Just as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference race was heating up, the weather cooled down in a big way. Norfolk State survived its homecoming battle against North Carolina A&T 14-10 on an unusually raw day that featured wind chills in the 40s and winds gusting over 30 miles per hour.
“It was brutal out here [Saturday],” NSU head coach Pete Adrian said. “It was impossible trying to score going into the wind, whether you were trying to throw or kick a field goal going in that direction. Even the shotgun snaps from center were an adventure. I don’t care what the score is, whether it’s 3-2 or 55-54, as long as we have one more than they do.”
The Spartans ended up with four more in fact and that was due largely to the play of its defense on the final A&T drive.
“We played five-man [coverage] for most of the second half,” Adrian said. “ … We didn’t think they could get by our defensive backs. Their QB made some nice throws and made a great play on the fourth down shovel pass.”
SIAC: The heads of Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference officials rested a lot easier because of what transpired Thursday night. Miles (6-3, 5-1) won the Western Division outright when it beat rival Stillman (6-3, 4-2) 9-7 in Tuscaloosa.
That means Stillman’s scheduled game with Concordia (Ala.) on Nov. 12 – the date of the SIAC’s inaugural championship game – can be played without incurring the wrath of the conference for scheduling the game in the first place.
The other half of the bracket will go down to the last weekend of the regular season even as the three teams were in the hunt for the title has now been whittled to two.
Morehouse (7-2, 5-1) kept its hopes alive when it routed Fort Valley State 49-12. The Tigers’ David Carter broke the schools single-game rushing record shredding the Wildcats’ defense for 351 yards (on 32 carries) and four touchdowns. For the game, Morehouse went for 662 yards. The Tigers’ defense shut FVSU down allowing it minus-10 yards rushing and 210 passing.
Now that Morehouse has extinguished FVSU’s slim hope of winning the Eastern Division, the Tigers will need them to do them a favor. The Wildcats close their season in Columbus, Ga., against Albany State in the annual Fountain City Classic. ASU (7-2, 5-1) kept its share of the lead when it crushed Benedict 37-13. In perhaps its most complete game of the season, the Rams defense smothered Benedict, allowing zero yards in total offense in the first half while they scored 31 points.
It comes down to this: Morehouse has to win at Kentucky State and hope FVSU beats ASU for it to win the division. If Morehouse wins, ASU needs only to beat FVSU as it has holds the tiebreaker with its win against Morehouse.
SWAC: Alabama A&M (6-2, 5-1) has turned the Southwestern Athletic Conference East Division into a three-team race. The Bulldogs upset East leader Alabama State (6-2, 6-1) 20-19 before more than 66,000 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., in the Magic City Classic.
The difference was a potential game-tying extra point that was blocked by A&M freshman Chartavious Keith. Teammate Kaderious Lacey — with a career-high 38 carries, 189 yards and a touchdown — was the Classic’s MVP.
The Bulldogs’ win pulls them within a game of the Hornets. Also a game back is Jackson State (7-1, 5-1). JSU’s Casey Therriault threw for three touchdowns and ran for three more in a 44-14 victory against West-leading Prairie View (4-4, 4-3).
With the PV loss, the West tightened up. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (4-4, 3-3), Grambling (4-4, 3-3) and Southern (3-5, 3-3) all trail the Panthers by a game. GSU beat UAPB 27-20 and SU downed Alcorn State 30-14. Earlier last week, Brandon Bridge, who started the season as ASU’s starting quarterback, was dismissed from the team. Its only points came on Terrance Lewis’ 85-yard kickoff return and Robert Gainwell’s 30-yard blocked punt return.
Also on Saturday Mississippi Valley, the worst team in the East, beat worst in the West Texas Southern 12-9 to end a 19-game losing streak.
CIAA: Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association North champion Elizabeth City State (7-2, 5-1) forced five turnovers – three interceptions, two fumbles – and won its seventh consecutive game with its 26-9 rout of Chowan. Fayetteville State (4-5, 4-2) South champion used a huge third quarter to knock off Johnson C. Smith 44-23.
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