By Dr. J. Kenyatta Cavil and Brandon Bolden
Inside the HBCU Huddle Columnists
College Sporting News
Both classic matchups could have featured playoffs at-large bid aspirants, but the No. 2 Jackson State Tigers are banned from postseason participation because of low APR performance.
While the Florida Classic game does not have the conference championship at stake this year, it could very well still hold an at-large playoff bid implication for the winner between the No. 3 Bethune-Cookman Wildcats and No. 4 Florida A & M Rattlers.
Another featured game has the Morgan State Bears on the road trying to stop a two game losing streak while seeking a winning season against the No. 9 Hampton Pirates.
The last game presented this week features a matchup of top ten teams; with the winner between the No. 5 Alabama A & M Bulldogs at No. 10 Prairie View A & M (homecoming) packing their bags for the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship Game in Birmingham, AL.
HBCU MAJOR DIVISION FOOTBALL TOP 10 POLL
Week 11 – Released 11/14/11
1. Norfolk State--(9-2)
2. Jackson State--(8-2)
3. Florida A & M--(7-3)
5. Alabama A & M--(7-3)
6. Alabama State--(7-3)
7. S. C. State--(6-4)
8. Grambling State--(6-4)
10. Prairie View A & M--(5-5)
@-Texas Southern--(4-6) = N/R
@ = TSPN & 3C 2010 HBCU Football Major Division National Champion
MEAC GAME OF WEEK
Morgan State (5-5, 4-3) at #9 Hampton (6-4, 4-3)
With the possibility of finishing the season on a 3-game losing skid hanging over their heads Morgan State looks to end the season on a winning note as they take travel to Virginia to take on Hampton University. Hampton dismantled their last opponent defeating Delaware State, 42-6. Pirates’ QB, Bradford Hudson passed for 162 yards and two touchdowns on 12 of 23 passing. Hamptons’ defense also wreaked havoc on Delaware State’s offense, picking off Hornets QB, Josh Bailey six times including one interception that was returned 43 yards for a touchdown by Pirates’ DB, Lyndell Gibson. Instead of being the victor in their last contest, Morgan State was indeed the victim as they were blown out by MEAC Conference Champs Norfolk State, 47-14. The Bears were no match for Spartan QB, Chris Walley who led Norfolk’s attack, throwing for 187 yards and two touchdowns. Walley also rushed for a touchdown. Hampton is the heavy favorite to win this match-up against a Morgan State squad that ranks low in both rushing and passing defense in the conference. In their meeting last season, Hampton slipped past Morgan State 21-16.
Game Outcome: Morgan State (Score 17-14)
SWAC GAME OF WEEK
#5 Alabama A & M (7-3, 6-2) at #10 Prairie View A & M (5-5, 5-3)
Prairie View A&M looks to solidify their spot in the SWAC Title Game with a win as the Western Division champions as they set to do battle with Alabama A&M for their homecoming opponent. Alabama A&M has conference title game dreams of their own as a win against the Panthers would mean the Bulldogs would play for the SWAC Championship as the Eastern division champs. Alabama A&M recently had their seven-game win streak come to a halt as they were blown-out by Jackson State 34-6. The Bulldogs pass defense was completely out of sync allowing Jackson State to record 440 yards through the air and four touchdowns. Alabama A&M rushing attack was non-existent being held to just 58 yards on the ground. Bulldogs’ QB, Deaunte Mason went 18 of 46 for 243 yards in the air and rushed for 33 yards on 11 carries in the losing effort. Prairie View had a better outcome in their last week matchup, bruising Alcorn State, 40-14. Panther QB, Jerry Lovelocke completed 15 of 25 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Panthers’ running game was also on point racking up 223 rushing yards by three different rushers. Prairie View’s defense surprised many by their stout performance last Saturday holding the Braves to 99 yards on the ground and 159 yards through the air. Prairie View has a lot riding on this game as a win would put the Panthers back in another conference championship game but a loss and a Grambling win would punch the Tigers ticket to the ball. This matchup between these two teams might feature a low-scoring smash-mouth football game as the SWAC’s top ranked rushing attack in Prairie View faces off against the second ranked rushing defense in Alabama A&M. Prairie View won their last meeting against the Bulldogs by 21, 35-14.
Game Outcome: Alabama A&M (Score 17-16)
HBCU CLASSIC GAME OF WEEK
Alcorn State (2-7, 1-7) vs #2 Jackson State (8-2, 6-2)
Alcorn State University looks to salvage what is left of a disappointing season as they vie for a win against red-hot Jackson State in the 2011 Capitol City Classic. The Braves once again try to rebound from a beat-down as they were stomped last week by the SWAC Western division front-runner in the Prairie View A&M Panthers, 40-14. Alcorn States’ defense was trampled by the Panther’s running game allowing Prairie View to rush for a combined 223 yards by three different running backs. Things were not too much better on the offensive side as Alcorn was held to just 99 rushing yards by a stout Panther defense. The “Air Raid” offense once again proved too much as Jackson State had their way in their matchup with Alabama A&M last week, ending the Bulldogs’ 7-game winning streak, 34-6. The Blue Bengals QB, Casey Therriault threw for 428 yards and four touchdowns while completing 23 of 41 passes. Jackson State once again outgained their opponents on the offensive side collecting 547 yards of total offense while holding Alabama A&M offense to 301 yards. Alcorn State will have their hands full this Saturday as they try to contain the number one offense in the SWAC in Jackson State. Jackson State possess the number one passing attack in the conference. Alcorn State is ranked number nine in the conference against the pass. In their last season meeting, Jackson State defeated Alcorn State, 27-14.
Game Outcome: Jackson State (Score 55-7)
HBCU MAJOR DIVISION GAME OF WEEK
#4 Bethune-Cookman (7-3, 5-2) at #3 Florida A & M (7-3, 5-2)
With second place in the MEAC standings and bragging rights on the line, Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M renew their rivalry one more time as they meet in the Florida Classic in Orlando, FL. Bethune-Cookman recently stretched their winning streak to five as the Wildcats destroyed Savannah State last week, 59-3. The game was not even close as the Wildcats stacked up 625 yards of total offense while amassing 431 of those yards on the ground. Wildcats’ QB, David Blackwell ran for 203 yards on six carries and three rushing touchdowns. Blackwell passed for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Bethune's passing defense also had a strong showing holding Savannah State’s to just 53 passing yards. Florida A&M added to their current streak as well defeating North Carolina Central, 31-10. The victory was in the bag for the Rattlers early as they led 28-0 at halftime. Rattlers’ QB Damien Fleming passed for a186 yards on 15of 24 passing and two touchdowns while RB Eddie Rocker rushed the ball 17 times for 128 yards in FAMU’s fourth straight win. This matchup should be a high scoring affair as it will feature the two top scoring offenses in the conference. It will also be a busy day for both defenses as Bethune-Cookman tries to stop FAMU’s passing attack which ranks number two in the conference while The Rattlers’ defense will attempt to contain the Wildcat’s rushing attack who ranks number one. In their last-season matchup, the Rattlers edged the Wildcats, 38-27.
Game Outcome: Bethune-Cookman (Score 45-42)