The expectation when Southern played at Alabama State Saturday night was for a close game that likely would not be decided until the waning moments. After all, the margin of victory in each of the last five contests had been seven points or less, and all but one was decided in the final 20 seconds.
It was a completely different scenario this time when Southern visited ASU Stadium, however. The Jaguars took the suspense out of the game early and then held on for a 45-34 SWAC victory that ended Alabama State’s modest two-game winning streak.
Southern (3-2, 3-0 SWAC) led 17-0 at the half after holding Alabama State to just 85 total yards in the first two periods. Quarterback Austin Howard was the catalyst for Jaguars. The sophomore completed a career-high 33 passes in45 attempts for 355 yards and four touchdowns, and he ran for two scores.
Howard connected with Dillon Beard on a seven-yard touchdown pass 3:18 of the first period, and he scored on a two-yard run with 22 seconds left in the quarter after the Jaguars recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. The Hornets (2-4, 2-3 SWAC) righted themselves in the second half and ended the game with 409 total yards. But they weren’t able to overcome the slow start on offense nor were they able to slow down Southern’s attack.
Howard dissected the Hornets’ defense while spreading the ball around and completing passes to nine different receivers. Willie Quinn had a career-high 12 catches for 141 yards – one yard shy of his career high, and Beard and Montrell Jones had four and five catches, respectively. Quinn also had a 58-yar kickoff return that set up a touchdown.
Bethune-Cookman 17, S. C. State 14 – The Wildcats squeaked out another victory as they won a nationally televised MEAC home game Thursday night on ESPNU. The win was the fourth by four points are fewer for Bethune-Cookman (5-1, 2-0 MEAC) this season. Quarterback Quentin Williams scored on a three-yard run with 5:14 left in the game to give the Wildcats their third fourth-quarter comeback victory of the year. South Carolina State (2-3, 1-1) took a 14-10 lead when Antonio Hamilton returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown with 10:43 remaining in the game. The Bulldogs’ final possession of the game ended when they turned the ball over on downs at their 42-yard line on a drive that started at their seven. South Carolina State hurt itself by committing 18 penalties that cost the Bulldogs 144 yards. Penalties wiped out two long touchdowns, an 82-yard pass and run from Caleb York to Lynard Jamison in the first half and Hamilton’s 86-yard kickoff return to start the third quarter. The Bulldogs also missed a 32-yard field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter.
North Carolina A&T 27, Norfolk State 3 – The Aggies handed Coach Rod Broadway his 100th career win with an MEAC road victory. Broadway is the fourth active HBCU coach with 100 career wins and the 26th in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Running back Tarik Cohen was the primary offensive weapon for North Carolina A&T (4-1, 2-0 MEAC) with 152 rushing yards on 36 carries. Cohen ran for 85 yards in the decisive third quarter when rushed for a touchdown and passed for another on an option play as the Aggies scored 17 consecutive points after clinging to a 7-3 lead at the half. But the Aggies’ defense was the key to Norfolk State suffering its first conference loss (2-4, 2-1 MEAC). Norfolk State held the Spartans to 167 total yards, including just 38 on the ground. The Aggies sacked quarterback Greg Hankerson seven times only allowed the Spartans inside the 25-yard line twice. One trip resulted in a missed field goal and the other a 28-yard attempt by Cameroun Marouf that gave the Spartans their only points.
Bowie State 17, Chowan 14 – The Bulldogs celebrated Homecoming with a CIAA Northern Division victory and remain unbeaten in conference play. The Bulldogs (5-1, 3-0 CIAA) took command of the game in the third quarter after leading 3-0 at the half. Chowan 4-2, 2-1 CIAA) had a seven-play, 56-yard drive that ended with Tyree Lee scoring on a five-yard that gave the Hawks a 7-3 lead. Senior quarterback Trevon Bennett, who made his first start of the season for Bowie State connected with Nyme Manns on a 12-yard touchdown put the Bulldogs ahead 10-7. Bennett increased the lead to 17-7 with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Chappell in the fourth quarter. Chowan responded with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Randall Dixon to Damian Ellis to pull within striking distance of the lead at 17-14. The Hawks go the ball back with 1:26 remaining in the game but turned it over on downs after committing two costly penalties. They were flagged for intentional grounding and a false start.
North Carolina Central 27, Florida A&M 24 – Nigel Macauley booted a 35-yard field goal with 15 seconds left to give the Eagles the win, just their all-time in nine games against the winless Rattlers and their first since 1973. Backup quarterback Quinn Billerman, who replaced Eagles injured starter Malcolm Bell midway through the third quarter, led North Carolina Central (2-3, 1-1) on a fourth-quarter comeback after Florida A&M (0-6, 0-3 MEAC) entered the final stanza leading 24-17. North Carolina Central tied the scored on Billerman’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Armani Lanier at the xxx mark. The loss was the seventh in a row for Florida A&M dating to the final game of 2014 and the 10th in 11 games for the Rattlers.
Hampton 21, Delaware State 7
Morgan State 42, Savannah State 3
Prairie View A&M 45, Miss. Valley State 6
Grambling State 37, Alabama A&M 14
East Stroudsburg 55, Cheyney 7
Fayetteville State 36, Shaw 29
Livingstone 31, Saint Augustine’s 7
Virginia State 24, Elizabeth City State 23
Virginia Union 66, Lincoln (Pa.) 27
Winston-Salem State 37, J. C. Smith 22
Fort Valley State 35, Kentucky State 10
Lane 23, Benedict 19
Miles 34, Central State 9
Stillman 22, Clark Atlanta 14
Tuskegee 35, Morehouse 7
Arizona Christian 41, Langston 19
Saint Joseph’s College 42, Lincoln (Mo.) 14
Tenn.-Martin 28, Tenn. State 14
Wayland Baptist 24, Texas College 0
Webber International 42, Edward Waters 7
West Va. State 32, Notre Dame College 29