Friday, August 31, 2018

5 storylines for Grambling State football in 2018

GRAMBLING, Louisiana — Under Broderick Fobbs, losing games seems like a foreign concept to Grambling State fans and supporters. The Tigers have dropped five contests in the last three seasons.

Just losing the HBCU National Championship Game and Celebration Bowl, 21-14, to North Carolina A&T isn't why the G-Men's head coach has thought about that game almost daily since last December. It's not that simple. For Fobbs, all the uncharacteristic mistakes, his team not playing like the Grambling State of recent bothers him.

Here's what to watch for as the Tigers look to put the end of 2017 away.

1. All eyes on QB
The quarterback position is open the widest it’s been since Broderick Fobbs took over his alma mater back in 2014. After two stellar seasons of leading Grambling State’s offense, DeVante Kincade has graduated and moved on, leaving a massive, two-time SWAC Offensive Player of the Year, 3,000-yard hole left to be filled.

Sophomore and Kincade’s primary backup last season Geremy Hickbottom led the small group of signal callers into spring practice, but has yet to do enough to completely nail down the job.


Future of football: SWAC enjoys unique success among FCS conferences

JACKSON, Mississippi -- In a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, most national pundits wouldn’t consider the Southwestern Athletic Conference an up-and-coming league.

Ask anyone what sets the SWAC apart from the rest of the leagues in the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision (or FCS) and you’re likely to get an answer that involves some combination of the league’s rich tradition and its pageantry.

What you won’t get is an argument that the league boasts teams that will compete on the national stage, ready to go toe-to-toe with national title contenders like North Dakota State, Sam Houston or James Madison in football or the Dukes and North Carolinas of the world in basketball.

But there’s a handful of people working diligently to change that.

Jackson native leading SWAC

“I think it’s growing,” JSU athletic director Ashley Robinson said. “I think when you look at the athletic directors in the league, you see young, energetic people. The coaching hires, not just football but all sports, are better quality hires than you have seen in the past. The league is growing. We’re desperate for leadership.”


HBCU Judgment Day Scoreboard - Week 0 +1

Week 0

North Carolina A&T State 20, #6 Jacksonville State 17
Rice 31, Prairie View A&M 28
Saint Andrews 15, Edward Waters 13
Virginia University Lynchburg 30, Louisburg 28

Thursday, AUGUST 30

Wagner 40, Bowie State 23
Wingate 36, Johnson C. Smith 0
Pikeville  52, Livingstone 23
Campbell 49, Chowan 26
Charleston (WV) 35, West Virginia State 31
North Dakota 35, Mississippi Valley State 7
Alabama-Birmingham 52, Savannah State 0
Mississippi College 31, Clark Atlanta 30

Friday, August 31

Lindsey Wilson 50, Edward Waters 13

XULA strikes gold on Champions of Character scorecard

Xavier University of Louisiana AthleticsNEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana Athletics achieved gold status — the highest level possible — on the NAIA's Champions of Character Five-Star scorecard for the 2017-18 academic year, the NAIA announced Thursday.
XULA was one of 171 schools to earn the Champions of Character award and one of 74 to reach the gold level: a minimum of 90 points out of 100.

"We are proud to receive this honor from the NAIA and to return to the gold level," XULA Director of Athletics & Recreation Jason Horn said. "Our coaches, student-athletes and staff work diligently to represent the values of the NAIA to the highest level in the classroom, community and in competition. This recognition is a direct reflection of the entire athletics department's efforts of living the mission of Xavier University to contribute to the promotion of a more just and humane society."

The NAIA measures institutions on a demonstrated commitment to Champions of Character and earned points in character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, character recognition and character promotion. Institutions earned points based on exceptional student-athlete GPAs and by having minimal to no ejections during competition throughout the course of the academic year.

Sixteen NAIA conferences earned the prestigious award, — including the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference, of which XULA is a member — by having at least 60 percent of their member schools achieve gold, silver or bronze status.

Ed Cassiere, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Morgan State Bears Set For 'Battle for Greater Baltimore' Rematch

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Morgan State will face Towson in the season opener on Saturday (Sept. 1) at Hughes Stadium. The Bears open the 2018 season under the leadership of interim head coach Ernest T. Jones. Towson completed the 2017 season with a 5-6 overall mark and were 3-5 in Colonial Athletic Association play. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast by SPORTSfever Television Network (STN) and WEAA, 88.9FM. The game will mark the second of the "Battle for Greater Baltimore" series between the teams.

TELEVISION: SPORTSfever Television Network (STN) will be broadcasting the game live ... Phil Schoener will handle the play-by-play duties with color analyst Emory Hunt.

RADIO: WEAA, 88.9 FM is the flagship station for the Morgan State Bears ... Lamont Germany will call the play-by-play with Renard Stubbs and Austin Wardin the booth. The game will be broadcast live on 88.9 FM and streamed on 


Fans can keep up-to-date with all MSU Athletics via twitter at and @MorganStateFootball. You can also become a fan of the Bears on Facebook at

Season ticket plans—which include a ticket to all five home games, including homecoming start at only $95. Premium seats are now available for purchase by calling 443.885.1522 or visiting MSU Student Center Athletics Ticket Office during business hours (Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), or visit
• Saturday, Sept. 1stwill mark the 25th meeting in the series that began with a 34-7 Morgan Sate win at Towson on Sept. 1, 1979. 
• The Tigers hold an 18-6 advantage in the series vs. MSU.
• SPORTSfever's broadcast will mark the fifth time the Towson-Morgan game has been televised in the Baltimore area. In 1998, WMAR-TV aired the Tigers' 15-10 win and again carried the 1999 contest. In 2011, ComCast SportsNet telecast the Tigers' 42-3 victory, and in 2017 Sportsfever carried the Tigers' 10-0 win.

•  Morgan State - Ernest T. Jones (Alcorn State, '95) joined the Bears as the Defensive Coordinator in 2016 and was previously a head coach at ASA Miami (2015); he has also worked at Connecticut, Notre Dame, Univ. of Buffalo, Cincinnati, Alcorn State, Central Michigan, Oberlin, Kentucky State and Concordia. CAREER RECORD (11-10, 2yrs)
•  Towson - Rob Ambrose (Towson, '93) has led the Tigers to four winning seasons, two CAA championships, two playoff appearances and a trip to the 2013 FCS National Championship game. CAREER RECORD (55-61, 9yrs); RECORD AT TOWSON (52-54, 8yrs).
•  Sept. 2, 2017 -- Monty Fenner's interception set up the only touchdown which led to Towson beating Morgan State 10-0 in a defensive struggle as the cross-town rivals met in the Battle for Greater Baltimore.
•  The game marked the first meeting between the two schools since 2011. 
•  Fenner intercepted an Elijah Staley pass, returning it 32 yards to the Morgan State 2. Shane Simpson took a quick pitch in for the score on the next play. Aidan O'Neill's extra point gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 9:04 left in the first half. 
•  Aidan O'Neill added a 42-yard field goal with nine seconds left in the first half. The Tiger defense picked off three Morgan State passes before halftime. 
•  Towson quarterback Morgan Mahalak had his struggles also as he was picked off three times too. Brandon GriffinIanMcBorroughand Cravon Rogers all grabbed one.
...give Ernest T. Jones his first win as MSU's head coach and his 12th career win.
... would mark the Bears' second win against Towson in the last four meetings since 2009. 
... mark MSU's first home non-conference win since defeating Bowie State (28-23) on Sept. 13, 2014. 
... mark MSU's first home win since defeating Savannah State on Oct. 14, 2017. 
... mark the Bears first home win against Towson since a 12-9  win on Sept. 26, 2009.
... .mark MSU's first season-opener victory since recording a 30-27 OT win against Sacred Heart on Sept. 1, 2012.
• Junior DeAndre Harris, a 6-4, 210-pound quarterback from Washington (Ga.) split time with Elijah Staley last year and should take over the duties full-time in '18. He completed 62-of-196 passes for 781 yards, with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He completed 58.5 percent of his passes.
• The frontrunner for the starting RB job looks to be talented redshirt-freshman Josh Chase (6-1, 210, Severn, Md.). Behind Chase is 6-3, 230-pound true freshman Jordan Riggins (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) who had a solid spring and will also provide competition in the backfield throughout preseason. 
• LB Rico Kennedywas the team's leading tackler in 2017 with 70 stops, in addition to 19.5 tackles for loss (No. 3 in the FCS).
• DE Malachi Washington was a force on the Bears' defensive line in '17 where he ranked No. 3 in the league with eight sacks and ranked T-No. 3 in the tackles for loss (17; ranked T-No. 8 in FCS). He completed the season with 39 tackles, including a forced fumble and fumble recovery .
•  Towson finished the 2017 season with an overall mark of 5-6 and a 3-5 conference record. They capped the season with a 29-10 home win against Rhode Island, and finished the season by winning three of its last four games.
•  Rob Ambrose (Towson, '93) leads the Tigers in his 10th season at the helm.
•  Towson was tabbed to finish 10th in the CAA's preseason predicted order of finish and did not have a single player selected to the preseason All-Conference Team. James Madison was tabbed No. 1 with 21 first-place votes and New Hampshire was No. 2. 
•  The Tigers ranked No. 9 in the CAA in total offense (301.8/g), No. 10 in scoring offense (17.5 avg), and ranked No. 4 in the league in kickoff returns (21.8 avg). Towson ranked No. 6 in sacks allowed (25) and finished No. 9 in sacks (27).
•  R-junior QB Tom Flacco (6-1, 208), the younger brother of Joe Flacco, is battling with  r-sophomore QB Ryan Stover (6-4, 210) to be the starter. Flacco is a transfer who spent the 2017 season at Rutgers as a walk-on on the scout team and the 2015 and 2016 seasons at Western Michigan. He played in 13 games total during the 2015 and 2016 seasons at Western Michigan, running for 336 yards, passing for 188 yards and accounting for three TDs. Western Michigan went 13-1 during the 2016 season.
• One of the defensive leaders for the Tigers is senior LB Diondre Wallace. In 2017, Wallace (6-0, 233) led the team with 52 solos tackles. In 2016 he appeared in all 11 games, making seven starts, ranked third on the team with 66 tackles, added four tackles-for-loss, one sack, one interception and one forced fumble. 
• R-senior Monty Fenner (6-3,270) leads the Tigers secondary from his S position where he racked up 69 stops with three interceptions.
• PK Aidan O'Neill returns after earning All-CAA Third Team honors as a sophomore a season ago. He ranked No. 2 in the league by connecting on 18-of-22 field goals and was perfect in PATs (25-25).
• The Tigers ranked No. 4 in the league in pass defense (187.0 yds/gm) and recorded 11 interceptions. They also ranked No. 7 in pass offense by averaging 200.1 yards per game.

Morgan State was picked to finish ninth (9th) to MEAC defending champion and Preseason #1 North Carolina A&T and #2 Howard.
Seven (7) Morgan State football players were named to the 2018 MEAC preseason team, which was voted on by the conference head coaches and sports information directors.  Senior defensive lineman Malachi Washington and junior linebacker RicoKennedy were first-team selections. Senior offensive linemen Joshua Miles and Matthew Thompson were third-team picks, along with junior wideout Manasseh Bailey, junior linebacker Ian McBorrough, and senior defensive back Carl Garnes. The seven preseason All-MEAC performers are part of a group of 37 lettermen and 16 starters returning for the 2018 Morgan State football season.
MSU enters its 120th season of football and will open the 2018 campaign under interim head coach Ernest T. Jones, set to enter his first year at the helm and his third year at Morgan State.
The 2018 Morgan State Bears return 37 letterwinners, including 16 starters - 7 on offense, 8 on defense and 1 on special teams.
The Bears enter the 2018 season looking to post their first winning season since going 6-5 in 2009. MSU's 7-6 record in 2014 was vacated. 
The Bears will open the 2018 campaign against four non-conference opponents. MSU opens the season against Towson (Sept. 1) in the 'Battle for Greater Baltimore', followed by road trips versus  Akron (Sept. 9), Univ. at Albany (Sept. 15) and the N.C. A&T (Sept. 22) game will also be recorded as a non-conference contest. 
The Bears will open its 41st season in the MEAC when they host South Carolina State for Homecoming on Oct. 6.
• The Bears opened the 2017 MEAC schedule with a 49-17 loss against #15 N.C. A&T at Hughes Stadium. 
• The Bears kicked off its first season in the MEAC in 1971. Morgan State withdrew from the conference at the end of the 1979-80 fiscal year, before returning to the MEAC in 1984.
The Division I Football Subdivision Athletics Directors Association announced that Morgan State's Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Edward Scott will serve on its Executive Committee. Scott represents the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

The Morgan State football team has had great success in the classroom.
 Most recently, the Bears produced a 3.24 GPA during Summer 2018.
 The 2017-18 school year saw the Bears achieve their highest single-year GPA in program history.
 The program had 31 Athletic Director Honor Roll Members in the Fall of 2017, a 41% increase from the previous Fall. 

76 players and six coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 100 players and 32 coaches from the divisional ranks make-up the 2019 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.  Morgan State head coach Eddie P. Hurt is among the list of nominees.
•  Hurt led Morgan's football teams to six Black College National Championships and won 14 CIAA titles. 
• Eleven of his squads executed undefeated seasons, including a non-losing string of games from 1932 to 1938. 
•  His 1943 team did not allow a score from a single opponent.
There are many ways to keep up with MSU athletics online and on the go:
• Visit, the official web site of Bears athletics, for news, schedules, stats, bios and more. 
• Follow us on social media:
            Facebook: /MorganStateBears
            Twitter: @MorganStBears
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Lincoln Football Team Holds Orange and Blue Scrimmage

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, Pennsylvania -- As classes have now begun on the campus of Lincoln University, the Lincoln Football team concluded their pre-season camp Saturday afternoon with their annual Orange and Blue Scrimmage game.
The Lions offense looked sharper with their execution of plays than they did in the team's earlier scrimmage.   "Offensively we were a bit crisper," said Head Coach Josh Dean.  "We executed well with our first group, but we still have to get our backups - our 2's to pick it up."
A continued bright spot during camp has been the play of freshman Zach Green (Chesapeake, Va. ) as he battles at the quarterback position with veterans Vincent Espinoza (Madera, Calif /Madera (West Hills)) and Eban Jackson II (Los Angeles, Calif. /Narbonne).  "The great thing about him (Green) is he gives us the ability to make a quick strike play – get easy points and easy yardage.  I was definitely excited about that."
Jackson meanwhile ran in for a touchdown and tossed another while Espinoza also tossed a touchdown pass as the intensity level among the offense remained high.
"We have tried to match the intensity that defense has been brining since game one, adds Dean.  "I felt that we executed at a higher rate today and feel positive going into week one."
This year's scrimmage was also done in conjunction with the Lincoln Football Media Day.  The Lions players had their head shots taken along with team and positional group photos and other photos for marketing purposes.  This year several players also were part of a media training session put on by the athletic communications office.  A press conference like setting was achieved with questions being asked by Lincoln students majoring in mass communications, the Lincolnian (student run school newspaper), and administrative staff.
The Lions football team opens the regular season at home against the CIAA South Division Champion Fayetteville State University on Saturday, September 1, 2018 at 7 p.m.  


Langston Volleyball Sweeps Bears To Open Season

News Photo
HAVILAND, Kansas – The Langston University volleyball team opened the season on a high note by knocking off the Barclay College Bears 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-17) on Tuesday night in Haviland, Kansas.
Inside the Lion's Den …
The Lady Lions came out early and didn't relent in the 25-17 set one victory; Langston managed to collect victories in sets two and three by a final count of 25-16 and 25-17.

Langston clinches a season-opening victory for the first time in program history.

Looking at the Stats …
Brittani Bailey and Serena Torres anchored the Lady Lions attack with eight and six kills respectively; Lashon Chew wasn't far behind, finishing third on the team in kills with five.

Jada Roland led Langston in assists with 12 and Jordyne Bigan tallied a team-high five digs.

Up Next?
Langston (1-0) turns their attention to conference play by traveling to Southwestern Assemblies of God in Waxahachie, Texas on Aug. 31. The Lady Lions first home match is scheduled for Sept. 4 against Sooner Athletic Conference opponent Oklahoma City.


2 national runners-up on 2018-19 Gold Rush schedule

Xavier University of Louisiana men's basketballNEW ORLEANS — For the third consecutive season, Xavier University of Louisiana men's basketball will play a slew of games against teams that qualified for national postseason tournaments the previous year. Four of those games will be against national runners-up.
Third-year head coach Alfred Williams announced the 2018-19 schedule Wednesday, which will tip off the final weekend of October with a pair of games on the Virgin Islands.

The 2018 national postseason teams on the schedule will be:
     •  Keiser — Oct. 26 on the Virgin Islands and the first regular-season game.
     •  William Carey — Nov. 5 home, Nov. 19 road.
     •  LSU-Alexandria — Nov. 12 road, Nov. 26 home. LSUA was the NAIA Division I national runner-up last season.
     •  Clark Atlanta — Nov. 17 for homecoming. The NCAA Division II team will be coached this season by former New Orleans Hornet and University of North Carolina standout George Lynch.
     •  Campbellsville — Dec. 29 at the Cumberlands Classic in Williamsburg, Ky.
     •  Cumberlands — Dec. 30 at the Cumberlands Classic.
     •  Oakwood — Jan. 17 home, Jan. 31 road. Oakwood was the USCAA national runner-up last season.
     •  Dillard — Jan. 26 home, Feb. 16 road.

XULA returnees include last season's Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, Rayshawn Mart, and senior Jeff Dixon, the NAIA Division I leader in assists prior to the national tournament. XULA finished 24-9 in 2017-18 and shared the GCAC regular-season championship with Dillard. The Gold Rush qualified for nationals for the 11th time in the past 14 seasons.

"We will be improved this season in several key areas," Williams said. "Scoring ability, leadership, toughness and team chemistry. We are looking forward to building off of last year's season and taking more steps forward."

Campbellsville, Cumberlands and Oakwood will be first-time opponents. So will Thomas, a Georgia school that will visit XULA Dec. 18. Campbellsville and Dillard reached the round of 16 at NAIA nationals last season.

Half of the 30 regular-season games will be at home. The first game at the Convocation Center will be Nov. 1 against a familiar recent early-season opponent, Carver College of Atlanta.

Rust College of Holly Springs, Miss., joined the GCAC in July, giving the GCAC eight teams for the first time since 2014-15.

The GCAC Tournament will be March 1-3 in Jacksonville, Fla., followed by the NAIA Division I National Championship March 20-26 at Kansas City, Mo. 
2018-19 Schedule Page

Xavier University of Louisiana
2018-19 Men's Basketball Schedule

Oct. 26 (Fri.):  Keiser (at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands), 7 p.m. AST
Oct. 28 (Sun.):  at Virgin Islands, 2 p.m. AST
Nov. 1 (Thu.):  CARVER, 7 p.m.
Nov. 5 (Mon.):  WILLIAM CAREY, 7 p.m.
Nov. 10 (Sat.):  at Loyola (N.O.), 5 p.m.
Nov. 12 (Mon.):  at LSU-Alexandria (DH), 7 p.m.
Nov. 17 (Sat.):  CLARK ATLANTA, 1 p.m. (Homecoming)
Nov. 19 (Mon.):  at William Carey (DH), 7 p.m.
Nov. 26 (Mon.):  LSU-ALEXANDRIA, 7 p.m.
Nov. 29 (Thu.):  JARVIS CHRISTIAN, 6 p.m.
Dec. 18 (Tue.):  THOMAS, 3 p.m.
Dec. 19 (Wed.):  VIRGIN ISLANDS, 3 p.m.
Dec. 29 (Sat.):  Campbellsville (Cumberlands Classic, Williamsburg, Ky.), 6 p.m. EST
Dec. 30 (Sun.):  at Cumberlands (Cumberlands Classic), 4 p.m. EST
Jan. 7 (Mon.):  •  TOUGALOO (DH), 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 12 (Sat.):  •  at Rust (DH), 5 p.m.
Jan. 14 (Mon.):  •  at Philander Smith (DH), 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 17 (Thu.):  OAKWOOD, 7 p.m.
Jan. 19 (Sat.):  •  EDWARD WATERS (DH), 5 p.m.
Jan. 21 (Mon.):  •  at Tougaloo (DH), 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 26 (Sat.):  •  DILLARD (DH), 5 p.m. (Crosstown Classic)
Jan. 28 (Mon.):  •  at SUNO (DH), 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 31 (Thu.):  at Oakwood, 7 p.m.
Feb. 2 (Sat.):  •  at Talladega (DH), 5 p.m.
Feb. 4 (Mon.):  •  at Edward Waters (DH), 7:30 p.m. EST
Feb. 11 (Mon.):  •  TALLADEGA (DH), 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 16 (Sat.):  •  at Dillard (DH), 5 p.m.
Feb. 18 (Mon.):  •  RUST (DH), 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 20 (Wed.):  •  SUNO (DH), 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 25 (Mon.):  •  PHILANDER SMITH (DH), 7:30 p.m.
March 1-3 (Fri.-Sun.):  Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament, Jacksonville, Fla.
March 20-26 (Wed.-Tue.):  NAIA Division I National Championship, Kansas City, Mo.

•  Gulf Coast Athletic Conference game
(DH) Doubleheader with XULA's women
All times are Central except where noted
Schedule is subject to change

Ed Cassiere, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications

Honors for XULA's Black, Le Guillou, Price-Spraggins

Xavier University of Louisiana women's volleyball
NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana's 3-1 record in the season-opening Mid-South Crossover Challenge volleyball tournament — including its first victory ever against a ranked opponent — were springboards to honors for the Gold Nuggets' Kayla BlackEva Le Guillou and Vivica Price-Spraggins.

Black was chosen Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Attacker of the Week, and Le Guillou was named GCAC Setter of the Week. Black and Price-Spraggins were selected to the 17-member Crossover Challenge all-tournament team. All the honors were announced Tuesday.

Black, from Spring, Texas, and a graduate of St. Pius X High School in Houston, produced 58 kills, 48 digs, five aces and four blocks in four matches. She had kill-dig double-doubles three times, including 21 kills — a career high — 14 digs and a .400 hitting percentage Saturday in a four-set victory against NAIA No. 22 Indiana Wesleyan. The 21 kills equaled the most ever in a match by a XULA sophomore.

Le Guillou, a sophomore from Velizy-Villacoublay, France, twice broke her career high for assists — 44 in a three-set victory against Pikeville, then 48 against Indiana Wesleyan. Le Guillou finished the tournament with 158 assists, 38 digs, eight aces, four blocks and three kills.

Le Guillou served a career-high four aces against Pikeville, three in the first five points of the match. She led the Nuggets in assists and aces during the tournament.

The GCAC weekly honors are the fourth of Black's and Le Guillou's careers.

Price-Spraggins, a sophomore from Chicago and a graduate of Whitney Young Magnet High School, led the Gold Nuggets with a .397 hitting percentage. She had 35 kills, 10 blocks, eight digs and the first five aces of her XULA career.

XULA was one of five schools with two all-tournament players. Seventeen schools competed.

The Gold Nuggets will play their home opener this week in the Big Easy Blastoff. XULA will play at 3 and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at its Convocation Center.

Ed Cassiere, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications

Two HBCU Classics in Alabama kickoff football season this weekend

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- It should be a big weekend of college football for four historically black colleges and universities in Alabama. There will be two HBCU classics to open the college football season.

Alabama State University will host Tuskegee University in the Labor Day Classic on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 5 p.m. in Montgomery. In the other matchup later that evening, in Huntsville, Alabama Agriculture & Mechanical will entertain Miles College at 6 p.m. in the Louis Crews Classic.

Tuskegee vs. Alabama State

Tuskegee is the defending Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) champion. The Golden Tigers are the preseason pick to win the SIAC West Division title. Tuskegee is led by quarterback Jamarcus Ezell and wide receiver Javarrius Cheatham on offense.

Ezell played some great football last season. He threw for 1,160 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions. Ezell had a big impact on the ground, too. He had 68 carries for 338 yards and two touchdowns.


Preseason snub fuels FAMU under first-year coach Simmons

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Tallahassee native and ex-college and arena league quarterback Willie Simmons has returned to his hometown to take over the Florida A&M program.

Simmons, 37, has three years of experience as a head coach, going 21-11 at Prairie View A&M. However, his win total declined each year, from eight to seven to six in 2017.

In an interesting move as it relates to recruiting, Simmons hired legendary Miami prep coach Billy Rolle as his assistant head coach. Rolle won four state titles with three Miami schools — Northwestern, Killian and Southridge.

Simmons and his staff inherit an FAMU Rattlers team that finished 3-8 last season — eighth place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference – and hasn’t beaten rival Bethune-Cookman since 2010.

In addition, the Rattlers — picked to finish fifth this season in the MEAC — did not place a single player on the league’s preseason first team.

Ten Rattlers made the second or third team, but that was seen as a lack of respect by FAMU players.

“Seeing that they put me on third-team just adds fuel to my fire,” FAMU quarterback Ryan Stanley told reporters at the recent MEAC Media Day event in Norfolk, Virginia. “It motivates me harder.”


Football 2018: Previewing S.C. colleges -- Allen University

Allen University Athletic LogoCOLUMBIA, South Carolina -- Football returns to Allen University in 2018.

The Yellow Jackets will be led by head coach Teddy Keeton.

Keaton has more than 15 years of experience in coaching with a record of 54-26. He has been AIFL Coach of the Year 2007, Lakeland Thunderbolts; Atlanta South Division Champions 2006 and 2007; American Indoor Football Champions, 2007 Lakeland Thunderbolts; Pacific Central Division Champions 2008.

Allen will play its home games at W.C. Hawkins Stadium at Irmo High School.

The season opener will be at home at 3 p.m. Sept. 1 against Columbus State.


Bethune-Cookman could take a step back following successful 2017 campaign

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats needed a “closer” last season as two blown fourth-quarter leads prevented what would’ve been an undefeated season within the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

As it stood, the Wildcats finished 2017 with a 7-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in the MEAC after losing 26-24 at Howard and 24-20 at league champion North Carolina Central.

In the Howard game, the Wildcats allowed the winning touchdown with just 39 seconds left as Caylin Newton — Cam’s little brother — ran 5 yards for the winning score.

Against North Carolina Central, the Wildcats led 20-14 lead after three quarters and had a chance to win at the end but had a pass batted away in the end zone on the game’s final play.

This year, which will be the fourth under coach Terry Sims, the Wildcats are hoping to improve from second place to first in the league while extending their dominance over rival Florida A&M to eight straight years.

However, it’s possible the Wildcats could take a step back. They are picked to finish just fourth in the league, and the reason is the talent they lost from last season.

Quarterback Larry Brihm completed 62.2 percent of his passes last season, producing a 12-4 touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio. He is now playing in the Canadian Football League.


N.C. Central, Prairie View A&M are both playing for new coaches in MEAC/SWAC Challenge

ATLANTA, Georgia -- The MEAC/SWAC Challenge, now in its 14th year, will be played in its new home in Atlanta on Sunday. The early-season matchup, which features a team from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) against a foe from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), will make Atlanta its home until 2020.

The game Sunday at Pete Petit Field at Georgia State Stadium will be between Prairie View A&M of the SWAC and North Carolina Central of the MEAC and will serve as an appetizer to the season-ending Celebration Bowl, also in Atlanta.

The N.C. Central Eagles open their 2018 campaign with new head coach Granville Eastman, who worked under former head coach Jerry Mack as assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and safeties coach for four seasons. Mack is now the offensive coordinator at Rice University.

Under Eastman, the defense was one of the best in the MEAC. It’s led by one of the best players in historically black college and university (HBCU) football, Davanta Reynolds, the preseason MEAC Defensive Player of the Year. On Sunday, he’ll be facing a Prairie View A&M offense that proved last week that it could score, putting up 28 points against FBS opponent Rice University before losing 31-28 on a last-second field goal by the Owls.

It’s likely that Reynolds will be matched up against Prairie View Panthers receiver Tristen Wallace, an Oregon transfer who had five catches for 147 yards and a touchdown versus Rice. Quarterback Jalen Morton completed 16 of 28 passes for 244 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.


UAPB Opens New Football Field

PINE BLUFF, Arkansas -- The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff received a donation of $2.5 million last May to help with athletic facility upgrades.

And today, the university welcomed the public to Simmons Bank Field to see all the upgrades.

The project focused on a brand new turf field and a brand new scoreboard, now one of the biggest in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).

Head Football Coach Cedric Thomas says it's not just a big deal for his team but fans as well.

"Just a sense of pride, you know an opportunity to have, you know, things that look nice and recruiting tools and just give people a sense of pride and relates to the things that they have. Just to be able to come out on rainy days and not have to practice in the gym but from a community standpoint, you know, it gives you that much to stick your chest out and be prideful knowing that you've got good things," Coach Thomas said.