"Celebrating 10 years: The Return of
Conference Championship Game"
The Championship Game - November 7 - Durham, NC
WEEK 5 - CRUCIAL INTERDIVISIONAL GAMES TO KICK OFF ON SATURDAY!
Hampton, VA - In 2000, the CIAA brought back its Championship Game after a ten-year hiatus. This week, we will look back at the 2003 Championship Game when Fayetteville State went back to back as CIAA Champions. The Broncos survived a game Virginia Union squad to win its second consecutive title. (Take a look at the 2003 Championship Game flashback-recap after the preview capsules).
Last week, the conference season opened with a bang with the first weekend of cross divisional play. This week, several critical matchups that will shape the conference race are on tap for Saturday.
GAME OF THE WEEK: ELIZABETH CITY STATE AT ST. AUGUSTINE'S:
At first glance, this contest between the 3-1 Vikings and 1-3 Falcons appears to be a mismatch. However, CIAA fans know that the Falcons are a dangerous bunch, fully capable of knocking off the Defending Eastern Champs. St. Aug finally got in the win column with a 27-14 victory over Virginia State. The Falcons came from behind after trailing the Trojans 14-7 and never looked back. Meanwhile, ECSU had its hands full with Chowan and its outstanding QB CJ Westler. Nevertheless, the Viking Offense remains explosive. QB Creven Powell passed for 232 yards including 120 of those to
All-America candidate Dexter Manley. Manley is the nation's leader in yards per catch at a whopping 32.7 average. However, he's not the only threat at receiver for ECSU. Casey Owens caught two passes for 101 yards and 2 TDs against the Hawks. QB Joaquin Green has improved game after game and has tossed 9 TDs this season. (1:30 p.m. at Raleigh).
Players to watch: (ECSU: WR Dexter Manley; QB Creven Powell; DL Todd Irving).
(St. Aug: QB Joaquin Green; WR Jone Harris; RB Walter Sanders).
SHAW AT BOWIE STATE: This game is also worthy of being "Game of the Week." The two-time defending champs remain undefeated and will face a hungry, determined Bowie State team. The Bears had an easy time against Lincoln last week as did Bowie State against Livingstone. However, both schools know that they are in for a heavyweight fight this week. Bowie State is led by the league's leading rusher, Rodney Webb (112 yards per game). He must be effective as the BSU passing game is still a work in progress. Shaw is arguably the CIAA's most complete team. The Bears are averaging 42.5 points per contest and the defense is giving up a mere 15.5. The quarterback combo of Travis Robinson and Brandon Landers has ignited the Shaw Offense and RB Raymond Williams remains steady. The winner will have a leg up in going into their respective divisional schedule. The loser takes a tough loss into their divisional race. (2:00 p.m. at Bowie, MD).
Players to watch: (Shaw: QB Brandon Landers; RB Raymond Williams; WR DeAndre Okonji).
(BSU: RB Rodney Webb; QB Tyrae Reid; WR Clifton Budd).
CHOWAN AT VIRGINIA UNION: Virginia Union got back on the winning track with an impressive 34-14 win over Johnson C. Smith. A new set of offensive stars stepped forward for the Panthers. QB Cheston Hickman passed for 164 yards and a TD. RB Alexander Stevens rushed for a game-high 190 yards to knock off the Golden Bulls in Charlotte. LB Hurley Hemphill will have his hands full chasing after the elusive CJ Westler. The Chowan QB had the best game of any offensive player in the CIAA this season, accounting for 536 yards (382 yards passing, 154 yards rushing) against ECSU. His play was stellar but a fumble at the end of the contest cost the Hawks a chance against a miracle comeback in the Down East Classic. (1:00 p.m. at Richmond)
Players to watch: (Chowan: QB CJ Westler; WR Robert Holland; WR Kevin Robledo).
(VUU: LB Hurley Hemphill; QB Cheston Hickman; RB Alexander Stevens).
VIRGINIA STATE AT FAYETTEVILLE STATE: The Broncos have bounced back from a difficult 0-2 start and return home at an even 2-2. However, the schedule does not get easy. After Saturday, the Broncos have a dangerous trip to Chowan and the showdown with Shaw looms afterward. The Broncos recorded a 24-0 shutout of St. Paul's, but are still hardly clicking on all cylinders. The running game is still not as potent as the 2008 version and a consistent effort offensively has not occurred this season. Nevertheless, the Broncos firmly sit in control of their destiny, but they must continue to win. VSU knows it cannot afford another conference loss. An 0-2 start could put them out of the eastern division race before divisional play begins. (6:00 p.m. at Fayetteville, NC)
Players to watch: (VSU: QB Leonard Johnson; DL Brandon Fortune: WR Brian Berry).
(FSU: QB Ben Williams; RB Richard Medlin; WR Kendon Doe).
LINCOLN (PA) AT LIVINGSTONE: Livingstone has a new coach on the sideline this weekend. Eric Brown takes over the reigns for the Blue Bears. Livingstone will be seeking its first win of the season. (1:00 p.m. at Salisbury, NC).
ST. PAUL'S AT JOHNSON C. SMITH: Both St. Paul's and Johnson C. Smith will be looking to earn their first conference win of the season. (6:00 p.m. at Charlotte).
Remembering the Championship
A Look Back at the Last 10 years
The 2003 Championship Game: November 15, 2003
Durham, NC - Fayetteville State scored the game-winning touchdown with less than five minutes to play to defend its CIAA title against Virginia Union, 23-19. Senior QB Duane Taylor threw for 108 yards and three touchdowns on 13-of-25 passing to secure the Bronco repeat (8-3).
Virginia Union (6-5) recorded 222 yards of total offense to FSU's 204, but the Panthers lost three fumbles, committed 124 yards worth of penalties and were sacked nine times.
This was the second of three consecutive Championship appearances by FSU. Virginia Union returned the Championship Game in 2007, losing to Shaw, 31-24 in double overtime.