Homecoming football games in HBCU football are a huge deal. And even that may be putting it lightly. For pretty much all HBCUs, regardless of division, it is generally the highest attended game of the season. Alumni come in from all over the state and country, and for many of them it is the ONLY game they will attend, so you want to make sure you come correct.
That being said, most homecoming opponents are generally lesser programs that a team doesn’t think will put up much of a fight. That’s not the case for Virginia State and Bowie State, nor has it been for a while.
VSU and BSU will meet on Saturday in Ettrick, VA for a game that of late has had CIAA Championship Game implications. The winner of this game has gone on to win the Northern Division in each of the last six years dating back to the infamous 2013 game, a 47-44 classic homecoming win for VSU.
VSU would win again in 2014, eventually beating Winston-Salem State for the first CIAA title from the northern division since 2001.
Bowie State would take the next two games, and back-to-back trips to the CIAA title game in 2015 with Nyema Washington and the 2016 thriller as Amir Hall and Co. out-dueled Trent Cannon and the Trojans.
We were there in 2017 as Cannon and VSU got their revenge in a homecoming shootout and went on to claim the title. The 2018 matchup wasn’t as important, but it was still a tighter game than one would have expected from a VSU team that took a step back.
VSU enters the game 5-1, with its lone loss coming to Norfolk State in a game that it turned the ball over six times to its Division I rival. Since then, VSU has been perfect, averaging nearly 40 points per game while giving up just over 12 points per game.
BSU is a perfect 6-0, putting up 40 points per game while holding opponents to just 15 points per game. Quarterback Ja’Rome Johnson has been getting it done on the ground as he ranks third in the CIAA in rushing yards (569) and leads the conference in touchdowns (8).
There are no Trenton Cannons or Amir Halls in the 2019 version of this game, but we could be in for another classic. While it looks like Virginia Union will have something to say about the CIAA North title the winner of this team could very easily wind up in Salem in mid-November.
The game will be shown live on Aspire TV at 2 PM, directly following the latest episode of HBCU Gameday’s “No Huddle” which kicks off promptly at 1:30 PM.