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HBCU FCS Review: Grambling Ends Long Losing Streak

Jonathan Williams threw for five touchdowns and ran for two more in Saturday’s win over Mississippi Valley. (Shreveport Times photo)

Two weeks ago, Grambling grabbed the world’s attention when its players refused to show up for a road game. The G-Men grabbed headlines again on Saturday, only this time, for their performance on the field. Grambling defeated Mississippi Valley State 47-40, picking up its first win of the season and first over an NCAA team in 18 games.

Grambling’s win was keyed by quarterback Jonathan Williams, who accounted for seven touchdowns on the day. Williams got the start in place of starter DJ Williams, who suffered a concusion-like symptons against Texas Southern last week. The win was also the team’s first over a SWAC opponent since winning the 2011 SWAC Championship.

Elsewhere in the SWAC, Alabama A&M pulled of a 19-18 upset against Alcorn State, handing Alcorn its third loss of the season, and putting its SWAC title hopes in serious jeopardy. Southern bounced back from its homecoming loss to Alcorn State with a solid 31-24 win over Texas Southern, maintaining its spot atop the SWAC West standings. Alabama State saw its six-game winning streak halted against FBS opponent Kentucky.

In the MEAC, the top teams took care of business. Bethune-Cookman easily disposed of North Carolina Central with a 38-14 win on ESPNU. South Carolina State got the best medicine anyone could ask for after a tough loss: a game against Savannah State. SC State tried to make up for every point that it didn’t score against Bethune-Cookman with a 45-9 win over SSU.

The MEAC also had two exciting finishes in games among lower-level teams. Delaware State stole a 22-20 win against Howard on a game-wining 26 yard field goal by Mitchell Ward. Morgan State led  by 18 points late in the second quarter, but allowed Hampton to score 20 straight points to take a three-point lead early in the fourth. The Bears managed to come up with a game-wining touchdown drive with just 26 seconds remaining to pick up their third win in four games.

Trending Up: Morgan State

The Bears started out the season 0-5, and it looked for certain that coach Donald Hill-Eley wouldn’t be back in Baltimore next season. Since then, however, Morgan has won three of its last four and currently sits at fourth place in the MEAC.

Trending Down: Tennessee State

Tennessee State won seven-straight games after an opening-night loss to Bethune-Cookman, but the past few weeks haven’t been kind. The team lost its second-straight conference game on Saturday, and it wasn’t even close. TSU, which once had the top defense in the FCS, fell 44-0 to Eastern Kentucky.

HBCU FCS Power Rankings

1. Bethune-Cookman (8-1, 5-0)-The Wildcats offense looked great on Saturday against NCCU.
2. Jackson State(6-2, 7-0) -The Tigers were idle this week, but still appear to be the class of the SWAC.
3. South Carolina State (6-3, 5-1) -The Bulldogs bounced back from last week’s loss with a dominating performance against Savannah State. 
4. Alabama State (6-3, 5-1)-Despite its winning-streak coming to an end, the Hornets still have a shot at making the SWAC Championship game.
5. Tennessee State (7-3, 2-2)-The Tigers looked like a team that hasn’t had a week off since August this week. 

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