CHARLOTTE, NC – This will be Week #10 and mark the end of the regular season for most of our CIAA football teams. Let’s look at what’s in store for this Saturday.
Shaw (2-7 / 2-5 CIAA / 1-3 South) at Saint Augustine’s (0-9 / 0-7 CIAA / 0-4 South) 1 PM
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Shaw and Saint Augustine’s will battle in the Raleigh Classic and each team looks to end the season on a positive note after suffering setbacks last weekend. Shaw’s Sidney Gibbs ranks fifth overall in conference rushing yards per game (63.6) on 116 carries and 572 yards. Donte Lee Jr. of Shaw currently ranks second in CIAA Kick Return average at 25.1 yards per return. Saint Augustine’s is led by quarterback Anthony Butler with his 646 passing yards (80.8 yards per game). Shaw and Saint Augustine’s rank 11th and 12th in conference scoring, averaging 13.6 and 7.8 points per game respectively. In terms of defense, the Shaw Bears are 8th overall in the league (27.1) while the Saint Augustine’s Falcons rank 9th in CIAA defense, allowing 27.7 points per game.
#22 Virginia State (8-1 / 6-1 CIAA / 4-1 North) at #19 Virginia Union (8-1 / 6-1 CIAA / 4-0 North) 1 PM
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Most eyes will probably be on this I-95 rivalry as the CIAA Northern Division title is on the line when Virginia State makes the short trip to Virginia Union in a clash of two nationally ranked teams. Virginia Union ranks 19th in the latest AFCA Poll and 10th in the NCAA Super Region Two Poll. Virginia State is also in the nation’s Top 25, coming in 22nd in the AFCA Poll. However, the VSU Trojans are not currently ranked in the NCAA Super Region Two Poll. Virginia State enters Saturday’s contest ranked second in Team Scoring (39.3 points per game) and 4th in points allowed (17.0). VSU’s Kymani Clarke is the team’s leading rusher with 520 yards (74.3 per game). The current division leading Panthers of Virginia Union are led by the CIAA’s leading rusher Jada Byers. Byers is averaging 113.6 yards per game, 6.7 yards per carry and has accumulated 795 rushing yards over seven games played.
Bowie State looks to keep its unbeaten streak against Lincoln (PA) in tack. The Lincoln (Pa.) Lions have never defeated the Bulldogs of Bowie State. Lincoln (PA) is ranked third overall in Team Offense (26.6 points per game, compared to Bowie State’s 18.7 points per game which ranks 8th overall. BSU’s Justin Zavala is the CIAA’s leading punter (39.2 yards per game) and Keshane Hinkley ranks 6th in CIAA Receiving (55.6 yards per game). The LUPA Lions have a pair of league leaders in Isaiah Freeman and Malachi Langley. Freeman has passed for a CIAA best 2,058 yards to date (228.7 per game) and 22 touchdowns. Langley has hauled in 38 receptions for 870 yards and averages 96.7 yards per contest.
The Livingstone/Johnson C. Smith tradition continues this Saturday. This time in Irwin Belk Complex on the JCSU Golden Bulls campus. These two teams were the first Black Colleges to meet on the gridiron. CLICK HERE to read more about how it all began. The Livingstone Blue Bears and Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls are both coming off wins last Saturday but only one team will raise the Commemorative Classic trophy high when the dust settles following this Saturday’s regular season finale for each team. Through nine games, LC’s Blue Bears have rolled up 2,503 yards of total offense (278.1 per game) while JCSU’s Golden Bulls have accumulated 2,319 yards of total offense (257.7 yards per game). Livingstone will be led by quarterback Marcus Drish and receiver Davonte Deloatch. Johnson C. Smith is led by running back Jacob Newman Jr. and receiver Brevin Caldwell.
Bluefield State will make their first trip to Elizabeth City State on Saturday afternoon and are looking to spoil the Vikings Senior Day. The ECSU Vikings enter the regular season finale ranked 5th in conference total offense (283.3) and the BSU Big Blue are hot on their heels, ranking 6th in total offense (280.7). Bluefield State’s Big Blue holds a 19.6 to 16.1 advantage in scoring through nine games over Elizabeth City State. Donaven Davenport is the CIAA’s fifth leading passer in terms of passing yards per game average (134.1). Jahdir Loftland is Bluefield State’s leading offensive producer with a team-best 393 rushing yards on 114 carries.
Even though Fayetteville State has clinched the CIAA Southern Division crown for the sixth straight season, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that visiting Winston-Salem State will absolutely come into the game with an “Attitude Check” of their own. This will be the 73rd overall meeting between the WSSU Rams and the FSU Broncos. Winston-Salem State holds a commanding 51-18-3 series advantage, but Fayetteville State has won four of the last five since the 2017 season. Fayetteville State’s strength this season has been on the defensive side of the ball as the Broncos rank second in CIAA team defense, allowing just 12.7 points per game and are tied for first in league sacks with 23. WSSU’s Dylan Lee ranks second in CIAA Passing Yards per Game (185.0) and his FSU counterpart Joe Owens Jr. is 7th overall (120.7). Justin Fleming leads the WSSU Rams in tackles with 59 on the year while Kolby Merritt is the leading tackler for the FSU Broncos with 50.