Quarterbacks sealed the deal for their teams in the top HBCU performances of Week 12.
Bowie State’s Ja’Rome Johnson used his legs to propel the CIAA champions to a first round NCAA Div. II playoff win.
Jackson State freshman Shedeur Sanders’ again showed why he should be the SWAC’s offensive player of the year as he led the Tigers to an undefeated SWAC regular season.
SC State’s Corey Fields Jr. came through with the same, i.e., an undefeated MEAC regular season for the Bulldogs, and the league’s outright title and Celebration Bowl berth.
HBCU Top Performances – Passing
Alabama A&M senior quarterback Aqeel Glass had the gaudiest passing numbers Saturday, as he has had all season.
Glass ended the season Saturday the way he began it, throwing for over 400 yards, as the Bulldogs finished 7-3 with a 52-24 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He was 26 of 33 for 450 yards and a season-high six touchdowns without a pick Saturday. It was his fifth 400-yard game of the season.
Ordinarily, Glass’s 3,568 passing yards, 356.8 yards per game and 36 passing touchdowns, all league bests, would be enough to guarantee him player of the year honors for the second year in a row. But that might not be the case.
Shedeur Sanders has been bettter
Shedeur Sanders has been the offensive lynchpin behind the resurgence of Jackson State (10-1, 7-0 SWAC E) under his father, Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders. He filled that role again Saturday. His two second-half TD passes propelled JSU past Alcorn State 24-10. He finished 28 of 39 for 297 yards and three TDs without a pick. He’s had seven games with a goose egg (zero) in interceptions.
The young Sanders has thrown for 2,971 yards and 28 touchdowns with just five interceptions on the season. More importantly, his team is 10-1 overall and and undefeated (7-0) in SWAC play as they grabbed the East Division championship.
His play in the defeat of Alcorn State also helped determine who the Tigers with face in the Dec. 4 SWAC Championship Game. The win over Alcorn State handed the West title to Prairie View A&M (7-3, 6-1 SWAC W).
Sanders vs. Glass
His .687 completion percentage is better than Glass (62.6) as is his efficiency rating (160.7 to 160.3). Both of those numbers are best in the SWAC.
In their head-to-head match up on Oct. 8, Sanders was 17 of 25 for 249 yards and four TDs while Glass finished 26 of 40 for 293 yards and two TDs. Neither threw a pick. JSU won the game at A&M’s homecoming, 61-15.
Sanders has been poised under pressure and great in late-game situations. His two touchdowns in the final half of the fourth quarter allowed JSU to escape with a tough 21-17 win last week at Southern that clinched the E. Div. title.
Sanders and the Tigers will play West Division champ Prairie View A&M on Dec. 4 in Jackson, Ms. in the SWAC Championship Game. The winner will face MEAC champion SC State in the Celebration Bowl on Dec. 18 in Atlanta.
Every JSU game this season, home or away, has drawn more than 20,000 fans. The biggest home crowds have been 53,578 for homecoming (Oct. 16) vs. Alabama State and 58,892 vs. Alcorn State Saturday. Get your tickets early because the SWAC Championship Game may draw those kind of crowds.
SC State QB Corey Fields Jr. was 21 of 34 for 250 yards and three touchdowns as the Bulldogs (6-5, 5-0) completed a perfect MEAC regular season with a 31-21 win at Norfolk State. As MEAC champions, Fields will lead SC State into its first appearance in the Celebration Bowl on Dec. 18 at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
TOP HBCU Performances – Rushing
While Corey Fields Jr. did the damage for SC State through the air vs. Norfolk State, sophomore Kendrell Flowers did the work on the ground. Flowers had season-highs of 32 carries for 172 yards in the Bulldogs’ win. He had a 1-yard TD run to cap the scoring.
Bowie State got 100-yard efforts from QB Ja’rome Johnson and RB Calil Wilkins in its 31-10 first round NCAA Div. II playoff win over Lenoir-Rhyne. Johnson totalled 147 rushing yards on just 12 carries and broke the back of the LRU defense with scoring runs of 65 and 48 yards.
Wilkins, the CIAA and HBCU rushing leader with 1,207 yards on the season, came thru with 101 yards on 23 carries including a 15-yard TD scamper to close out the scoring.
Bowie State (11-1), the No. 2 seed in Super Region II, is home again Saturday (1 p.m.) facing No. 6 Newberry (10-2) in a second round playoff game. BSU has never advanced past the second round.
Florida A&M (9-2, 7-1 SWAC E) punched its ticket to the FCS playoffs after RB Bishop Bonnet’s 128-yard, one-touchdown rushing effort in a 46-21 win over Bethune-Cookman. The Rattlers’ win snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Wildcats in the season-ending Florida Classic.
FAMU will be on the road at SE Louisiana (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+) in a first round FCS playoff game. This is the first FCS playoff berth for a SWAC program since the league went to a championship game format in 1999.
Top HBCU Performance – Receiving
Six-four, 210-pound Delaware State wide receiver Trey Gross capped an excellent senior season with 12 receptions for 141 yards and all four Hornets’ TDs in a 34-28 overtime loss to NC Central Saturday. Gross, whose scoring catches covered 15, 21, 37 and 16 yards, finishes the season with MEAC and HBCU bests of 13 receiving touchdowns.
Imposing 6-5, 215-pound redshirt sophomore wideout Shaquan Davis of SC State also finished his regular season with a breakout performance. Davis hauled in nine passes for 141 yards and three TDs in the Bulldogs’ win at Norfolk State. His scoring receptions covered 21, 14 and 20 yards. Davis led the MEAC with 769 receiving yards (85.4 ypg.) and 20.4 yards per catch.
The Alabama A&M trio of Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim, Odieu Hilaire and Dee Anderson finished their seasons atop the SWAC receiving lists.
Hilaire had eight receptions for 162 yards including a 62-yard TD reception Saturday. Ibrahim hauled in seven catches for 115 yards and two TDs. Ibrahim finished first (1008 yards, 100.8 ypg.) and Hilaire second (918 yds., 91.8 ypg.) in receiving yards in the SWAC . Hilaire was first (71 rec.,) and Ibrahim 67 rec.) second in receptions. Ibrahim had eight TDs and Hilaire nine. Ibrahim and Hilaire are both juniors. Teammate Anderson (33 rec., 493 yds.), a 6-6, 220-pound senior, led the SWAC with 12 TD receptions.
Top HBCU Performances – Defense
Florida A&M senior safety Markquese Bell is perhaps the top HBCU prospect for the NFL Draft. He showed why in the Rattlers win over Norfolk State.
The 6-3, 205-pounder totaled a team-best seven tackles, five solos, a forced fumble and an interception. Fellow defensive back B. J. Bohler, a redshirt junior, was just as disruptive. Bohler had four solo tackles, a forced fumble that he returned 56 yards for a score, an interception and a pass break-up.
SC State redshirt sophomore linebacker B. J. Davis and lineman Darrell Brown also had outstanding days. Davis led all tacklers with 14 stops while Brown registered a day’s best three sacks.
TOP HBCU PERFORMANCES
PASSING ATT-COMP YDS TDS (YDS)
Aqeel Glass, ALA&M 26-33-0 450 6 (4, 7, 62, 16, 19, 53)
Shedeur Sanders, JSU 28-39-0 297 3 (3, 31, 2)
Corey Fields Jr., SCSU 21-34-1 250 3 (21, 14, 20)
Jett Duffey, HAMP 15-24-2 242 0
Juwan Carter, NSU 17-28-1 240 2 (18, 38)
Devin Black, B-CU 10-13-1 231 3 (82, 9, 4)
Skyler Perry, ARKPB 22-42-1 220 1 (17)
Felix Harper, ALC 18-29-1 210 1 (50)
Jared Lewis, DSU 20-34-0 202 4 (15, 21, 37, 16)
Rasean McKay, FAMU 15-23-0 175 1 (48)
Andrew Body, TXSU 13-25-1 163 1 (30)
Joe Owens Jr., ALST 18-2701 150 2 (9)
Davius Richard, NCCU 16-27-1 150 2 (15, 8)
Dionte Bonneau, ALB 15-36-1 133 1 (2)
Deven Bryant, TNST 9-11-0 128 0
Neal Bourdreau, MSU 9-17 78 0
Ja’rome Johnson, BSU 8-21-0 76 0
RUSHING CAR YDS TDs (YDS)
Kendrell Flowers, SCSU 32 172 1 (1)
Alfonzo Graham, MSU 9 160 2 (40, 86)
Ja’rome Johnson, BSU 12 147 2 (65, 48)
Kierre Crossley, ARKPB 22 138 1 (2)
Andrew Body, TXSU 9 137 1 (4)
Bishop Bennett, FAMU 19 128 1 (38)
Jacory Merritt, ALST 14 106 0
Skyler Perry, ARKPB 13 104 1 (30)
Calil Wilkins, BSU 23 101 1 (15)
Jaden Stewart, PVA&M 24 100 0
Isaiah McCray, ALB 20 98 0
Stadford Anderson, ALC 15 85 0
Jaylen McCloud, FAMU 10 77 1 (2)
Jett Duffey, HAMP 16 79 2 (4, 6)
Richard Davius, NCCU 12 68 1 (10)
Inge Wade, DSU 6 60 0
RECEIVING REC YDS TDs
Darryl Powell, B-CU 3 164 1 (82)
Odieu Hilaire, ALA&M 8 162 1 (62)
Trey Gross, DSU 12 142 4 (15, 21, 37, 16)
Shaq Davis, SCSU 9 141 3 (21, 14, 20)
Romon Copeland, HAMP 6 129 0
Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim, ALA&M 7 115 2 (7, 19)
Keith Corbin, JSU 9 110 2 (3, 2)
Ke’Lenn Davis, TXSU 3 91 0
Tyrin Ralph, ARKPB 4 90 0
Cam Wyche, TNST 4 88 0
Justin Smith, NSU 6 86 0
Xavier Smith, FAMU 6 82 1 (48)
14 B. J. Davis, SCSU;
13 Joseph Stuckey, NCA&T;
12 Tyler Long, NSU; Tim Walton, TXSU; Drake Cheatum, PVA&M;
11 Jaden Taylor, NCCU;
10 Aree Booker, MSU; Mario Goings, DSU;
Noah Rainbow-Douglas, NCCU; Chad Gilchrist, SCSU;
Malik Franklin, B-CU;
3.0 Darrell Brown, SCSU;
2.5 KeShaun Moore, HAMP;
2.0 James Houston, JSU; Isaiah Land, Mentor Stanley, FAMU;
1.5 Jonathan Ross, BSU; Monroe Beard III, ARKPB;