The HBCU Football Rundown for Week 8 shows races in two conferences are coming down to the wire. The races in two other conferences are just getting started.
There are just three weeks left in 2021 regular season football for the CIAA and SIAC who both have championship games scheduled for November 13. That pretty much means if teams have any hopes of making to the prospective title games, now’s the time to make a move.
Meanwhile, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference has its first full state of intra-conference games this week. Southwestern Athletic Conference teams are either three or four games into their eight-game conference schedule.
Homecoming season continues as 11 are on tap this Saturday. Nine games will be streamed this week
HBCU Football Rundown – SIAC
The SIAC’s big battle this week is Savannah State at Albany State (2 p.m.) for the East Division lead. The game will be carried live on ESPN+.
Both teams come in with 6-1 overall records. Both SSU (53-7) and ASU (21-3) lost to nationally ranked AFCA No. 2 Valdosta State (6-0) earlier in the season. Albany State received 11 votes in this week’s AFCA NCAA Div. II Top 25 poll which would land the Golden Rams 31st. In conference play, SSU is 4-0 while ASU is 3-0.
Albany State leads the conference in scoring defense giving up just 6.0 points per game. Savannah State is right behind the Golden Rams at 10.9 ppg.
Tough defenses, strong offenses
Shawn Quinn’s SSU squad averages 239.1 rushing yards per game, second only in the league to Kentucky State’s 292 yards per game. SSU junior QB D’Vonn Gibbons (520 yds., 6.4 ypc., 74.3 ypg., 4 TDs) is the top rusher in the Tigers’ option attack. Senior RB D’Angelo Durham has rushed for 380 yards and six TDs.
Albany State head coach Gabe Gardinia also has two rushers in the top ten in the league in freshman RB Marcuis Fulks (481 yds., 4.7 ypc., 68.7 ypg., 9 TDs) and fellow freshman Kamran Ward (399 yds., 1 TD). ASU also has a freshman, Dionte Bonneau, among the conference passing leaders. Bonneau (71-132-5, 53.8%) has thrown for 1,085 yards and 11 TDs in seven games.
SSU freshman QB Jamurian Hartage has thrown just 45 times and completed 27 (60%) for 491 yards and six TDs with just one pick.
In other games in the East, Morehouse is at Benedict’s homecoming in Columbia, S.C. (3 p.m.) and Clark Atlanta is at Fort Valley State (2 p.m.).
The outlook in the West is not as clear. Kentucky State and Tuskegee sit atop the division at 2-1. Miles (2-2) and Lane (1-2) are tied for third.
Miles is at Kentucky State (1 p.m.) and Lane is at Tuskegee (2 p.m.) in key West Division match ups.
HBCU Football Rundown – CIAA
North leader Bowie State (6-1, 4-0 CIAA N) can take a big step towards its third straight division title Saturday (1 p.m.) in its game in Richmond, Va. against second-place Virginia Union (4-3, 3-1 N).
A BSU win would give Damon Wilson’s Bulldogs a two-game lead with games left on the road at 1-6 Lincoln on Oct. 30 and at home vs. 2-5 Elizabeth City State on Nov. 6.
VUU could put themselves in the drivers’ seat with a win. The Panthers, whose only loss in conference play is to Shaw, close on the road at ECSU (Oct. 30) and at home to Virginia State (on Nov. 6).
The offenses have it
BSU senior QB Ja’rome Johnson leads the Bulldogs. He has passed for 1,393 yards and 17 touchdowns in seven games with just six interceptions. Calil Wilkins is BSU’s top rusher and is third in the CIAA with 552 yards and three TDs. The Bulldogs average 33.0 points per game
VUU freshman Jada Byers, coming off a 213-yard effort vs. Chowan Saturday, is the CIAA’s top rusher (654 yds., 7 TDs.). Khalid Morris is the Panthers’ trigger-man. Morris went out of last week’s Chowan game and was replaced by graduate transfer E’Mond Caldwell who threw for 149 yards and one TD and ran for another TD in the win. The Panthers score 29.1 points per contest.
There’s an outside but unlikely shot that one of three teams with two conference losses – Chowan, VSU or ECSU – could sneak in in the East if Bowie State was to lose its final three games.
This week, Chowan is at ECSU’s homecoming (1:30 p.m.) and Lincoln is at VSU’s homecoming (2 p.m.).
In the South, Fayetteville State (5-1, 4-0 S) is the leader as it travels to Raleigh Saturday to face Saint Augustine’s (0-5, 0-4 S).
Second-place Shaw (3-3, 2-1 S) has its homecoming (1 p.m.) in Durham vs. J. C. Smith (0-6, 0-4 S). Livingstone (1-5, 1-2 S) is at the Winston-Salem State (2-4, 2-2 S) homecoming (1 p.m.).
HBCU Football Rundown – MEAC
The MEAC is just getting cranked up with conference play as all six teams play in-conference games this week.
Norfolk State (4-2) has won four straight and plays its first conference game Saturday (1 p.m.) for homecoming at Howard (2-4, 1-0).
Conference favorite South Carolina State (2-4, 1-0) is at homecoming for Delaware State (2-4). It is DelState’s first conference game.
North Carolina Central (2-4) also has its first conference game at Morgan State (0-6, 0-2).
HBCU Football Rundown – SWAC
Jackson State (5-1, 3-0 E) will be trying to solidify its hold atop the SWAC East Division playing winless Bethune-Cookman (0-7, 0-4 E) in Jackson (2 p.m.). Head coach Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders will be out on doctors orders to recover from recent foot surgery. Former Howard player and head coach Gary “The Flea” Harrell, the current running backs and assistant coach. will sub for Sanders.
Florida A&M (4-2, 2-1 E), lurking just a game behind JSU, is playing (3 p.m.) at Mississippi Valley State (2-4, 1-2 E).
West Division leader Prairie View A&M (5-1, 4-0 W) has a key date at homecoming (6 p.m.) at Southern (3-3, 2-1 W). Alcorn State (4-2, 3-0), just a half-game behind PV, is on the road at Texas Southern (1-4, 1-2 W).
HBCU Football Rundown – Independents
The two HBCU programs in the Big South Conference will meet on Saturday (2 p.m.) when North Carolina A&T (3-3, 2-1) travels to Hampton (2-4, 0-2).
Langston (6-0) will try to keep its unblemished record intact when the Lions travel to Phoenix to face Ottawa.
GAMES THIS WEEK
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23
Fayetteville State vs. Saint Augustine’s in Raleigh, NC 1 pm ET
Bowie State vs. Virginia Union in Richmond, VA 1 pm ET
Livingstone vs. Winston-Salem State in Winston-Salem, NC 1 pm ET
J. C. Smith vs. Shaw in Durham, NC 1 pm ET
Chowan vs. Elizabeth City State in Elizabeth City, NC 1:30 pm ET
Lincoln (Pa.) vs. Virginia State in Petersburg, VA 2 pm ET
NC Central vs. Morgan State in Baltimore, MD (ESPN+) 1 pm ET
Norfolk State vs. Howard in Wash., DC (ESPN3 1pm, U – 10:30 pm) 1 pm ET
South Carolina State vs. Delaware State in Dover, DE (ESPN3) 2 pm ET
Miles vs. Kentucky State in Frankfort, KY 1 pm ET
Allen vs. Erskine in Due West, SC 1 pm ET
Clark Atlanta vs. Fort Valley State in Fort Valley, GA 2 pm ET
Savannah State vs. Albany State in Albany, GA (ESPN+) 2 pm ET
Lane vs. Tuskegee in Tuskegee, AL (ESPN+) 2 pm ET
Central State vs. Edward Waters in Jacksonville, FL 2 pm ET
Morehouse vs. Benedict in Columbia, SC 3 pm ET
Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. Arkansas in Little Rock, AR 11 am
Florida A&M vs. Mississippi Valley State in Itta Bena, MS 3 pm ET
Alcorn State vs. Texas Southern in Houston, TX 7 pm ET
Bethune-Cookman vs. Jackson State in Jackson, MS (ESPN+) 2 pm ET
Prairie View A&M vs. Southern in Baton Rouge, LA (ESPN+) 6 pm ET
Texas College vs. Arizona Christian 11 am PT
West Virginia State vs. Concord in Athens, WV 1 pm ET
Lincoln (Mo.) vs. Nebraska Kearney in Kearney, NE 2 pm ET
North Carolina A&T vs. Hampton in Hampton, VA (ESPN+) 2 pm ET
Langston vs. Ottawa in Phoenix, AR 9 pm ET
Union (Ky.) vs. Florida Memorial in Miami, FL 1:30 pm ET
Tennessee State vs. Eastern Illinios in Charleston, IL (ESPN+) 2 pm ET