The SWAC East Division race is wide open after Alabama State routed Alabama A&M 31-13 Saturday in the 71st Magic City Classic.
The SWAC East Division race is wide open after Alabama State routed Alabama A&M 31-13 Saturday in the 71st Magic City Classic at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala.
The victory for the Hornets (5-3, 5-2 SWAC) leaves them tied with Alabama A&M (6-2, 5-2 SWAC) and half game ahead of Jackson State (4-4, 4-2 SWAC). The Hornets hold the tie-breaker with Alabama A&M on the strength of their victory Saturday. Jackson State owns the tie-breaker with Alabama State after beating the Hornets 37-34 two weeks ago. Jackson State hosts Alabama A&M Nov. 10.
Alabama State, the preseason favorite to win the division, scored 21 unanswered points to win going away. The Hornets led 10-0 in the early going, but they trailed 13-10 with 14:40 remaining in the half after Kaderius Lacey scored his second touchdown of the game on a 29-yard for Alabama A&M. Lacey’s other touchdown came on a six-yard run.
The Hornets rallied on the big-play passing of quarterback Greg Jenkins, the game’s Offensive MVP who accounted for 276 total yards while completing 10 of 15 attempts for a season-high 264 yards and a touchdown, a 62-yard strike to DeMario Bell at 7:30 of the first period that made the score 10-0. Jenkins unloaded a 56-yard bomb to T.C. McWilliams, setting up a nine-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Crowell with 7:35 left in the second period that gave the Hornets the lead for good, 17-13. Jenkins connected with Landon Jones on a 57-yard completion minutes later, and then scored on a nine-yard run himself to put the Hornets on top 24-13 at the half.
Crowell’s three-yard run at 12:04 of the third period sounded the death knell for Alabama A&M, the reigning division champion who has now lost back-to-back games after starting the season with six consecutive victories and appearing to be a lock for its sixth division title.
Alabama State’s defense, which has struggled against the run all season, completely stifled the Bulldogs’ ground game, which entered the contest averaging a conference-best 188.3 yards a game. The Hornets held Alabama A&M to just 29 yards on the ground, the Bulldogs’ lowest output since Nov. 3, 2007 against Jackson State, and Lacey, the leading ground gainer in conference, managed just 42 yards on 11 carries.
Alabama A&M quarterback Deaunte Mason, the conference’s total offense leader with 227.9 yards game, was limited 198 yards passing. The Hornets sacked Mason four times for 42 yards in losses. With the Bulldogs’ running game stifled, Mason attempted a season-high 37 passes, completing 17 of them.
“We didn’t play well all the way across the board,’’ said Alabama A&M coach Anthony Jones, who lost for just the third time in 11 appearances in the Magic City Classic. “Alabama State played a great game and we didn’t. We had a lot of mental breakdowns. There were too many mistakes and a combination of things that resulted in us not playing well.’’
Alabama State had one of is more productive offensive games, racking up 419 total yards.
“Our players, we realized that we hadn’t played a complete game all season,’’ Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow said. “Our guys just kept playing the whole time,” Barlow said. “Whatever their responsibilities were, they played them. That was the key thing. Everyone stepped up and played big for us.”
Winston-Salem State 62, Shaw 31: The Rams, No. 2 in NCAA Division II, clinched their second consecutive CIAA Southern Division with a lopsided victory in Durham, N.C. Winston-Salem (9-0, 6-0) will play Northern Division winner in the CIAA Championship Game Nov. 10 in a rematch of last year’s title game that the Rams won. Winston-Salem routed Shaw (4-5, 3-3 CIAA) despite being outgained by 10 yards in total offense, 494-484, in large part because of the Rams’ third down efficiency. They were successful on seven of 14 third down attempts, and four of their first five touchdowns came on third down plays. Quarterback Kameron Smith was spectacular for Winston-Salem. Smith completed 23 of 36 pass attempts for 363 yards and six touchdowns, and he didn’t throw an interception. James Stallons was equally as impressive for Shaw, throwing for 412 yards three touchdowns while completing 33 of 48 passes.
Elizabeth City State 27, Virginia Union 21: The Vikings claimed the CIAA Northern Division championship after holding for a home victory against the Panthers. Elizabeth City (6-3, 5-1 CIAA) led 27-14 with 10:59 remaining in the game. Virginia Union cut into the lead with an eight-play, 98-yard scoring drive that ended on Jerrell Washington’s two-yard touchdown run. The Panthers (4-5, 2-4 CIAA) executed a squib kick on the ensuing kickoff and recovered the ball at Elizabeth City’s 37 after it bounced off one of the Vikings. On fourth-and-18 from the 22, a defender tipped quarterback Kenneth Graham’s pass in the end zone. The ball fluttered into the hands of wide open Virginia Union receiver Denzel Duchenne, who dropped it with 39 seconds showing on the clock. The victory, coupled with Chowan’s win over Virginia State propelled Elizabeth City to division crown. Vikings All-American running back Daronte McNeill ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
Bethune-Cookman 42, North Carolina Central 17: The Wildcats used their big-play offense to subdue the visiting Eagles and take sole possession of first place in the MEAC. Isiadore Jackson, who ran for 158 yards, had a 93-yard touchdown run – the fourth-longest scoring run in school history – and Preston Cleckly and quarterback Quentin Williams teamed up on a 76-yard touchdown pass as Bethune-Cookman (6-2, 5-0 MEAC) handed North Carolina Central (5-3, 4-1 MEAC) its first conference loss. North Carolina Central led 17-14 midway through the third period before the Wildcats went on a roll. The Wildcats finished the game with 463 yards total offense, including 274 rushing, and they averaged 6.1 yards a play. Bethune-Cookman’s defense forced three turnovers and held North Carolina Central to 234 total yards.
Bowie State 45, Lincoln (Pa.) 9
Chowan 33, Virginia State 21
Fayetteville State 47, Livingstone 29
Johnson C. Smith 27, Saint Augustine’s 21
Delaware State 28, Morgan State 23
Hampton 21, Savannah State 13
North Carolina A&T 30, Norfolk State 9
South Carolina State 34, Howard 22
Albany State 24, Benedict 13
Fort Valley State 26, Morehouse 19
Lane 28, Kentucky State 14
Miles 49, Stillman 13
Tuskegee 14, Clark Atlanta 0
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 10, Miss Valley State 0
Prairie View A&M 49, Southern 29
Texas Southern 23, Grambling State 20
Central Oklahoma 56, Lincoln (Mo.) 25
Central State 32, Quincy 16
Charleston Southern 42, Edward Waters 7
McMurry 29, Langston 11
Tennessee State 22, Tennessee Tech 21
Texas College 31, Concordia-Selma 20
West Chester 59, Cheyney 14
West Virginia Wesleyan 42, West Virginia State 14