MEAC Roundup 10/12/13 – Seperation Saturday ???

Alvin Hollins Jr.

Alvin Hollins Jr.

By ALVIN HOLLINS JR.
Alvinhollins833@yahoo.com – Most teams are at the halfway point of their seasons, and some things are becoming clear:

THE BEST OF THE BEST: Bethune-Cookman, South Carolina State. These two are headed for a classic Showcase Showdown: DOGS vs. CATS ON THE BEACH, October 26….

TEAMS ON THE RISE?: Parity has reared its head in this league with only two remaining unbeaten teams (See Best of the Best), leaving a nine-team mass of humanity in their wake…. Delaware State (2-1) seems to be the best of the crowd, although Norfolk State (2-1) is tied with them for third (DSU owns a head-to-head edge from Saturday’s 14-7 win over NSU)….

IMPOSTERS OR HOPEFULS: After that, there is a four-team pack of 1-1 teams who still have hopes to have a say in the conference race: North Carolina Central, FAMU, Morgan State and Hampton… Hampton pulled a huge upset of North Carolina A&T ending a winless streak,,, FAMU snapped a four-game slide with a win at Savannah State, ending for the moment a mystifying slump that had the Rattler faithful shaking their heads… NCCU was bombed at home Thursday by South Carolina State, raising questions about the program’s stability with the drama surrounding their deposed coach… Morgan State was off Saturday, but they too have been too inconsistent to be a contender…

FLAT OUT OF IT: North Carolina A&T (1-2) was riding the wave of a 3-0 start including two OOC wins, but back-to-back conference losses have all but eliminated them from the race, but perhaps the program is showing fatigue being shorthanded scholarship wise, and from some problematic issues with personnel…. Howard (0-3) is clearly a team of potential perhaps missing their head coach (on leave), but the Bison seem to be in fade mode now…. Savannah State (0-3) may be the most dangerous 0-3 team in the league with their Air Raid spread offense under first year coach Earnest Wilson, and may yet scratch out a win or two before the year ends…

NOTES: The league will hit the halfway point in conference play this week, and it appears that B-CU and SCSU (remember those preseason predictions??? Starting to look like Nostradumus those folks) are a cut above, but while SCSU seems to be on a mission to dominate and destroy, B-CU seems content to get the lead and protect it…. Should make for an interesting bout in two weeks…

What will be interesting will be how the other nine squads shake out…. Delaware State has just one team left on its’ schedule with a .500 overall record, this week at North Carolina A&T, so the pesky Hornets might still have a title shot if the frontrunners find an oil slick or two on the road ahead…. DSU arguably had the strongest schedule with #1 North Dakota State, #4 Towson, #16 Bethune-Cookman and Delaware…

Norfolk State has a rugged closing schedule with ODU (Oct. 26), then B-CU, SCSU and NCCU in the last three games in November…

Everyone else, we’ll just have to wait and see….

 

2013 MEAC FOOTBALL STANDINGS
Through October 12
Team …………………… Conference …….. Overall
South Carolina State …. 3-0 1.000 ….. 5-2 .714
Bethune-Cookman ……. 2-0 1.000 ….. 5-1 .857
Delaware State …………2-1 .667 ….. 2-4 .333
Norfolk State ………….. 2-1 .667 ….. 2-4 .333
North Carolina Central .. 1-1 .500 ….. 3-3 .500
Florida A&M ……………. 1-1 .500 ….. 2-4 .333
Hampton …………………1-1 .500 ….. 1-5 .167
Morgan State ……………1-1 .500 ….. 1-5 .167
North Carolina A&T …… 1-2 .333 ….. 3-2 .600
Howard …………………. 0-3 .000 ….. 1-6 .142
Savannah State ……….. 0-3 .000 ….. 1-6 .142

MEAC WEEK SEVEN SCORECARD (October 10-12)
Thursday
South Carolina State 44, North Carolina Central 3, ESPNU

Saturday
Bethune-Cookman 27, Howard 6
Hampton 31, North Carolina A&T 26
Delaware State 14, Norfolk State 7
Florida A&M 27, Savannah State 14

NEXT WEEK’S SCHEDULE (October 19)
Savannah State at Bethune-Cookman, 4:00
Hampton at Norfolk State, 1:00
Delaware State at North Carolina A&T, 1:00
Morgan State at North Carolina Central, 2:00
Howard University at Florida A&M, 2:00
South Carolina State is idle.

Wildcats take on Bison

DSC_0006WASHINGTON, DC — This Saturday’s matchup between Bethune-Cookman (4-1, 1-0 in the MEAC) and Howard University (1-4, 0-2 in the MEAC) pits the MEAC’s top offense against the league’s best defense.

BCU currently sits atop the conference rankings in both Total Defense (274.8 ypg) and Scoring Defense (18 ppg) while HU leads the MEAC in Total Offense (396.4) and Passing Offense (239.4).  The Bison offense is directed by junior quarterback Greg McGhee who leads the conference in total yards (1414), passing yards (1153), and passing touchdowns (10); and only trails BCU’s Quentin Williams in passing efficiency and completion percentage.  McGhee is coming off a stellar performance last week against North Carolina Central in which he completed 31 of 48 attempts for 328 yards, 4 TDs and no interceptions in a 28-37 loss.

McGhee has the luxury of throwing to 3 of the league’s Top 10 receivers in Jonathan Booker, Brandon Flanagan, and Stewart Hartman.

Despite the numbers, the Bison have struggled to translate their offensive proficiency into wins.  HU pulled off a near upset in Week One against FBS foe Eastern Michigan and defeated Division II Morehouse a week later.  Since then, the Bison have lost three consecutive contests being outscored 140-66 in the process.

The Wildcats (who are ranked 13th in the FCS Coaches poll and 16th in the Sports Network Media poll) shook off a sluggish first half against Delaware State last week in route to their 14th consecutive MEAC win.  BCU’s consecutive game win streak stretches back to October 20, 2011.

The Cats racked up 409 yards of offense against DSU including 241 yards on the ground.  Four BCU running backs rushed for at least 40 yards in the contest (Cary White (65), Anthony Jordan (61), Isidore Jacskon (54) and Drexler Dixon (40)) while senior wide receiver Eddie Poole added 4 catches for 103 yards with 1 touchdown through the air.

Defensively, the Wildcats have registered 6 interceptions, 15 sacks and 36 tackles for loss this season.  The aggressive and opportunistic BCU defense could be poised to have another big afternoon against HU’s high volume pass attack.

Jarkevis Fields pace the Cats D with 30 tackles while Dyron Dye leads the way with 3.5 tackles-for-loss and 3 sacks.
Other notes:

-BCU leads the overall series against HU 17-13-1 and have won 4 straight against the Bison.

-Howard University has billed Saturday’s contest as “Think Pink Day” and encourage all game attendees to wear something pink in support of breast cancer awareness. Perhaps Bethune will oblige by wearing the highly anticipated pink helmets….hmmmmm!  We shall see.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00.

Courtesy of BCU Athletics

Courtesy of BCU Athletics

MEAC Power Rankings Week 6

Here’s how the 11 MEAC teams stack up based  on records, rankings and their remaining schedules as the Hunt For November begins.

Howard QB Greg McGhee (Courtesy Photo/Howard Sports)

Howard QB Greg McGhee (Courtesy Photo/Howard Sports)

 

By ALVIN HOLLINS  JR.
Alvinhollins833@yahoo.com

Now that the 2013 Mid-Eastern  Athletic Conference Football’s “Hunt For November” is in full swing with league  play headed into its’ third week, the time has come for ranking the boyz from  top to bottom, along with their remaining schedules.

The rankings below  are based on the Jeff Sagarin College Football Ratings, and any positions in  various national polls will be included.


Bethune-Cookman (4-1, 1-0 * #16 FCS/#1 SBN/#2 HSRN * 118  Sagarin)

@ With wins over #145 Sagarin/#1 HSRN/#2 SBN Tennessee  State (5-1) and FBS member Florida International, the defending champs are the  team to beat…. And with North Carolina A&T’s 29-24 conference loss to South  Carolina State last week, the Wildcats are in full control of their own destiny,  as they for now have avoided a potential tie with A&T for the title since  the two teams don’t play this season… The ‘Cats do have three key games in the  next four weeks: Saturday at Howard; Oct. 26 vs. SCSU; Nov. 2 at NCCU.

REMAINING SCHEDULE: Saturday @ Howard; 10-19 SSU; 10-26 SCSU; 11-2 @  NCCU; 11-9 NSU; 11-16 HAMP; 11-23 FAMU (Orlando).


South Carolina State (4-2, 2-0 * #3 SBN/#4 HRSN * 162  Sagarin)

@ The Bulldogs appear to be on the rebound from last  year’s sub .500 overall finish, owning a slice of the league lead and a huge win  over North Carolina A&T, puts them on track towards a possible 13th MEAC  title… But the next three weeks will likely tell the tale of the Bulldogs’  season as they are at NCCU Thursday, then trek to Bethune-Cookman after a bye  week, on Oct. 26.

REMAINING GAMES: Thursday at NCCU; 10-19 BYE; 10-26  @ B-CU; 11-2 @ SSU; 11-9 FAMU; 11-16 MORG; 11-23 @ NSU

North  Carolina A&T (3-1, 1-1 * #5 SBN/#7 HSRN * 176 Sagarin)
@the  Aggies scored big out-of-conference wins over Appalachian State and Elon to open  a few eyes, but their march toward the MEAC title was derailed a bit by their  heartbreaking 29-24 loss to resurgent South Carolina State in Atlanta last  Saturday.
A&T will need help to win the title as they will be chasing  B-CU, SCSU, NCCU and Norfolk the rest of the way, with only NCCU on their  schedule at season’s end.

REMAINING GAMES: Saturday @ Hampton; 10-19  DSU; 10-26 @ FAMU; 11-2 VA-LYNCHBURG; 11-9 @ MORG; 11-16 SSU; 11-23  NCCU

North Carolina Central (3-2, 1-0 * #9 HSRN/#10  SBN * 192 Sagarin)
@despite the off-field drama surrounding  deposed head coach Henry Frazier, the Eagles remain focused on chasing their  first MEAC title in 40 years… Very competitive in a 35-17 home setback to #4 FCS  Towson on Sept. 21, the Eags outslugged Howard, 37-28 on the road last week in  their league opener… NCCU has the other four title contenders on tap (SCSU, NSU,  B-CU and A&T), beginning their attack run at home Thursday against first  place SCSU.

REMAINING GAMES: Thursday SCSU; 10-19 MORG; 10-26 @ SSU;  11-2 B-CU; 11-9 @ HAM; 11-16 NSU; 11-23 @ NCA&T

DSC_0184Norfolk State (2-3, 2-0 * #10 HSRN * 225 Sagarin)
@ Two  conference wins have softened the disappointment of an 0-3 start, which included  relatively close bouts against Charleston Southern and Maine, plus a money game  at Rutgers… The Spartans’ league wins were no walks in the park though, as they  eased past Morgan State (27-21) and needed a blocked field goal to eke past  suddenly dangerous Savannah State (26-24) last week…. The Spartans, who are  spared a matchup with A&T, will have the trio of Bethune-Cookman and NCCU  back-to-back on the road before closing at home against SCSU… Oh, and they duel  ODU in two weeks (Oct. 26) too.

REMAINING GAMES: Saturday at DSU;  10-19 HAMP; 10-26 ODU; 11-2 FAMU; 11-9 @b-CU; 11-16 @ NCCU; 11-23  SCSU.

Howard University (1-5, 0-2 * 221  Sagarin)
@ The Bison started strong in their first two games,  holding a fourth quarter lead before fading at Eastern Michigan, 34-24, then  rebounding for a 27-16 against Morehouse, but have since dropped three straight  including back-to-back conference games which have all but snuffed out their  title hopes for 2013… Their Saturday home bout with defending champion  Bethune-Cookman could either eliminate them from title contention, or keep them  in the mix, as their remaining schedule after Saturday features six teams with  losing records.

REMAINING GAMES: Saturday vs. B-CU; 10-19 @ FAMU;  10-26 MORG; 11-2 @ DSU; 11-9 SSU; 11-16 @tex. SOUTH; 11-23 @  HAMP

Delaware State (1-4, 1-1 * 229 Sagarin) 
@ The Hornets have been a tough out despite being in rebuilding  mode, escaping Savannah State with a 24-22 win, before going toe-to-toe with  #21st ranked Bethune-Cookman for three quarters before bowing out 21-7… The  Hornets have played a rugged schedule so far which features three FCS Top 25  teams – #1 North Dakota State; #4 Towson and the #21 Wildcats, along with  perennial power Delaware…. DSU has two remaining contenders on their schedule,  Norfolk State at home Saturday and North Carolina A&T on the road (Oct.  19).

REMAINING GAMES: Saturday vs. Norfolk State; 10-19 @ NCA&T;  10-26 @ HAMP; 11-2 HOWARD; 11-9 BYE; 11-16 @ FAMU; 11-23  MORG.

Morgan State (1-5, 1-1 * 234  Sagarin)
@ The Bears snapped a five-game skid last Saturday with a  34-21 home win over slumping Florida A&M, on the heels of a narrow 27-21  conference-opening loss at Norfolk State two weeks ago… Morgan has a bye  Saturday before a closing six-game stretch that includes contenders NCCU, SCSU,  A&T and DSU.

REMAINING GAMES: 10-12 BYE; 10-19 @ NCCU;  10-26 @  HOW; 11-2 HAMP; 11-9 NCA&T; 11-16 @ SCSU; 11-23 @ DSU

Florida A&M (1-4, 0-1 * 223 Sagarin)
@ The Rattlers  are the leading candidates for the league’s Most Disappointing Award right now,  having lost four straight games, including two winnable non-conference home  bouts against Tennessee State (27-7) and Samford (27-20), and last Saturday’s  34-21 loss in their conference opener at Morgan State… The FAMU Offense, has  tailed off dramatically so far, ranking last in the MEAC and 120th (of 122) in  FCS, managing a paltry 211 yards per game… The Rattlers are still alive for the  title, but face four of the leading contenders – A&T, NSU, SCSU and B-CU in  their closing seven game stretch.

REMAINING GAMES: 10-12 @ Savannah  State; 10-19 HOWARD; 10-26 NCA&T; 11-2 @ NSU; 11-9 @ SCSU; 11-16; DSU; 11-23  B-CU (Orlando).

Hampton (0-5, 0-1 * 233  Sagarin)
@ The Pirates are on the verge of being marched off the  plank of their own ship as they continue their recent struggles on the gridiron  under beleaguered coach Don Rose… Although they are just 0-1 and mathematically  still in the hunt for the league title, they have a formidable final seven games  that includes Saturday’s home bout with North Carolina A&T, next week’s road  game at Norfolk, plus a November home date with NCCU followed by a road tilt at  Bethune-Cookman.

REMAINING GAMES: Saturday vs. North Carolina A&T;  10-19 @ NSU; 10-26 DSU; 11-2 @ MORG; 11-9 NCCU; 11-16 @ B-CU; 11-23  HOWARD.

Savannah State (1-5, 0-2 * 242  Sagarin)
@ Under new management, the Tigers are no longer playful  tabby cats but have shown a renewed growl since the hiring of head coach Earnest  Wilson this summer… SSU is six points away from being 2-0 in league play, with a  24-22 home loss to Delaware State, followed by a 26-24 road heartbreaker at  Norfolk State last week… The Tigers host struggling FAMU Saturday, then tackle  B-CU, NCCU, SCSU, Howard and A&T to close the regular  season.

REMAINING GAMES: Saturday vs. FAMU; 10-19 @ B-CU; 10-26 NCCU;  11-2 SCSU; 11-9 @ HOW; 11-16 @ NCA&T

Wildcats shake off lackluster start; defeat DSU 21-7

New look helmetsDover- #21 Bethune-Cookman (4-1, 10) shook off a lackluster first half of football and used a balanced offensive attack and 3 defensive interceptions to secure a 21-7 win over Delaware State (1-4, 1-1) in Alumni Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Delaware State opened the game’s scoring when Cory Murphy hooked up with Malik Golson for a 7 yard touchdown pass midway through the 1st quarter.

The Wildcats tied the game at 7 on a 3 yard touchdown run by Anthony Jordan.  The 10 play, 75 yard scoring drive was aided by a 30 yard Jackie Wilson to Eddie Poole strike and an Isidore Jackson 4th down conversion on 4th and 4 from the DSU 24.

BCU took the lead for good midway through the 3rd when quarterback Quentin Williams kept the ball on an option read and raced 31 yards off tackle for the score.

Poole hauled in a 15 yard touchdown pass from Williams with 4:40 remaining to seal the contest 21-7 for the Cats. The 15 yard catch and run provided Poole with his first TD reception of the season and it pushed him over the 100 yard receiving mark for the first time this year as well.

Bethune-Cookman finished the afternoon with 409 yards of Total Offense (241 rushing, 168 passing) while holding DSU to 223 yards (only 10 yards rushing).

Defensive backs Dion Hanks and Thomas Finnie finished with 7 tackles apiece while Joshua Richardson, Nick Addison and Erik Williams all registered interceptions.

BCU travels to D.C. to take on the Howard Bison next week at 1:00.

Game stats
BCU at DSU Video Highlights

Who Will Ascend….at Delaware State

????????Thank God it’s Friday.  Not only has the busy workweek ended but we can finally get back to some good ol’ fashion Bethune-Cookman football after what seems like a forever-break.  The 3-1 Wildcats are fresh off a bye week and will travel to Dover this Saturday for a 2:00 kickoff against Delaware State (1-3).

DSU secured its first victory of the season a week ago slipping past Savannah State 24-22 on the road.  Senior quarterback Cory Murphy completed 8-19 passes for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns in the contest.  Murphy and the DSU offense sit atop the conference rankings in passing offense averaging 232.2 yards per game.  Despite their relative success through the air, the Hornets have managed to score a pedestrian 13 points per game through their first four contests.  They haven’t fared much better defensively in the scoring department where they are yielding an eye-popping 41 points per game.

To DSU’s credit, their schedule has been a brutal one and all 3 of the Hornet’s losses have come at the hands of Top 25 opponents (#1-North Dakota State (51-0), #3-Towson (49-7), and #24-Delaware (42-21)).  The not-so-good news for DSU is that BCU enters the contest ranked #21 in the Sports Network poll, #16 in the FCS Coaches poll, and undefeated in their last 13 MEAC matchups.  To make things worse for the Hornets, Preseason MEAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year, Isidore Jackson, is scheduled to return to the BCU backfield after missing the last two games due to what coach Brian Jenkins called in-house issues.  Jackson’s presence is sure to boost BCU’s already MEAC best rushing attack (234 ypg).  During Jackson’s absence, Anthony Jordan filled in more than adequately and now leads the MEAC in rushing yards (302 yards) and yards per carry (6.0).

De-fense

LeBrandon Richardson -HailWildcats.com

LeBrandon Richardson -HailWildcats.com

The BCU defense has become known for taking the ball away and pressuring the opposing quarterback under coordinator Yogi Jones’s guidance.  The Cats will look to turn up the heat on a Del State offense that has already turned the ball over 10 times (5 fumbles, 5 interceptions) and allowed 14 sacks this season.  BCU currently leads the conference in Total Defense (287.8 ypg), interceptions, and interception returns for scores.  Look for the Wildcat defense to have a big afternoon against the Delaware State attack if they perform up to their usual standards.

In the end, Bethune should have little problems taking care of business against Delaware State on Saturday.

Yes, we know that on any given Saturday upsets can occur and yes you must respect your opponent; but BCU is flat-out the better team, they are more physical in the trenches and they have superior athletes and depth across the board.  Vegas odds makers list the Wildcats as 20 point favorites.  We have no reason to believe that the Wildcats won’t match Vegas’ 3 touchdown prediction.