Savannah State, an MEAC doormat ever since joining the conference in 2011, stunned Bethune-Cookman, a perennial contender for the league championship, with a 16-10 overtime victory in first-year coach Erik Raeburn’s home debut.
Savannah State (1-2, 1-0 MEAC) put the game away on the strength of its defense. Bethune-Cookman got the ball first in overtime. But Darrell Bonner’s interception at the six-yard line ended the Wildcats’ possession. Cantrell Frazier ended the game with a nine-yard touchdown run on his only carry of the game.
Both teams had scoring threats late in regulation. Uriel Hernandez missed a 52-yard field goal with 1:34 left in the fourth quarter. Savannah State got the ball and moved to Bethune-Cookman’s 36 as time expired.
The Tigers, who had only won two their previous 40 conference games and ended a 32-game losing streak against MEAC opponents when they beat Florida A&M last season, entered the contest as heavy underdogs. They had been outscored 110-0 in their first two games this season while losing to FBS opponents Georgia Southern (54-0) and Southern Mississippi (56-0). Things weren’t expected to get much better against Bethune-Cookman, which has won or shared the MEAC championship five of the last six seasons and had a 16-game winning streak against Savannah State.
But somewhere, somehow, the script was flipped. Despite allowing more than twice as many rushing yards as they gained – 156-73 – and only generating 261 total yards, the Tigers more than held their own against Bethune-Ccookman (0-3, 0-1 MEAC) from the outset. Bethune-Cookman took a 3-0 first-quarter lead on Uriel Hernandez’s 39-yard field goal. Savannah State matched the Wildcats’ with John Barron’s 36-yard effort in the second quarter. The Tigers grabbed a 10-3 halftime lead when Jeremiah Harris Jr. caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from T. J. Bell. The lead held until Bethune-Cookman quarterback Akevious Williams scored on a two-yard run with 7:19 remaining in the fourth quarter. A bad snap from center on a fourth down punt had given Bethune-Cookman the ball at Savannah State’s two-yard line.
North Carolina Central 34, Norfolk State 31 – The Eagles rolled up 401 total yards, but it was their defense that made the difference in the road victory in a high-scoring MEAC contest. North Carolina Central (2-2, 1-0 MEAC) forced Norfolk State (1-3, 0-1 MEAC) to settle for field goals three times after the Spartans moved the ball inside the 10-yard line. Those defensive stands proved to be the difference in the outcome. The Eagles also sacked Norfolk State quarterback Greg Hankerson. North Carolina Central quarterback Malcolm Bell completed 18 of 26 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 77 yards and another touchdown. Bell became the first player in North Carolina Central history with 1,000 rushing yards (1,053) and 4,000 passing yards (4,658) for a career.
Grambling State 43, Alcorn State 18 – The Tigers dealt the two-time defending SWAC champion Braves’ hopes of successfully defending their title a damaging blow with a lopsided home victory. Quarterback Davante Kincade led the onslaught, completing 30 of 42 passes for 400 yards and five touchdowns for Grambling (3-1, 2-0 SWAC). Chad Williams had 13 receptions for 188 yards. Williams had 67-yard touchdown catch. Martez Carter scored on catches of 17 and 47 yards. Verlan Hunter caught a 20-yard touchdown pass and Jordan Jones had an eight-yard scoring catch. Alcorn (1-2, 1-2
SWAC) was committed three turnovers and was just 2-for-15 on third down conversions.
Southern 59, Alabama A&M 31 – The Jaguars continued their offensive blitz, topping the 50-point mark for the second straight game in their SWAC road win. Quarterback Austin Howard and running back Lenard Tillery were the offensive stars for Southern (2-2, 2-0 SWAC) a week after the Jaguars defeated Alabama State 64-6. Howard threw five touchdown passes while completing 17 of 28 attempts for 280 yards. Tillery ran for 179 yards and three touchdowns. He scored on runs of two and three yards in addition to scoring a 65-yard pass play. Alabama A&M (1-3. 1-2 SWAC) started the game in fine form as Juaquin Davis returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, However, Southern responded with five touchdowns before the half and led 35-14 going in the third quarter.
Winston-Salem State 35, Virginia State 14 – The Rams knocked the Trojans from the unbeaten ranks with CIAA home victory behind running back Te’Vaughn Hurse scintillating performance. Hurse ran the ball 22 times for 187 yards. Quarterback A. J. Nicciolo passed for 158 yards and two touchdowns while completing seven of 14 attempts for Winston-Salem (2-2). One of Nicciolo’s touchdown passes was a 94 –yard toss to Will Walton, who had three catches for 108 yards. Winston-Salem built a 21-0 lead before Virginia State (3-1) cut the margin to 21-7 at the half.
Tuskegee 38, Lane 7– The Golden Tigers continued their dominance of the Dragons with a resounding SIAC home victory. The win for Tuskegee (4-0, 3-0 SIAC) was the 22nd all time in as many contests against Lane (3-1, 0-1 SIAC) Redshirt freshman wide receiver Ladarell Pettway stunned the Dragons with a pair of big play scores. Pettway caught a 56-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kevin Lacey, and he also had a daring 64-yard punt return for a score. The kick bounced at the 36 yard line, and Pettway swooped in and fielded the ball on the hop as the Lane defenders looked on.
Missouri 79, Delaware State 0
Morgan State 28, Howard 24
South Carolina State 48, Florida A&M 14
Texas Southern 31, Alabama State 27
Jackson State 32, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 20
Prairie View A&M 56, Miss. Valley State 21
Bowie State 55, Shaw 13
Chowan 41, Livingstone 13
Johnson C. Smith 31, Elizabeth City State 28
Saint Augustine’s 35, Lincoln 31
Virginia Union 22, Fayetteville State 16
Benedict 28, Fort Valley State 14
Clark Atlanta 37, Ave Maria 13
Kentucky State 17, Central State 14 (3 OT)
Miles 31, Morehouse 7
West Georgia 27, Albany State 23
Bloomsburg 54, Cheyney 14
Charleston (W. VA) 26, West Va. State 0
Langston vs. McMurray, Canceled After Lightning Delay
Point University 23, Edward Waters 20
Truman State 37, Lincoln (Mo.)