HBCU Football Wrap-Up

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Odums is lavish in his praise of Moore for how well he played against Texas Southern.

“He makes great decisions and he has good grasp of the offense,’’ Odums says. “If he’s in a bad play, he gets them in good situation. Everything about him you would like to have in your quarterback. He has lot sof poise. He stays in the pocket and makes plays.’’

Southern’s coaching change presents a conundrum for Comegy and his staff in their efforts to draw up a game plan for the Jaguars. They aren’t familiar with Odums’ philosophy on offense or defense since this is his first opportunity as a head coach.

“Southern is definitely a team we don’t know much about,’’ Comegy says. “We have to prepare for everything from a defensive standpoint. On offense we have to continue to put points on board.’’

Saturday’s game is critical both teams in their respective division races. Southern is 0-1 in the West Division. Arkansas-Pine Bluff was atop the division with 1-1 record going into the Golden Lions’ game at Alabama State Thursday night Defending conference champion Grambling State, the preseason favorite, and Prairie View A&M are both 0-2. Texas Southern is ineligible for the title. A Southern victory against Jackson State would keep the Jaguars within striking distance of the division lead.

“We have an opportunity to play for the SWAC title,’’ Odums says. “We only lost one (conference) game. Our goals are still in front of us.’’

Jackson State needs a victory to keep pace with East Division leaders Alabama State, the favorite, and Alabama A&M, who are both 2-0 in the conference.

“We haven’t reached the level I’d like to reach,’’ Comegy says. “I can see it coming. We definitely need to taste victory this week to get everything rolling.’’

Key Games
Tennessee State (3-0) at Bethune-Cookman (2-1):  This is matchup of two of the top teams in black college football. Bethune-Cookman is No. 1 in all three black college polls while Tennessee State is No. 2 in Heritage Sports Radio Network FCS Poll and the Boxtorow media poll. The Tigers are third in the Boxtorow coaches poll. Tennessee State is off to its best start since 2008 when the Tigers finished 8-3. Defense has been the catalyst for Tennessee State this season. The Tigers haven’t allowed an opposing ball-carrier to rush for 100 yards in their last five games. Opponents average 93.3 rushing yards a game against the Tigers this season. They held Jackson State to just 46 yards on the ground two weeks ago. The Tigers will face a supreme challenge against Bethune-Cookman, which excels at running the ball. The Wildcats had three ball-carriers – running backs Isidore Jackson and Rodney Scott and quarterback Brodrick Waters – with 100 more yards on the ground against Alabama State in their season-opener. They are coming off a 38-10 loss to Miami, but they gained 233 yards on the ground against their Football Bowl Subdivision opponent. The Wildcats average 254.3 rushing yards a game. Tennessee State relies on a balanced offense. The Tigers average 161.7 yards a game rushing and 240.7 passing. Trabis Ward (95.7 yards a game) and Telvin Hooks (66.3) are a formidable tandem at running back. Quarterback Michael German has been efficient, completing 63% of his passes with just two interceptions.

Miles (2-1, 0-0 SIAC) at Albany State (1-2, 0-0 SIAC): This is rematch of the last season’s inaugural SIAC Championship Game and a potential preview of this year’s title game. Both teams are picked to win their divisions. Miles has gotten off to an impressive start – especially on offense – and could easily be undefeated. The Golden Bears’ lone loss, 31-30 was against North Alabama in the season-opener. Coach Reginald Ruffin chose attempt a two-point conversion instead of kicking the extra point and playing for overtime after Miles scored in the waning seconds. The Golden Bears average 34.0 points a game, tops in the SIAC. They are No. 1 in passing offense with 294.3 yards a game, and No. 2 in total offense at 392.3 yards a game. Quarterback David Thomas averages 269.3 passing yards a game, best in the conference, and Antonio Pitts has a conference-best 17 receptions. The Golden Bears’ defense has been inconsistent, allowing 379.7 yards and ranking in the bottom third of the conference. Albany State has yet to hit its stride. The Golden Rams opened the season with an emotional victory against North Greenville in rematch of their 63-6 first round Division II playoff loss. They are coming off a gut-wrenching 13-12 loss to Elizabeth City State. Albany State has been strong against the run, only allowing 65.3 yards a game. The Golden Rams have been vulnerable against the pass, however, allowing opponents to complete 61.9% of their pass attempts. That could spell trouble against Miles.

MEAC
Florida A&M (1-2, 0-0 MEAC) at Delaware State (1-2, 0-0 MEAC)
Norfolk State (2-1) at Ohio (3-0)
North Carolina Central (1-2, 0-0 MEAC) at Savannah State (0-2, 0-0 MEAC)
South Carolina State (1-2) at Texas A&M (1-1)

SWAC
Alabama A&M (3-0, 1-0 SWAC) at Texas Southern (1-2, 1-1 SWAC)
Alcorn State (1-2) at Arkansas State (1-2)
Miss. Valley State (1-2) at Northwestern State (La.) (1-2)
Prairie View A&M (0-3) at North Dakota State (2-0)

CIAA
Bowie State (3-0, 0-0 CIAA) at Saint Augustine’s (2-1, 0-0 CIAA)
Chowan (1-2, 0-0 CIAA) at Shaw (1-2, 0-0 CIAA)
Elizabeth City State (1-2, 0-0 CIAA) at Fayetteville State (1-2, 0-0 CIAA)
Virginia State (1-2, 0-0 CIAA) at Johnson C. Smith (1-2, 0-0 CIAA)
Winston-Salem State (3-0, 0-0 CIAA) at Virginia Union  (2-1, 0-0 CIAA)

SIAC
Benedict (0-3, 0-0 SIAC) at Fort Valley State (2-1, 1-0 SIAC)
Concordia (1-2) at Clark Atlanta (1-2)
Kentucky State (1-1,0-0 SIAC)  at Stillman (1-2, 0-0 SIAC)
Lane (1-2, 0-0 SIAC) at Morehouse (1-2, 0-0 SIAC)
Miles (2-1 0-0 SIAC) at Albany State (1-2, 0-0 SIAC)
INDEPENDENTS
Central State (1-2) at Saint Joseph’s (1-2)
Cheyney (1-2) at East Stroudsburg (1-1)
Concord (1-2) at West Va. State (1-2)
Edward Waters (2-2) at University of New Orleans (Club Team)
Langston (1-1) at Lamar (1-2)
Lincoln (Mo.) (0-3) at Pittsburg State (Kan.) (3-0)
UNC-Pembroke (2-1) at Virginia University of Lynchburg (0-2)

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