebration will include many of the traditional events, but will also feature new activities geared toward celebrating the 100-year anniversary.

“I think for the community and the state, this is a real milestone for Nashville’s only public University,” said Portia Shields, TSU President. “It’s our opportunity to celebrate the past, but also look forward to the future as we move the University into a new era.”

While TSU has cherished and maintained certain Homecoming traditions, it has also moved forward across the century, finding new ways to celebrate pride in the institution, its students and its alumni. Innovations that have sprung up over the years include the parade, pep rally, Homecoming Court, tent parties and many additional campus activities.

“This year’s celebration is expected to be our biggest ever,” said Cassandra Griggs, Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. “We recognize that every year Homecoming is a special time at the University, but 2012 promises to be even larger because of our Centennial. This celebration promises to bring students, alumni and the campus community together to commemorate the University’s 100-year anniversary.”

This year’s student and alumni events include:  (EXCERPT)

Friday, Sept. 28
  • Breakfast of Champions, 8 a.m., Floyd Payne Campus Center, Kean Hall, $15 per person, $20 after 9/13/12
  • Charles Campbell Fish Fry, 11 a.m., Gentry Complex lawn, for tickets email
  • Homecoming Pep Rally, 11:45 a.m., Hale Stadium (Gentry Complex-Inclement Weather)
  • Gateway to Heritage Plaza Announcement, 3 p.m., Jefferson Street beneath I-40 overpass
  • TSU Pan-Hellenic Step Show, 4 p.m., Gentry Complex
  • 13th Annual Agriculture & Home Economics Hall of Fame, 7 p.m., Gaylord Opryland Resort, email for information
Saturday, Sept. 29
  • Homecoming Parade, 9 a.m., parade starts at Walter S. Davis Blvd.
  • Showcase of Bands, 11 a.m., Hale Stadium
    Homecoming Pre-Game Festivities, 4:45 p.m. LP Field
  • Homecoming Football Game, TSU vs Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 5 p.m., LP Field (Centennial Fireworks Show immediately following the game)
  • The Official TSUNAA Homecoming After Party, 9 p.m., Gaylord Opryland Resort, for more information
View the complete Homecoming Schedule including student, alumni and reunion events

Video Above: The Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands enters the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Theme Park in Orlando, Florida on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 to kick off the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade.  Videographer: Cass Teague 

97-year-old cheerleader will be on sidelines Tenn. State homecoming

NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- One of the Tennessee State University cheerleaders at the homecoming game Saturday will be somewhat more experienced than the others.

Burnece Walker Brunson is 97 years old.

Brunson told WKRN-TV she first cheered on the Tigers as a member of the university's cheerleading squad in 1934-35. She will suit up again for TSU's centennial homecoming game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Brunson said she won't be doing back flips, cart wheels or be part of a pyramid. She never did. Cheerleaders didn't do what Brunson calls that "fancy stuff" back then.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sam Houston State Bearkats Face Texas Southern Thursday Night in Houston

HOUSTON, Texas - There are three Southland Conference games on the schedule this week, including league openers for Lamar, Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern State. Lamar will play host to Southeastern Louisiana Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Toyota Game of the Week on the Southland Conference Television Network.

Stephen F. Austin welcomes Central Arkansas Saturday at 6 p.m. and Northwestern State visits McNeese State Saturday at 7 p.m. The only other conference game pits Sam Houston State at Texas Southern Thursday at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston at 7 p.m. Nicholls State is off this week before visiting Central Arkansas for its league opener Oct. 6.


Morgan State at N.C. A&T: This time, it's on national TV

GREENSBORO, North Carolina - N.C. A&T is opening MEAC play in style, on national television on ESPNU against Morgan State, which the Aggies beat last year for the first time since 2005.

Speaking of 2005, that's when the MEAC's current TV deal with ESPN started, and A&T's gone 0-5 in nationally televised games since then, losing by an average of about 40 points.

The Aggies, obviously, are hoping their fortunes turn tonight. And just maybe present ESPNU's viewers with a glimpse of a program on the rise.


NC A&T Pride Goes Nationwide On ESPNU


Greensboro, NC - North Carolina A&T State University plays on ESPNU for the first time.
According to school officials, it is A&T's 1st TV appearance in 2 years and the 1st at Aggie Stadium in 5 years.

The Aggie Football Team will face Morgan State University at 7:30PM.

Dr. Franklin McCain, one of the Greensboro / A&T Four, will be the Aggies' hornorary captain and will lead the team onto the field. The televised game will also host Grammy Award Winning Reording Artist Fantasia and other special guest.

XU's Franklin, Holcombe chosen preseason All-GCAC


  NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana's SiMon Franklin and Carmen Holcombe have been selected to the All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference preseason women's basketball team by the GCAC head coaches. The conference announced the team Wednesday.
Franklin, a 5-foot-7 senior guard from Baton Rouge, La., and a graduate of St. Joseph's Academy, was All-GCAC in 2011-12 and the MVP of the GCAC Tournament, which Xavier won 58-50 against Talladega. Franklin led the Gold Nuggets with 10 points per game. She shot 46 percent from the floor and had 57 assists and 70 steals.
Holcombe, a 5-11 junior forward from Plano, Texas, and a graduate of Plano West High School, averaged 5.1 points and 4.2 rebounds as a sophomore. She was the Nuggets' No. 6 scorer and No. 3 rebounder. Holcombe had 11 points and eight rebounds at Georgetown (Ky.) in Xavier's come-from-behind 79-76 victory.
Xavier is one of three schools with two preseason All-GCAC players. Talladega and SUNO are the other schools.

Xavier is the defending GCAC regular-season champion and the three-time defending tournament champion. The Gold Nuggets' season will begin in early November, and the schedule will be announced soon.

2012-13 Preseason All-GCAC Women's Basketball Team
Portia CraftTougaloo5-5JuniorGuardAveraged 12.7 points per game
Janine DavisFisk5-6JuniorGuardTransfer from George Washington
SiMon FranklinXavier5-7SeniorGuardAveraged 10 points per game
Carmen HolcombeXavier5-11JuniorForwardAveraged 4.2 rebounds per game
Megan IloffTalladega5-6SeniorGuard2011-12 GCAC Newcomer of the Year
Caryan JonesPhilander Smith5-4SophomoreGuard2011-12 GCAC Freshman of the Year
Janee MortonSUNO5-7SeniorGuard14 points/6 rebounds per game
April PerrySUNO5-7SeniorGuard15 points/5.3 assists per game
Jazzmin SmithDillard5-9SeniorForward14.7 points/7.3 rebounds per game
Bianca ThomasTalladega6-3SeniorCenterAll-GCAC in 2011-12
Tiffany TolbertEdward Waters5-7SeniorGuard Averaged 11.9 points per game

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

FAMU brings playmakers to 2012 Atlanta Classic

Photo Courtesy: FAMU Sports Information
ATLANTA, Georgia  -  The Florida A&M Rattlers enter Saturday's Atlanta Classic against the Southern Jaguars wondering which players will be the gamechangers for them. In last year's Classic, Rattlers quarterback Damien Fleming entered the game in the third quarter and led them on a 21-point rally to beat Southern 38-33.

Fleming is now the starting quarterback for the Rattlers. Rattlers head coach Joe Taylor knew that he had a game changer on his hands, according to an interview with St. Claire Murraine of
"At that time I thought the team needed a shot in the arm, a change because we were struggling. It was a difficult situation for him. In fact, all of the staff looked at me like, ‘Are you sure?' I knew it was a big decision, but I had been evaluating this kid in practice and he was getting better and better."

FVSU Looks to Keep Streak Alive

ALBANY, Georgia - The Fort Valley State Wildcats are rocking and rolling with two straight conference wins. The Cats now stand at 3-1 on the season looking to continue the streak this weekend.

 Saturday night, the Benedict Tigers were the latest victim of Coach Donald Pittman and the blue and gold. Fort Valley emerged from the Cat fight, 33-10 and they say they want to keep the pressure on in the Valley.

Back to back SIAC special teams player of the week, Justin Rosenbaum says, moral is high for the Wildcats. "We have a lot of chemistry. This is the best team that we've had since I've been here and we feel pretty good" says the senior Michigan native says. "We feel pretty confident that will continue to make progress and be more consistent throughout the season."



Rant Sports NCAAB Conference Preview: MEAC

Another year of college basketball is quickly approaching and in preparation, Rant Sports’ College Basketball Network Manager Paul Seaver will be breaking down and predicting the outcomes of each conference across the country.

WASHINGTON, D.C.  -  Today, we take a look at the MEAC:
Unless you follow college basketball closely, you may have overlooked the fact that two of the NCAA Tournament’s most historic upsets have come at the hands of teams from the MEAC.

Back in 2001, it was 15th-seeded Hampton who upended Iowa State in the Round of 64, while just last spring 15th-seeded Norfolk State got the best of second-seeded Missouri.

Looking ahead to the 2012-13 season, there is one team out of this conference that truly sticks out.

St. Augustine's building a CIAA winner

RALEIGH, North Carolina  -  St. Augustine’s has not built itself as a silver spoon football program.  The campus, nestled in downtown Raleigh, reintroduced football in 2002, and it has taken a decade’s worth of work to emerge as a contender in an ever-competitive CIAA Conference.

Coach Michael Costa’s team is putting a quality team on the field despite the lack of amenities often found at lower divisions of football and even some high schools.

“It does take time, but if you’re patient and try to do things the right way, there’s a whole lot of models we can follow,” said Costa, whose Falcons will play Elizabeth City State at 4 p.m. Saturday in the 15th annual Down East Viking Football Classic at the Rocky Mount Sports Complex. “It can’t happen overnight. A lot of things take time.”

The obstacles are big and small. Instead of meeting in a fieldhouse, the Falcons often use classrooms to break down film and discuss gameplans.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

XU's Zahri Jackson wins second GCAC weekly award this year

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana's Zahri Jackson is the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Runner of the Week in women's cross country for Sept. 17-23. It's the second time in three weeks that Jackson won the award, and it's her seventh time in two seasons.

Jackson, a sophomore from Kingwood, Texas, and a graduate of Kingwood Park High School, recorded the fastest women's 5,000-meter time in the GCAC this season, 19 minutes, 53.23 seconds, on Saturday in the ASCIS Embry-Riddle Classic at Daytona Beach, Fla. She finished sixth out of 108 runners, and the time ranks 11th on XU's all-time list. Jackson has seven top-10 finishes in 11 collegiate meets.

Jackson led the Gold Nuggets to their highest finish, second place, since November 2003 in a meet of 10 or more schools. Xavier finished behind NAIA No. 20 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) and was 3-0 against NCAA Division I opponents, including Seton Hall of the Big East Conference.

Jackson has won seven GCAC weekly awards, one less than Spring Hill's Kate Imwalle, the GCAC career record holder.

Neither Xavier team will compete this week. The next meet for the Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets will be the Mississippi College/Watson Ford Invitational at Clinton, Miss., on Oct. 5. The women's 6K will start at 4:30 p.m., and the men's 8K will start at 5:15 p.m.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Entering heart of MEAC slate, B-CU tries to fix mistakes

Bethune Cookman at Hampton

WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday
RECORDS: B-CU 2-2, 1-0 MEAC; Hampton 0-3, 0-1 MEAC

DAYTONA BEACH -- Last year, Bethune-Cookman coach Brian Jenkins turned a critical eye on himself and his program after the Wildcats suffered a 22-3 loss at North Carolina A&T.

B-CU went on to win its final six games of the season.
Consecutive losses to Miami and Tennessee State the past two weeks has Jenkins searching for answers once again.
But while the recovery last year was too late for the 'Cats to get back into the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference race after they had suffered two MEAC losses, this year B-CU (2-2, 1-0) is still very much in control of its own fate.

“We're still looking forward to the rest of our season,'' said senior safety D.J. Howard, “because although we wanted to win the Tennessee State game, it wasn't a conference game, so we're still in line to win the conference and make the playoffs.''

Gold Nuggets rally from 7 down in 4th set to defeat SUNO

NEW ORLEANS — Chinedu Echebelem had 10 kills and 11 digs Monday, and freshman reserve Patrice Smith scored five points during a fourth-set rally which gave Xavier University of Louisiana a 25-23, 25-21, 19-25, 25-22 women's volleyball victory against SUNO at The Castle.
The Gold Nuggets (8-4 overall, 2-0 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference) won their third in a row and extended their school-record road win streak to eight. They snapped the school-record nine-match win streak of the Lady Knights (9-3, 1-1).
SUNO led 12-5 in the fourth set before Xavier rallied with two kills and three blocks from Smith and three Taylor Reuther kills. Moira Kirk's ace tied the set at 17, and the Nuggets went ahead to stay on the next rally on an errant SUNO set. Xavier scored its final two points on SUNO attack errors and moved to match point after Kirk and Alexandria Rencher blocked a Christal Hollins attack.
Reuther had nine kills, eight digs and two aces, and Kirk and Claudia Haywood had eight kills and six blocks apiece. Kirk served two aces, hit .538 — the third consecutive match that she topped .500 — and had a career-high nine digs.
Zipporah Washington had 18 kills and 13 digs for SUNO, and Hollins had 13 kills and 11 digs.
"We had key players come in late in the match and give us a boost," XU coach Christabell Hamilton. "Patrice Smith was one of them. Alex Rencher also did a great job at setter when Franziska Pirkl got hurt and left the match. Alex had a bad start but calmed down and kept her composure."
SUNO outhit Xavier .159 to .129 and had advantages of 56-40 in kills and 69-63 in digs. But the Lady Knights committed 58 errors, 17 more than the Gold Nuggets.
Xavier trailed 13-11 in the opening set before taking control with a 7-1 run which included two Kirk kills and one ace apiece from Pirkl and Reuther. Echebelem's ace put the Nuggets ahead to stay at 22-21 in the second set, and Reuther closed with a kill.
The Gold Nuggets are 16-0 against GCAC opponents during Hamilton's two seasons as coach, including 12 regular-season victories.
Xavier, which has played 10 of its 12 matches on the road, will travel for GCAC matches at 7 p.m. Thursday at Fisk and 1 p.m. Saturday at Philander Smith. The next home match will start at 6 p.m. Oct. 5 against Edward Waters at The Barn.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director


THE SHOW: BOOMBOX CLASSIC - JSU Sonic Boom of the South vs. SU Human Jukebox Marching Band

SU seeks better discipline

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana  - Since Southern’s coaching change brought a new atmosphere to practices, the two words used most in describing it have been “discipline” and “military-like.”
That sure didn’t show on Saturday.

For all of interim coach Dawson Odums’ emphasis on discipline, the Jaguars were remarkably undisciplined in their 28-21 victory against Jackson State.

They were penalized 14 times for 136 yards — numbers that were hard for Odums to stomach. At more than 10 penalties and 85 yards per game, SU is the third-worst team in the conference in that category and had several that could have cost it the game this weekend.

The Jaguars helped along the Tigers’ second touchdown drive in the fourth quarter with a personal foul that moved them to the SU 26, and an illegal block penalty on a kickoff cost Southern 20 yards when it needed to run off the final four minutes of game clock to win the game.


Jackson State faces Prairie View A&M Saturday

JACKSON, Mississippi — A season that began with talk of a SWAC championship has turned into a tale of survival.

After losing 28-21 to previously winless Southern University, Jackson State football coach Rick Comegy called for changes in hopes of saving a season that started with championship aspirations. Yes, the Tigers (1-3) are just 1-1 in SWAC play with seven games to go, starting with Saturday's home game against winless Prairie View A&M.

But as JSU enters the meat of its conference schedule it does so with far more questions than answers.
Comegy said personnel changes are coming but, perhaps more importantly, an attitude adjustment is needed for the Tigers, who have looked sluggish and over-matched early on in all three of their losses. None was more alarming than last week's disastrous start.

In that game, Southern returned the game's opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown. It was an early blow that seemed to floor JSU as the Tigers fell behind 28-0 in the third quarter. It was a lack of fight that most irked Comegy.


SWAC Preview: Mike Davis prefers challenge of winning at Texas Southern to ‘torture’ of a year off

HOUSTON, Texas  -  Only once since grade school has Mike Davis not spent the winter either playing basketball or teaching it. Cut by the Milwaukee Bucks in training camp before the 1983 NBA season, Davis opted to put his basketball career on hold a few months in order to finish his degree.

"That was like torture," Davis said. "I've been around basketball all my life. That experience taught me I can't be doing nothing during basketball season."

Memories of that miserable winter fueled Davis' efforts to find a new coaching gig this offseason after UAB fired him in March. Even though he'll receive $625,000 from UAB this year because he had one season left on his contract, the 52-year-old Alabama native insists he'd have coached a high school or junior high team before he took a full year off from basketball.

Texas Southern spared Davis from a return to the youth ranks in August when athletic director Dr. Charles McClelland hired him as the school's interim coach. It surprised many in basketball circles that a SWAC school could land a man who led UAB to four straight 20-win seasons and took Indiana to the 2002 national title game, but Davis found the job attractive for many reasons.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TSU's Merkel Six Strokes Off Lead at SIUE

Kelly Merkel
Hometown: Columbia, Tennessee
High School: Columbia Central High School
(Courtesy: Sam Jordan / TSU Athletics)

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Kelly Merkel led the Tennessee State women's golf team on day one of the SIUE Doubletree Intercollegiate. The freshman shot a 12-over 84 on the Par-72, 6,025 yard course at Sunset Hills Country Club in Edwardsville, Ill. on a beautiful 76 degree day.

Merkel recorded ten pars on the day and is tied for ninth with four other golfers. The Columbia, Tenn. product is six strokes behind co-leaders Savanna Schubert of Lipscomb and Cassie Rushing from Southern Illinois, who are at 6-over.

Amelia Dap recorded a birdie on the par-4 eighth hole on her way to a 92 on Monday. Dap is 14 strokes off the lead heading into the final day of competition

Sarah Needleman is tied for 57th with Evansville's Kelly Lamarche after carding a 97.

The final round is scheduled for an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start.