Wins for black college football teams versus teams in their division have been few and far between. Early results give no indication that postseason runs will be long or deep.
by Lut Williams
Success taking on out-of-conference foes has been a fleeting objective for black college football (and basketball) teams.
Through two weeks of the 2014 football season, only Kentucky State (over Kentucky Wesleyan), Livingstone (over Millersville) and Winston-Salem State (over UNC-Pembroke) have been able to secure out-of-conference wins over non-HBCU teams on the NCAA Div. II level.
Bethune-Cookman, ranked 13th in the latest Sports Network FCS poll, has the lone win over an FBS team (Florida International). The rest of the teams in the FCS (SWAC and MEAC) and Div. II conferences (SIAC and CIAA) are wearing 0-fers. Most games have been blowouts or near blowouts.
But there have been some encouraging signs.
At least, North Carolina A&T’s one-point loss (31-30) to FCS No. 5 Coastal Carolina shows that head coach Rod Broadway has the Aggies pointed in the right direction.
“We’re close, but we haven’t been able to get over the hump,“ said Broadway in terms of winning close games against quality opponents. “So, we’ll have to go back to work and really figure out how to beat the outstanding teams that we play.“ The Aggies have an FCS game Saturday at new Colonial Athletic Assocation (CAA) member Elon (0-1).
Coastal, who is 18-1 vs. MEAC competition since starting its football program in 2005, hosts South Carolina State Saturday, a team rated above the Aggies in most MEAC preseason prognostications. Buddy Pough’s SCSU Bulldogs are 0-3 vs. the CCU Chanticleeers but have always played them tough, including a 27-20 decision last year that the ‘Dawgs certainly could have won. Pough is 10-3 vs. Big South teams with all three losses coming to CCU.
“I think it’s big for us to go out and play a lot better this week,” Pough told the Orangeburg Times & Democrat of his team, coming off a 73-7 shellacking at the hands of Clemson, the worst loss in the Pough era. “We’ve got to go out and show that we belong with the top (FCS) teams in the country. Not only do we need to win, but we need to go out and show that we belong and that will be part of our mission.” Pough and SC State have not beaten a ranked team since a 1997 victory over Furman.
Keep an eye on the SC State/Coastal Carolina score.
Morgan State, under new head man Lee Hull, has two down-to-the wire, three-point losses, 31-28 to FBS MAC member Eastern Michigan and 29-26 to Holy Cross of the FCS Patriot League. Hull’s troops had a shot for a tie at the buzzer vs. EMU and lost on a last second touchdown to Holy Cross.
Though close only counts in horseshoes, the Bears under Hull appear to be different from the teams that have perennially been underachievers.
“For 59 minutes and 59 seconds we played pretty good football,” Hull said of last weeks loss to Holy Cross. “That was kind of a heartbreaker for us.
“We’re close, we’re in the games. I’m proud of their effort and they’ve been pretty resilient. You have to be in those types of games to know how to win. The more you’re in those types of games, the more you learn what to do.”
The Bears (0-2) are at home this week to face Bowie State (0-1) of the Div. II CIAA. Morgan State was a dominant force in its days in the CIAA winning 18 conference championships.
GAMES AGAINST RANKED TEAMS THIS WEEK Other than the SC State/Coastal Carolina game, these FCS games against ranked teams this week will again show how competitive or uncompetitive black college teams are on the national level: - Prairie View A&M plays at FCS No. 6 McNeese State - Norfolk State is at FCS No. 16 William & Mary - Hampton is on the road at FCS No. 18 Richmond, and - Delaware State hosts FCS No. 26 Towson
South Carolina State (1-1) got 73 votes while A&T (1-1) got 33 votes in the Sports Network poll this week. Despite an 0-2 start, Florida A&M received 2 votes.
Alabama State (1-1), who defeated FCS No. 22 Tennessee State last week (27-21), got 36 votes. Alabama State lost its opener to FCS No. 15 Sam Houston State, 51-20 before the win over TSU. Southern (14 votexs, 1-1), Alcorn State (12, 1-1) and Texas Southern (2, 2-0) were the others garnering votes.
Tennessee State faces Jackson State (2-0) in the 38th annual Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis in another game to watch.
After its win over UNC-P, Winston-Salem State is ranked 13th in the d2football.com Div. II poll and 12th in the AFCA Div. II Coaches Poll. The Rams (1-0) travel to Powder Springs, Ga. Saturday to face Valdosta State (1-0), the team that beat the Rams in the 2012 Div. II championship game, 35-7 and humbled Albany State Saturday, 38-10.
That title game, with now Hampton head coach Connell Maynor at the helm of the Rams, was not as much of a blowout as the score indicated with the Rams poised to get back in the game until a goal-line fumble all but ended it. Six turnovers doomed the Rams in that game. I’m sure the Rams have been pointing to this one. The game will certainly be an indication of WSSU’s national aspirations as it will be for Valdosta State, not currently ranked in the d2football poll but 23rd in the coaches poll.
Elsewhere Saturday, defending CIAA North Division champion Virginia State (0-1) is at home to take on Lenoir-Rhyne (1-0), ranked sixth in the coaches poll and ninth in the d2football poll. VSU and head coach Latrell Scott are coming off a 33-24 loss to California (Pa.). Sophomore quarterback Tarion Ayres threw for 325 yards (22-44) and two touchdowns but also threw two picks in the loss.
Shaw (0-1) plays at West Alabama, a team ranked 25th in the coaches poll. Shaw is coming off a 30-6 loss to Miles while West Alabama beat Stillman, 44-20.
TWO LOSSES Anyone who saw Earl “The Pearl” Monroe play basketball at Winston-Salem State will also remember William “Bill” English, who passed this week at 68.
English, as a burly 6-6 forward, was hard to miss and was an integral part of the talented 1967 NCAA Small College Division championship basketball team coached by the legendary Clarence “Big House” Gaines and led by Monroe. The Rams were the first black college team to win an NCAA title. (Head coach John McClendon and Tennessee State had won three straight NAIA national titles (1957-59) when black colleges all played in the NAIA).
What is most remembered about the Rams’ national title is that Monroe averaged 41.5 points per game en route to being named College Division Player of the Year. But English was part of a dominant front line on that team the included 6-9 James Reid, who went on to make the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers roster.
A year later in his senior year, observers were shocked when English scored a record 77 points vs. Fayetteville State during a season in which he averaged 25 points and 11 rebounds. Known for a sweeping hook and his powerful moves across the lane, Engliah was invited later that year to try out for the Olympic team and was eventually drafted by the Detroit Pistons. He returned to Winston-Salem and spent many years as a part-time assistant at WSSU and in the city’s recreation department.
Not many will forget William English.
Nor will many forget former CIAA Commissioner Bob Moorman, who also passed this week. Moorman, a former student/athlete at Hampton in the 1940s, was the CIAA’s first full-time commissioner and took over and deftly led the conference from 1976 to 1989 in the aftermath of the defection of six longtime member schools who left to form the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference in 1970.
The CIAA survived and prospered under Moorman’s leadership, changing the format of its crown jewel – the CIAA Basketball Tournament – and making changes also to its football alignment, changes that brought greater attention and visibility to both.
Morehouse shakes off two year opening season loss jinx, beats Edward Waters
I imagine ole Morehouse head coach Richard Freeman can sleep at night again since his Maroon Tiger elevens broke that two year jinx of season opening losses last weekend by beating Edward Waters 31-16 in Jacksonville Florida. Playing Edward Waters is no snap and Freeman can tell you about that first hand. Last year, he hosted the Tigers and came close to losing that ball game. He was also aware that this year he was going against new head coach Alvin Wyatt, the former pilot with the Bethune Cookman Wildcats.
He was also counting on running back Shelton Hamilton to return to campus this year 100%. The Montgomery Alabama native has been bugged with injuries since coming to the “House” three years ago. Well, if his performance in J’Ville is any indication, it appears he is living up to his words of assurance to Freeman. Hamilton rushed 24 times for 140 yards and scored two touchdowns….
TaylorSpeaking of Atlanta schools and running backs, CAU Montavious Taylor seems to be picking up where he left off last season. He rushed for 117 yards and one score in what turned out to be a losing effort for the Panthers who fell on the road 28-18 to the Marauders of Central State of Ohio. Taylor played high school ball in Atlanta at Carver High . His coach, Darren Myles says Taylor is headed for superlative status with CAU. “ I know he will come through for them,” he told INSIDE. “He’s a gamer. If his coach (Kevin Weston) tells him to run track, he will run track. There will be no sophomore slump for him. “…..
The Marauders have a new head coach in Cedric Pearl, replacing EJ Junior who was only there for one season (I wonder why?). Nonetheless, Pearl notched his first victory as HC and it was also a conference win which puts him (for the moment) atop the SIAC west. The Marauders are playing Texas Southern this weekend in the first HBCUX Bowl in Nassau, the Bahamas. The 411 INSIDE has read promises this first outing to be a rich one for both colleges and the islands with a slew of activities leading up to the first grid meeting between these two colleges………….Pearl
ELSEWHERE IN THE SIAC: Breakdowns in quarterback protection contributed to Paine’s 28-26 loss to Shorter last weekend. Shorter led 21-10 at halftime. Paine’s quarterbacks were sacked four times. To his credit, one of them, Loranzo Hammond threw for 131 yards and two scores ….
Tuskegee was upended 30-17 by Alabama A&M , spoiling the home and season opener for the Golden Tigers. Although Tuskegee QB Justin Nared threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns, the senior reportedly chastised his teammates for not “performing as a team.”…….
Benedict exploded with a 26 point second half while blanking their host Lane College and returned to Columbia, South Carolina with a 39-7 mark. It allowed them to get a bit beyond their embarrassing season and home opening loss to South Carolina State a fortnight ago 63-0. Benedict’s offensive thrust came via quarterback Cameron Stover who passed for 188 yards and scored twice…
Last year, Fort Valley journeyed to Delta State and surprised them with a win. Apparently, the Statesman figured turnabout was fair play. They defeated the Wildcats 56-13, spoiling the season and home opener for the Wildcats and handing them their worst drubbing since 2009 when they were beaten by Southern 55-23 and their worst opening season start since 2008 when they lost 56-3 versus Valdosta State…….
West Alabama’s 30-7 shot in the first half was too much for Stillman to overcome. They fell to visiting West Alabama 44-20. A 13 point fourth quarter by the Tigers was too little, too late. Stillman starting quarterback Josh Straughan’s 179 pass completions and two scores was not enough. The junior from Washington State was sacked four times…..
Miles took CIAA contender Shaw to the woodshed last Saturday, taking a 21-0 lead at half, tacking on nine more points in the second and turned Shaws’ Bears into teddy bears by sending them back to Raleigh, North Carolina with a 30-7 loss. Miles piled up 463 yards of offense and sacked Shaw’s quarterback Trey Folston 3 times…..
An 85 yard kickoff return by Valdosta State midway the fourth period rubbed salt in a wound the Blazers had already inflicted against Albany State in the first three quarters to put a cherry atop a 38-10 pasting of the Rams in Valdosta. Valdosta led 17-0 at the half. ASU’s Frank Rivers finished the game passing for 164 yards and a score but was sacked three times…….
XTRA POINTS: Howard University graduate Chuck Walton has stepped into high cotton as the Voice of the Bison this season. He was adorned to the post two years ago by Ed Hill, the dean of HBCU sports information directors and one of its sharpest. If Ed puts his stamp on the brother, he’s got to have it going on…
Jimmy Joe, brother of former FAMU and Miles College head coach Billy Joe, is now receivers coach at Edward Waters……
Thanks to my brother-in-law’s wedding, I journeyed to Oklahoma last weekend where Langston University is domiciled. The wedding was in Tulsa, home to one of the college’s two satellite campuses. It’s located in an area once called “black wall street” which at one time comprised some 600 businesses of all kinds. In 1921, the neighborhood of prosperity was wiped out in a so-called race riot brought on amid published allegations of a black man raping a white elevator operator. The area is also known as the hometown of the ultra successful GAP band (GAP was acronym for Greenwood, Archer and Pine Streets where band members were born and raised. …. Langston’s other satellite center is in Oklahoma City, home to an impressive museum of Cowboy history and artifacts. The building also features a display of the Buffalo Soldiers and a surprising layout of movies featuring African-American cowboy film stars. I do think,however, the museum wants for a whole wing dedicated to their exploits as they do for native Americans, Hawaiians and women…
Former Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims’ barbeque restaurants have spread beyond the boundaries of Oklahoma and are popping in Michigan. Is Atlanta next?
Naming Tony Lamarr as head b-ball coach at CAU a wise choice
Provided the decision-makers at Clark-Atlanta University never make another wise choice, their decision to take the interim off basketball coach Tony Lamarr was worthly of applause. I was convinced that the Stone Mountain Georgia native was the Panthers’ next head coach when he and the fives went on a 9-1 winning frenzy between January 11 and February 6 of this year. Now that Tony has been given the mantle to lead, let’s see what heights he can take the school to…..Lamarr
Some of you readers, me notwithstanding, have wondered why the honchos at the SIAC decided to take their championship grid match to Montgomery, Alabama, which for years was referred to as the “cradle of the confederacy” and hosted the annual Blue-Gray College All –Star game from 1939 to 2001. For many of those years black faces were absent because that’s the way the games’ principle organizer, the Lions Club, wanted it. What’s the connection to the SIAC and the ‘Bama capital aside from its close proximity to the hallowed halls of Tuskegee University about 30 miles to the south and perhaps the fact that Alabama State was once a member of the SIAC until it left in 1982 when it elevated its program to Division I and joined the SWAC?
Here’s my thinking about the move.
Montgomery and Birmingham to its northwest have been clamoring to attract more sporting events to their towns. They, no doubt, were aware that the SIAC was disappointed with the lack of support the city of Atlanta offered both their basketball tourney and their football championship which accounts for why they pulled up stakes, returned the hoop tourney to the “Ham” and then floated rumors that the grid game would soon grow wings as well. I’m still not sure if the move will mean more fans to the three year old contest, but with three of the conference’s eleven football playing schools domiciled in the banjo state (Miles, Tuskegee, Stillman), they have as much of a chance as they did in Atlanta. So, you and I may ask why but perhaps SIAC Commish Greg Moore and his staff responded with, why not?
-0- Merchant INSIDE offers belated condolences to the family of Dr. Frank Merchant. Although he was on the staff at Fayetteville State University when he succumbed last year, he spent many years as the defensive coordinator and physical education teacher at Morehouse College in the mid to late 1960s and early 70s. For a season, he served as head football coach. Many of his former defensive players at Morehouse were discussing him a few weeks ago. I had learned through the street committee that the hard nosed coach and former pro football player (the New York Titans of the American Football League) had died but didn’t confirm it myself until several weeks later thanks to the sports information staff at Fayetteville. Frank, you were sandpaper tough on your players and your students in PE (I know, I was one of them in 1968) but the guys loved you for it. RIP.
Benedict College, under James Woody, will open the 101st football season of the SIAC Saturday, August 30th at home against Buddy Pough’s big “Dawgs” of South Carolina State. The Palmetto Classic kicks off at 5pm. I am excited about the 2014 slate and have several players I want to watch closely. One is Clark-AU running back Montavious Taylor. In his freshman season last year, the Atlanta native was the SIAC’s second leading rusher with with 681 yards and seven touchdowns. I will also keep a close watch on Albany State quarterback Frank Rivers, the former Grambling passer, who last year finished second in conference passing with 1898 yards and 18 touchdowns. Another CAU panther I will be putting the binos on is senior linebacker Bre’Nard Williams. Last year, Williams broke into the top 25 national NCAA Division II rankings with 105 tackles but finished atop the conference stats with 93 total tackles, 60 of them solo shots…Rivers
…Meanwhile Morehouse senior running back Shelton Hamilton says he would love to see the Marooners represent the conference’s eastern division at this year’s SIAC championship in Montgomery because, among other things, he is a native of Montgomery. Plagued with injuries the first three years of his college career, he says he is reporting to camp this season 100%..........
XTRA POINTS: An Atlanta group calling themselves the Atlanta Retired Athletes recently honored the city’s first six African American high school athletic directors . The six, who piloted the ATL’s six black high schools during the period of segregation , were Raymond “Tweet”Williams (Clark-AU), LC Baker (Clark-AU), Alexander Shepherd (Morris Brown), John Merkerson (Morris Brown), Raymond Wainwright (Clark-AU), and T. Herman Graves (Morehouse). Baker, considered the “granddaddy” of them all, coached at Atlanta’s Booker T Washington High from 1931 to 1967 and wound up coaching two of the six honorees. A video was also produced of the athletic exploits of the honorees which brought the more than 400 family and friends attending the luncheon August 9th to their feet with shouts, claps and tears of joy. A plaque honoring the sextet will soon grace the walls of the Atlanta school board and the Atlanta City Council’s chambers…..
There are two new sports information directors within the bosom of the conference. Former Grambling assistant LaMonica Scott is now SID at Tuskegee . Zena Lewis, a former assistant at Clark-AU is now running the media show for the SIAC………