Sunday, August 31, 2014

North Carolina A&T Starts Fast, Wins Big

Junior quarterback Kwashaun Quick ran for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
Photo by Charles E. Watkins

ORLANDO, Florida  --  Speed was Alabama A&M’s undoing at Bright House Networks Stadium Sunday afternoon. The Aggies sprinted to touchdown runs of 26, 59 and 80 and had a 95-yard kickoff return by junior Tony McRae, all in the first half, as they cruised to a 47-13 win in the 10th annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney.

Sophomore Tarik Cohen was named the game’s MVP after rushing for 161 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. Junior quarterback Kwashaun Quick, making his third straight start on opening day, rushed for 94 yards and touchdowns and threw for 94 yards on 9-for-16 passing.

“We had some guys make some plays,” said A&T head coach Rod Broadway. “Quick opened things up by making some big plays for us and then Tarik made a few more plays. We’ve got some more guys who didn’t make plays for us today, but they are certainly capable. We’ve got a team of guys who can run.”

The Bulldogs (0-1) kept A&T’s speedsters on the sideline early thanks to a 12-play drive that devoured five minutes off the clock. Jaymason Lee’s completed pass Tevin McKenzie advanced the ball to the A&T 3-yard line, but it was short of the first down. The Bulldogs settled for a Ceaser Diaz-Ramon 20-yard field goal and a 3-0.

Diaz-Ramon’s botched onside kick that followed allowed the Aggies to give the ESPN audience watching live a preview of its speed. The Aggies took over at the A&M 37. After an 11-yard run on a reverse by All-American track and field 100 meter sprinter Desmond Lawrence, Quick dashed his way through A&M defenders for a 26-yard touchdown.

The Aggies never trailed again despite A&M’s efforts on its next drive. The Bulldogs again advanced the ball inside the A&T red zone only to settle for another Diaz-Ramon field goal that made it 7-6 with 16 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Once again A&T’s speed responded. McRae took the Diaz-Ramon’s kickoff, sprinted 20 yards, made a lethal cutback move and left every Bulldog behind for the 95-yard kickoff return and the 14-6 Aggies lead at the end of the first quarter. It was McRae’s second career kickoff return after returning one in last season’s opener at Appalachian State.

“It was important, I thought, to hold them to those two field goals,” said Broadway. “Any time you can hold them to three instead of giving up touchdowns, it changes things. It energizes you a bit.”

A&T directed that energy toward the scoreboard while Quick seemed to drain any energy the Bulldogs had left with a 59-yard touchdown run off of a fake to Cohen that left Bulldog defenders frozen.

“I just trusted my read and did what I was coached to do,” said Quick. “I saw the end crash, and I just pulled the ball out and made a play.”

Cohen said that fake aided in his 80-yard touchdown run that gave the Aggies a commanding 28-6 lead.

“They saw quick running everywhere, so that opened it up for me a bit,” he said. “We’re going to feed off each other because I don’t think defenses are going to be able to stop both of us.”

The Aggies’ 34-point win was their most lopsided win over a SWAC opponent in school history, surpassing the Aggies 28-12 win over Grambling in 1991. Fifth-year linebacker D’Vonte Grant and redshirt junior Denzel Jones led the Aggies defensively with 10 tackles apiece.

It was A&T’s first time playing in the event, which airs live nationally on ESPN.

“I think the coverage is something you can’t buy for our university or our conference,” said Broadway. “It’s great exposure. Our program has come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. We're nowhere close to being the type of program we want to be. So even just being invited to this game is an honor for us after going 27 games without a win and nine, 10 seasons without a winning season. Just to be invited tells us where we're going with our football program.”


XU prevails in 5 on road to snap Wiley's long win streak

XU wins in 5 at Wiley, snaps Wiley's 54-match win streak against HBCUs.

MARSHALL, Texas -- Xavier University of Louisiana received career-high performances from Jodi Hill, Claudia Haywood, CeCe Williams, Darian Harris and Kayla Jones to earn a 26-28, 25-23. 25-17, 22-25, 15-9 women's volleyball victory at Wiley on Saturday.

The Gold Nuggets (1-2), in their first road match of the season, snapped Wiley's 54-match win streak against HBCUs. Xavier has won 40 straight against HBCUs.

Hill's 16 kills, Haywood's 11 kills, Williams' 11 kills, Harris' 29 digs and Jones' 19 digs were career bests. Franziska Pirkl recorded her 13th career double-double -- 50 assists and 12 digs -- and senior Chinedu Echebelem, in her season debut, had 12 kills and 21 digs.

"It wasn't a pretty match," XU coach Hannah Lawing said, "but we now know that we have depth."

Wiley (2-6) rallied from 17-13 and 25-24 deficits to win the opening set, but Echebelem produced nine kills to give the Gold Nuggets a 2-sets-to-1 lead. Fatima Dacosta's six kills and two blocks in the fourth set helped Wiley even the match before Xavier won for just the second time ever in five sets on an opponent's floor.

Williams had three kills and a block in the deciding set, Haywood had two kills, and Pirkl had a kill and an ace. Williams scored the final two XU points on kills.

Pirkl served three of the Gold Nuggets' seven aces, and Ralitsa Hadzhistoyanova served two.

Dacosta finished with 23 kills, 18 digs and three blocks for Wiley. Fernanda Aguilar had 10 kills, and Diana Castaneda had 23 digs.

Xavier outhit Wiley .149 to .105 and had advantages of 59-52 in kills and 99-86 in digs. The digs are the Gold Nuggets' most in a match since the program returned in 2010.

Wiley had not lost to an HBCU since dropping a three-set home match to Grambling in Oct. 30, 2007. Xavier is unbeaten against HBCUs since a 25-17, 25-17, 25-14 loss to Prairie View A&M on Oct. 6, 2011.

It was the first volleyball meeting between Xavier and Wiley. They'll meet again Sept. 9 at XU's Convocation Center. Next for the Gold Nuggets will be their Gulf Coast Athletic Conference opener at 5 p.m. Friday at home against Edward Waters. Xavier is the three-time defending GCAC regular-season and tournament champion and has a 43-match win streak against GCAC opponents.

Week 1: HBCU Football ScoreCard

MEAC/SWAC Challenge, Orlando, Florida
North Carolina A&T 47,  Alabama A&M 13   Highlights  »

30th Labor Day Classic, Houston, Texas 
Texas Southern 37, Prairie View A&M 35 

Tennessee State 58, Edward Waters 6

Bethune-Cookman 14, Florida International 12
South Carolina State 63, Benedict 0
Eastern Michigan 31, Morgan State 28  Watch Replay    Highlights  »
Old Dominion 41, Hampton 28
Maine 10, Norfolk State 6
Middle Tennessee State 61, Savannah State 7
Monmouth 52, Delaware State 21
East Carolina 52, North Carolina Central 7   Highlights  »
Akron 41, Howard 0 Watch Replay 

Jackson State 22, Florida A&M 17
Mississippi Valley State 32,University of Faith 7
Alcorn State 55, Virginia University Lynchburg 7
Lamar 42, Grambling State 27
Louisiana-Lafayette 45, Southern 6  Watch Replay 
Sam Houston State 51, Alabama State 20
Texas State 65, Arkansas Pine Bluff 0  Watch Replay  

Lamar fends off Grambling in home opener

BEAUMONT, Texas -- Caleb Berry broke the Lamar record for career passing touchdowns as the Cardinals defeated Grambling State 42-27 on Saturday night at Provost Umphrey Stadium.

Lamar started out sluggish in the season opener for both teams, falling behind Grambling in the second quarter. The Cardinals did get on the board first when Berry found wide receiver Mark Roberts streaking down the left sideline for a 69-yard touchdown pass. Berry finished the game 27-of-45 for 389 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.

Despite the fast start, Lamar could not capitalize on numerous Grambling mistakes. After a bad punt snapped sailed over Tiger punter Johnathan Wallace's head and gave Lamar good field position, Berry threw an interception that was returned 74 yards. But the Cardinals would hold Grambling to a field goal that gave the Tigers the lead.


TSU, Prairie View set for clash in Labor Day Classic

OPPONENT: Texas Southern
TIME: 4:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Houston, Texas (NRG Stadium)
WEATHER: Roof Closed
RADIO: KPVU 91.3 FM (Leonard Moon (PxP), Jerre Moore (Color), Ernie Jackson (Sideline)
LIVE STATS: Click Here
FACEBOOK: Prairie View A&M Panther Athletics
TWITTER: PVAthletics

HOUSTON, Texas -- Labor Day signifies the end of summerTREThe annual Labor Day Classic means the start of a new football season in a game involving longtime SWAC rivals Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M.

The meeting between the programs comes early each season, and the outcome has a long, lasting affect throughout the remainder of the year.

"I had a lady walk up to me the other day, and she's a Prairie View alum, and tells me if Prairie View loses the game, she's not going to be able to go to church the next Sunday," fourth-year Prairie View football coach Heishma Northern said.

"I want to win, but you not going to church is between you and God. She said a lot of people at her church are TSU alums, and she just couldn't take it if we lose that game."

So not only does the winner get a head start in the SWAC West Division race, a year's worth of bragging rights is also on the line.

The 2014 Labor Day Classic is at 4 p.m. Sunday at NRG Stadium.


Alabama A&M, North Carolina A&T face off in Orlando's MEAC/SWAC Challenge

TV: ESPN 11:45 AM ET

ORLANDO, Florida  -- If it were up to Alabama A&M coach James Spady, his first collegiate game as head coach would be played against anyone other than the man he'll see across the field from him on Sunday.

Spady spent three seasons as offensive coordinator under Rod Broadway at Grambling State from 2007-09, a brief encounter when you consider how long each has roamed the sidelines.

On Sunday Spady makes his debut with Alabama A&M on a national stage against Broadway and North Carolina A&T in a matchup of historically black colleges and universities. The 10th Annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge is scheduled for kickoff at 11:45 a.m. Sunday at UCF's Bright House Networks Stadium.

The significance of such a meeting is not lost on the career assistant of 22 years as Spady sets out to reignite a program that finished 4-8 in 2013 after back-to-back winning seasons.


2014 Southern University Human Jukebox Season Opener at ULL

Jackson State beats the clock, defeats FAMU on Hail Mary

JACKSON, Mississippi -- What a way to open the season, let alone the Harold Jackson era. The Jackson State's sideline was cleared as players and coaches rushed to the endzone, with the crowd erupting in the background, all toward DeSean McKenzie, who caught the game-winning Hail Mary touchdown.

As the clock expired, Jackson State defeated Florida A&M 22-17 in Saturday's opener in Veterans Memorial Stadium.

"As they say, it's not over until the fat lady sings, and the fat lady sung in the last play," said Jackson, who's in his first year coaching at JSU. At first, it seemed the Rattlers had spoiled the Tigers' opener.

Quarterback Damien Fleming whipped a pass to Gerald Hearns, who zipped to the endzone, and FAMU went up 17-16 with 46 seconds left in the game.


FIU Richard Leonard Sets School Record in Season Opening Loss to Bethune-Cookman Widcats

MIAMI, Florida -- The FIU football team (0-1) opened the 2014 season with a tough, 14-12, loss to the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats on Saturday night. Senior Richard Leonard broke the school's single-game punt return yards record in the effort.

The Panthers' explosive cornerback collected 148 yards on five punt returns, while his 71-yard punt return late in the fourth quarter also stands as the fifth longest in school history. It's also the longest non-scoring return in FIU history. The Miami native shattered the previous record of 97 punt return yards, which was set in 2011 against Florida Atlantic by now-NFL standout, T.Y. Hilton. Leonard also had a 54-yard kick return in the second quarter.

On the defensive side of the ball, junior Denzell Perine set career highs in sacks (3) and tackles for loss (3/9.0). In all, the Panthers backline was able to accumulate 40 yards on 10 tackles for loss.

Senior safety Justin Halley's pass breakup on B-CU's opening drive moved the Boca Raton, Fla., native three pass break-ups shy of No. 2 all-time in program history. On the Wildcats' opening drive, Halley got in front of the B-CU receiver, slicing through the center of the field, forcing a fourth down. Junior Lars Koht collected FIU's first sack of the season on the following play.

B-CU broke a scoreless game with 11:26 to go in the second quarter. A one-yard touchdown run by the Wildcats' Michael Jones on first and goal gave the Wildcats' the an early 7-0 lead.

FIU responded with six points on back-to-back drives that resulted in a field goal. In his first drive under center for the Panthers, true freshman Alex McGough guided FIU 36 yards on six plays, setting sophomore Austin Taylor up for a 25-yard field goal.

Taylor's second 25-yarder came on the Panthers following drive. In a series that saw McGough connect 28 yards with junior tight end Ya'Keem Griner, FIU covered 53 yards on 10 plays and cut the deficit to one point. B-CU entered halftime with a 7-6 edge.

The Wildcats pulled ahead, 14-6, 3:34 into the fourth quarter, as the team converted a deep pass on third and nine. FIU responded with a four-play, seven-yard drive, resulting in a touchdown, following a 71-yard punt return from Leonard. The five-yard pass from McGough to junior T.J. Lowder was the first of the Tampa, Fla., native's career.
The score stood, 14-12, with 5:16 to go in the game. A failed last-second field goal attempt by the Panthers ended the contest.

Sophomore Jonnu Smith's two catches in the game moved the Ocala, Fla., native into second place in school history for catches by a tight end with 41.
McGough finished his first game with the Panthers 13-of-27 for 117 yards and one touchdown. His connection with Griner for 28 yards stands as a benchmark career-long for the rookie. In all, five true freshmen saw action in tonight's game (Shermarke Spence, Alex McGough, Anthony Wint, Alex Gardner, Dennis Turner)

FIU returns to action next weekend as the Panthers host Wagner. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m
. from Ocean Bank Field at FIU Stadium.

Final Stats (PDF) I Final Stats (HTML)
Ron Turner Quotes (PDF) I Richard Leonard and Alex McGough Quotes(PDF)
B-CU Head Coach Brian Jenkins Quotes (PDF) I Post-Game Notes (PDF)


ODU hangs on to defeat Hampton 41-28

NORFOLK, Virginia -- (WAVY) – Old Dominion opened the 2014 season with a 41 to 28 win over nearby Hampton University.

The Pirates were playing their first game under new head coach Connell Maynor and they were hanging tough with ODU which is playing its first season as a member of the FBS.

The Monarchs took a 28 to 14 lead into the locker room at the half, but Hampton kept things close throughout the second half.

Quarterback Jaylian Williamson, who went Oscar Smith, outplayed ODU’s heralded signal caller Taylor Heinicke. Williamson was 32 of 45 and threw three touchdowns and one interception.

Heinicke was 29 of 49 for 281 yards, three TD’s and two interceptions. Two of Heinicke’s touchdowns were to Zach Pascal.

Both of his interceptions were by former ODU basketball player Breon Key.

ODU used a ground attack led by sophomore Gerard Johnson to help move the offense. He rushed the ball 22 times for 137 yards and a touchdown.


Sam Houston tops Alabama State 51-20


HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Sophomore quarterback Jared Johnson passed for 386 yards and three touchdowns to lead FCS No. 14 ranked Sam Houston to a 51-20 victory over Alabama State Saturday at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium.

Johnson threw touchdown passes of nine yards to Rickey Smith, 48 yards to Jeffrey Thomas and 68 yards to Keshawn Hill. Hill also scored on a four-yard run.

“I thought we did some good things offensively. Defensively we were a little spotty and gave up too many big plays. That’s going to be the key for us, if we can learn to stop giving up the big plays I think we can be a pretty good football team,” K.C. Keeler said following his first win as Sam Houston head coach.

A pair of transfer running backs led the Bearkats in rushing with 83 yards each. Jalen Overstreet, a transfer running back from Texas, had 11 carries for 83 yards and Donavan Williams, a junior transfer from ASA Junior College, added 83 yards on 12 carries including a one-yard score.

LaDarius Brown led the Bearkats in receiving with six catches for 65 yards. Smith had six catches for 53 yards and Thomas had five for 78 yards. 11 different players caught a pass in the ballgame.

The Bearkats ramped up the offense and ran 104 plays in the game, more than in any game last season. Sam Houston totaled 685 yards of offense and dominated time of possession, keeping the ball for just over 40 minutes.

Hornet quarterback Daniel Duhart led Alabama State completing 17 of 32 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns.

Sam Houston now stands 1-1 for the year while the game was Alabama State’s season opener.

The win extended Sam Houston’s home winning streak to 23 games, which stands as the nation’s longest active home winning streak.

“I wasn’t part of the 22 wins but I am now part of number 23. It really is special to be part of something like that. It’s really exciting to see a great home crowd come out enjoy what we did,” Keeler said.

The Bearkats will hit the road next week and play nationally-ranked LSU in Baton Rouge, La.


SU Notebook: Eligibility questions delay Jaguars’ arrival

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana  -- Southern waited as long as it could, but it couldn’t bring its whole team to the season opener.

The Jaguars didn’t arrive at Cajun Field until 5:15 p.m. Saturday for the 6 p.m. kickoff against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The departure from campus was scheduled for 2:15 p.m. but was delayed nearly two hours while the university tried to certify the academic eligibility of several players.
Five starters were left behind because their certification wasn’t completed: linebacker Daniel Brown, running backMalcolm Crockett, defensive back Renaldo Thomas, offensive lineman Reginald Redding and offensive lineman Terrell Lee.
Dorsey Bindon, a redshirt junior from Capitol High, replaced ...

ULL Cajuns dodge raindrops to drop Southern 45-6

LAFAYETTE, Louisiana  Day long rain held down the crowd at Cajun Field, but that shouldn’t have dampened the enthusiasm surrounding the Louisiana-Lafayette football program.
The Ragin’ Cajuns were hoping a record crowd would show up Saturday to see the preseason pick to win the Sun Belt Conference open the season against defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern. A nice but not sellout crowd of 36,170 entered the stadium amid steady rain and endured sporadic showers during UL-Lafayette’s 45-6 victory.
They saw Terrance Broadway throw two touchdown passes to help build a 24-0 lead and finish 20-of-32 for 237 yards and three touchdowns. The only blemish on his stat sheet was a pair of interceptions, which were a rare bright spot for Southern as they were made by true freshmen — Bryan Anderson of Edna Karr and Danny Johnson of East Feliciana.
The third-largest crowd in UL-Lafayette history saw running backs Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire and receiver Jamal Robinson demonstrate why they were preseason all-conference first-team picks.

East Carolina blasts North Carolina Central Eagles in Opener

GREENVILLE, North Carolina -- There were few surprises inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on a stuffy Saturday opening night, and little magic from the visiting North Carolina Central football team despite it sparking an upset-worthy first few minutes.

The Eagles swooped and scored on a first quarter fumble by host East Carolina, but the Pirates didn’t allow another point in their 52-7 thrashing of NCCU in the teams’ first-ever meeting.

Final Stats |  Photo Gallery    Highlights and Interviews ECU Post-Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader l Post-Game Quotes Get Acrobat Reader

The physical mismatches between the Pirates (1-0) and the Eagles (0-1) became increasingly more exaggerated as the game wore on, and an ECU team with great expectations delivered the drama-free drubbing that was expected.

“I think the only expectations we need to worry about are the ones we have,” said fifth-year ECU head coach Ruffin McNeill, whose team moves on to play at South Carolina this Saturday and at Virginia Tech the following week. “My expectations were met tonight by our kids because I know how hard first games are.

“I think everybody thought we were going to have some magical beginning,” McNeill said of the team’s slow start. “I want my guys to play their best game in their last game.”


MVSU Delta Devils kick off 2014 season, Comegy era with win

ITTA BENA, Mississippi  -- The Rick Comegy era at Mississippi Valley State started off on the right track Saturday.

The Delta Devils upended University of Faith 32-8 at Rice-Totten Stadium to kickoff the 2014 season, giving the first-year head coach a win in his first game at the helm. Comegy, however, made sure to give credit to his assistants for a job well done.

"I take my hat off to coach (Shawn) Gregory, the offensive coordinator, for bringing those guys back, giving us a comfortable lead," said Comegy. "And also take my hat off to coach (Darrin) Hayes, the defensive coordinator, and the staff for what they did defensively."

The game started off sloppy for both teams with raining pouring down for nearly the entire first half. The Glory Eagles (0-2) were the first to get on the scoreboard with a 1-yard touchdown run following a MVSU fumble, but the Delta Devils (1-0) answered the bell and racked up 32 straight points.

Jerrell Moore, who made the switch from receiver to running back, made a huge splash with 116 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. He had a 52-yard run and a 38-yard scamper for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

While Moore made the highlight plays in the backfield, All-SWAC performer Julian Stafford took care of the receiving highlights. The Memphis, Tenn. native led Valley with three receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns. Patrick Ivy connected with Stafford on a 50-yard strike in the second quarter and again in the fourth quarter on a 17-yard pass.

Ivy, who split time with senior Carl Davis at quarterback, finished 7-of-20 for 130 yards and two touchdowns.

"I think we started off slow, but as the game progressed we picked it up as a whole," said Ivy. "The offensive line really stepped up for us....Skill positions, as a unit, we have to back them up."

While the offense made a host of big plays throughout the game, it was the Valley defense that came through in the clutch time after time. The Delta Devils limited the Glory Eagles to just 50 total yards, including negative 32 on the ground.

MVSU defensive tackle Jeremiah Russell forced two safeties and had six solo tackles. Valley had three sacks on the night - Davon Jones, Khalil Young and Nelson Hale each had one apiece.

"The defensive line controlled the tempo, they set the tone," said MVSU cornerback Avery Boykin.

MVSU will be on the road next week at Illinois State.

Box Score


South Carolina State Bulldogs Shut Out Benedict Tigers, 63-0

Box Score

COLUMBIA, South Carolina — Redshirt sophomore Adrian Kollock, Jr. completed 15-of-18 for 160 yards leading the Bulldogs air attack to a, 63-0, routing of Benedict on Saturday in the Palmetto Capital City Classic at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium.
Kollock also had 39-yard touchdown scamper on the day, which earned him MVP honors. The victory was its seventh consecutive against Benedict dating back to 2002.
Junior running back Jalen Simmons returned this season in rare form after missing the 2013 campaign with shoulder injuries.  Simmons had 78 yards on 12 carries to lead the Bulldogs rushing attack, which amassed 381 yards on the ground and had four players gain 50 yards or more.
Junior running back Dondre Lewis-Freeman added 60 yards on five carries and two touchdowns, while sophomore Justin Taylor had eight rushes for 53 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs defense was equally efficient, holding Benedict to only 228 yards of total offense and just 14 first downs. Senior All-American defensive end Alex Gloverspearheaded the attack with six solo tackles, one sack and three tackles for loss.
The highlight of the day from the Bulldog defense was the forced fumble and 61-yard touchdown run by junior defensive lineman Javon Hargrave. Junior defensive backAntonio Hamilton posted a solid performance with four solo tackles, while senior linebacker Justin Hughes added three tackles, one sack and a tackles for loss on the night.
"It was a good win for us but we still have a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball," said SC State head coach Buddy Pough. "We have some young guys out there still trying to find their way but as we move forward I am sure things will fall into place."
South Carolina State returns to action on Saturday (Sept. 6) against ACC foe Clemson University in Death Valley. Kick-off is 12:30 p.m.


Texas State Manhandle Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 65-0 Victory

SAN MARCOS, Texas -- Texas State wore out the PA announcer’s voice in the press box with this popular refrain.

The commentary usually went as follows: “Touchdown, Bobcats...Tyler Jones to name that wide receiver for fill in the blank amount of yards.”

Texas State scored early and often — and looked flawless doing it — as Dennis Franchione’s team routed Arkansas-Pine Bluff 65-0 on Saturday night inside Bobcat Stadium. There wasn’t all that much drama for the 17,813 fans who attended the game and watched the Bobcats rack up a school-record 697 yards.

“We just tried to come together as team to run this offense,” sophomore quarterback Tyler Jones said. “It was a first time for a lot of new guys coming out there and playing. This was definitely a statement that we not in the FCS anymore. We’re in the FBS.”

The Golden Lions might have realized their ultimate fate for the night when Jafus Gaines hauled in a pass from his back for Texas State’s third touchdown of the first quarter. Gaines stretched out for pass, bobbled the ball for a second, fell to the ground and still had enough time to snag the pigskin before it touched green turf for his first career receiving touchdown.


MEAC/SWAC Challenge Disney Parade

COURTESY  Otis Jefferson

FAMU Rattlers Come Up Short In 22-17 Last Second Loss to JSU

JACKSON, Mississippi  -- Jackson State’s Hail Mary prayer was answered as time expired here Saturday evening, lifting the homestanding Tigers to 22-17 win over visiting Florida A&M in the W.C. Gorden Classic at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The Tigers (1-0) scored on a 49-yard pass from La Montiez Ivy to DeSean McKenzie, which passed through the hands of defender Terry Johnson.

FAMU (0-1) rallied in the game’s final moments to take a 17-16 lead on senior Damien Fleming’s two-yard swing pass to freshman halfback Gerald Hearns with 46 seconds left, capping a 67-yard drive.

The Rattlers led 10-6 at the half, thanks to Fleming’s first scoring toss, a 21-yard pass into coverage to Dennis Hallwith 30 seconds left in the second period, which erased a 6-3 Jackson State lead.

JSU’s Ryan Deising booted a pair of first half field goals, a 22-yarder for the game’s first points with 7:29 left in the first quarter, and a 20-yarder with 2:31 left in the half, which broke a 3-3 tie.

FAMU’s Chase Varnadore nailed a 25-yarder with 7:37 left in the second period to tie the game, 3-3.

Jackson regained the lead at 13-10 on Rakeem Sims’ one-yard plunge with 4:11 left in the third period, before Deising’s 25-yard fielder extended the Tigers lead to 16-10 with 14:47 left in the game.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: The Rattlers allowed 439 total yards to Jackson Saturday, but limited them to field goals when the Tigers got into the red zone on three different occasions.
FAMU finished with 302 total yards, led by Fleming’s 188 yards passing and 59 yards rushing. He hit on 16 of 27 passes, tossing a pair of scoring strikes.

Freshman Gerald Hearns rushed for 56 yards on 16 carries, while finishing the night as the leading receiver with five receptions for 35 yards and a TD.

Defensive back Peter Tulloch led the Rattlers with nine tackles and one interception he returned 60 yards to set up Varnadore’s second quarter field goal. Safety Neal Cunningham also had nine tackles, while Terry Johnson and Akil Blount had eight each.
Jackson State’s Rakeem Sims rushed for 117 yards on 19 carries, while Ivy passed for 269 yards, completing 25 of 41 passes and one score.  

WHAT’S NEXT: The Rattlers head to Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida  to take on the University of Miami at 7 p.m.


Eastern Michigan University 31, Morgan State 28: Rushing attack saves the day for Eagles in season-opener

YPSILANTI, Michigan -- Forget the quarterback battle.

Eastern Michigan University relied on its run game to power it to a season-opening 31-28 victory over Morgan State Saturday night at Rynearson Stadium.

Bronson Hill, Ryan Brumfield and Darius Jackson combined for 243 yards on 44 carries and three scores. As a team, the Eagles ran for 292 yards on 49 carries.

Even after a lengthy lightening delay, the trio of backs helped EMU overcome a defense, and secondary that struggled giving up 479 yards of total offense.

Each player made timely contributions over the course of the game.

After Morgan State went up 28-21, Hill prevented the Eagles from giving the ball right back with a string of strong runs. He carried the ball four straight times on the ensuing drive, picking up a pair of first downs across midfield.

He ran the ball four times for 35 yards on the drive.

Bass, Smith Lead TSU Over EWC, 58-6

NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- Junior running back Tom Smith found solid footing on a soggy opening night, leading Tennessee State past Edward Waters, 58-6, in the 16th annual John Merritt Classic on Saturday night.

Smith had 151 yards on 12 carries and added four touchdowns en route to being named the Offensive MVP.

Smith’s four rushing scores were the most for a Tiger since Trabis Ward’s four against Southeast Missouri on Oct. 13, 2012.

Anthony Bass was named the game’s Defensive MVP after recording four stops, two sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and an interception.

Bass anchored a defensive unit that only allowed 76 yards of total offense, five first downs and did not give up any points.

The Tennessee State offense got off to a slow start, fumbling on the first play from scrimmage and then committing three straight false start penalties.

TSU finally found the end zone at the 5:31 mark, as German hit fellow senior Je-Marc Sears with a short pass and then the tight end ran the rest of the way for a 24-yard touchdown. The rain soaked turf caused a bad hold on the point after, so TSU was forced to settle with a 6-0 lead.

A Bernell Brooks interception later in the first set up a 23-yard Carter field goal, and the Tigers held a 9-0 lead with only a minute to go in the first.

Tennessee State’s special teams produced a big play to kick off the second period as De’Ante Saunders ran back a punt for a score, making the score 16-0 with just over 12 minutes to play before halftime.

Saunders’s punt return for a touchdown was TSU’s first since Oct. 8, 2011 when Weldon Garlington scampered 91 yards against Southeast Missouri.

Javon Brandon and reigning OVC Defensive Player of the Year Bass each recorded their first career interceptions in the second quarter - two of the eight combined first half turnovers.

Transfer running back Tom Smith and Stephen Hopkins combined for 127 yards on 10 carries and two scores in the second quarter, and TSU led EWC 30-6 at the break.

The TSU defense was impregnable in the opening 30 minutes, only allowing 18 yards of total offense, including negative-one on the ground, and only one first down.

Smith scored two more touchdowns within the first five minutes of the second half to put TSU up by 38 and the Tigers forced their fifth turnover to close out the third quarter.

After another turnover late in the stanza, Martine Stevenson took the first play of the fourth period 17 yards for a touchdown and finished the contest with 92 yards on 10 carries.

Running back Greg White added a late score as part of his 98-yard day and the Tigers walked away with a 52-point victory.

There were a total of 11 turnovers in the contest and TSU committed 18 penalties for 102 yards.

The Tigers will hit the road next weekend for a date with the Hornets of Alabama State. Kickoff is scheduled for Sept. 7 at 4 p.m.



Alcorn State Braves Rushing Attack a Success in Season Opener Win over Virginia University of Lynchburg Dragons


LORMAN, Mississippi  -- A heavy dose of offense mixed with a strong defense helped the Alcorn State University Braves to a 55-7 victory over Virginia University of Lynchburg in their home opener on Saturday.
Despite the one-sided victory, Alcorn State University head coach Jay Hopson said that there are still things the Braves could work on.
"It was a great game, but we still need to work out some kinks in our play. There were a few sloppy plays that every first game has, so hopefully we can improve on those mistakes in the second game of our season," said Hopson.
Alcorn State University Quarterback John Gibbs Jr. agreed with his coach's feelings about being more efficient.
"There were some small things that we have to pick up on. I had some overthrows in the second quarter, but I eventually got into a good rhythm toward the end of the first half," said Gibbs.
The Braves got off to a fast start, scoring on a trick play that resulted in a 39-yard touchdown from running back Darryan Ragsdale to wide receiver Jordan Payne added a six yard score to put the Braves up 17-0 in the first quarter.
The Braves continued their assault in the second quarter when Ragsdale sprinted for 36-yard score.  Quarterback John Gibbs Jr. threw to a wide open Charles Hughes for an 77-yard touchdown that added to the team's lead making the score 31-0.
Kicker Haiden McCraney nailed a 29-yard field goal to give the Braves a 34-0 lead at the half.
Ragsdale gave the Braves a 41-0 lead after scoring on and eight yard touchdown for his second rushing touchdown of the day.
Josh Ivery scored his first career receiving touchdown on a 17-yard pass from Lenorris Footman
After Lynchburg scored their only touchdown, Ivery found the end zone again for a 44-yard touchdown to finish off the visiting dragons.
Gibbs completed 7-of-12 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown.  Ivery carried the ball five times for 68 yards and caught one pass for 17 yards.  Ragsdale finished the day with 73 yards on six carries and scored two touchdowns.
Now that the Braves have captured this victory, they are looking forward to next week's matchup against the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles in Hattiesburg, Miss. Gibbs is confident that if the Braves execute properly, they can leave "Hub City" on top.
"We have to play Brave football.  Coach Hopson always preaches excellence and precision on both sides of the ball to us.  Our play during games start on Monday with practice and studying film. If we have a great practice, we will have a great game."
Game time between the Braves and Southern Mississippi next week kick off at 6 p.m.


Savannah State Dominated by MTSU Raiders

MURFREESBORO, Tennessee  – Middle Tennessee strung together an impressive performance to stifle Savannah State 61-7 in the Raiders' 100th season-opener at Floyd Stadium on Saturday.

The Raiders (1-0) produced 519 yards of offense and limited the Tigers on defense to 219 yards. The Raiders' 61 points and 54-point margin was the largest ever in a season-opener. The previous record occurred in 1954 when MT put up 52 against Stewart Air Force Base.

Despite rainy conditions throughout the game, the Raiders jumped out early marching down the field 75 yards to take a 6-0 lead. MT added 28 more points in the first half to take a 34-0 lead.

Redshirt junior Austin Grammer had a stellar debut as starter, completing 15-of-17 passes for 88.2 percent, which matched the second-best in school history. Grammer threw passes of 50 and 47 yards, respectively. The Tuscaloosa, Alabama native finished with 250 yards and a touchdown.

MT used its strong corps of receivers as five different players had 30-plus yards.Marcus Henry totaled 84 yards, including a 47-yard catch from Grammer. Ed'Marques Batties caught four passes for 42 yards. Junior tailback Jordan Parker had the longest catch of the day in the first quarter, reeling in a 50-yard strike from Grammer.

The Raiders had nine different backs tote the pigskin, netting 228 yards and six rushing touchdowns. Jeremiah Bryson and Shane Tucker posted two touchdowns each. Reggie Whatley added 65 yards, while Tony Rowland connected on 63.

Defensively, the Raiders forced two fumbles and picked up an interception. Trey Wafford returned a 20-yard fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter. In the first half, Kevin Byard picked up his 10th career interception, which tied him for seventh in program history.

Linebacker Quay Watt led the Blue Raider defense with seven stops. Leighton Gasque and Shaquille Huff each added a sack, while T.T. Barber posted two tackles-for-loss.
On the opening drive, sophomore Shane Tucker barreled through for a 13-yard touchdown to give MT a six-point edge. The Raiders subsequently missed the two-point conversion. Grammer found Parker for a 50-yard strike on the Blue Raiders second drive of the day. It would set up a five-yard touchdown pass from Grammer to Tucker. Erdely ran in the third touchdown of the day with a three-yard scamper up the middle, giving MT a 20-point edge.  

In the third quarter, the Raiders blocked their 49th kick in the Rick Stockstill era whenRaynard Felton rejected a field goal. It marked the first blocked field goal since 2012 against FIU. Batties showed his versatility with a 61-yard punt return in the third quarter, stretching MT's edge to 47-0. 

Middle Tennessee hits the road next week for a 2:30 p.m. contest. The game is televised on the Big Ten Network.