CIAA Football Weekly Preview- Week Eight
Preserving Our Past,
Defending Our Future
CIAA Football Weekly Preview- Week Eight
October 12, 2011
Hampton, VA...Week Eight of another exciting CIAA season features some significant matchups. In the Southern Division, 13th ranked and undefeated Winston-Salem State can clinch the divisional title and stamp their ticket to Durham with a win over Livingstone. Over in the tightly bunched Northern Division, things are a little murkier with five teams separated by one game. Elizabeth City State is in first place, but only by the slimmest of margins. One slip up by the Vikings and it becomes anybody’s race. Who will be left standing when the dust settles?
Game of the Week:
Virginia State Trojans (3-3, 2-2) at Elizabeth City State Vikings (4-2, 2-1)
This is the second game in a three-game stretch that will likely decide the Northern Division title for Elizabeth City State. The Vikings, winners of four straight, have gotten outstanding production from senior tailback Daronte McNeill. McNeill has been a workhorse during the winning streak, averaging 159 yards a game during that span, including a 233-yard, four-touchdown performance against the Virginia Union Panthers. ECSU took a big step forward in the Northern Division race when they survived a 43-41 triple-overtime thriller over the Panthers on Saturday. The win left the Vikings sitting atop the division and in control of their own destiny. Win out and they stamp their ticket to Durham. Standing in the way is Virginia State, last year’s Northern Division champs. The Trojans’ two-game winning streak came to a screeching halt with a 49-21 loss at Fayetteville State on Saturday. In that game, VSU led 14-0 after one quarter, only to be outscored 49-7 the rest of the way. The story of the game was six turnovers by the Trojans that gave Fayetteville State’s offense short field scoring opportunities all day. The Northern Division race is still wide open. With five of six teams still within one game of each other, a Virginia State win, or any ECSU loss along the way, would throw the race back up for grabs. It’s Homecoming at Elizabeth City State. Game time is 1:30 at Roebuck Stadium.
Bowie State Bulldogs (3-2, 2-2) at Lincoln Lions (2-4, 2-2)
After a 3-0 start, Bowie State has dropped three straight, including losses to division rivals Virginia Union and Virginia State that seriously damaged their hopes for a divisional title. The Bulldogs were outplayed last week in a 49-20 loss to Fairmont State. To end their losing streak, BSU must get by a vastly improved Lincoln team. The Lions picked up their second conference win of the season when they dealt Chowan a 30-15 loss last Saturday. Lincoln freshman QB Doug Cook quietly leads the conference in passing, averaging 248.2 yards a game and receivers Phillip Juste-Jean and Matthew Coston have combined for 73 catches, 945 yards and six touchdowns. The Northern division race is far from over, but the loser of this game will likely be mathematically eliminated with a third conference loss. Game time is Friday at 7:00 pm at Avon Grove High School.
Chowan Hawks (1-5, 0-4) at Stillman Tigers (5-1)
The Hawks travel down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to a take on a tough Stillman College team. After a season-opening win over Livingstone, the Hawks have lost five in a row, including a 31-15 defeat at Lincoln last week. The Hawks’ strong suit had been a potent offense, but the loss of starting quarterback Cam Stover has been hard for them to overcome. After averaging 35.0 points a game in their first three games, the Hawks’ point production has dropped to 21.3 in their three games since Stover went down. Stillman, a member of the SIAC, comes into the game with a 5-1 record, with their only loss coming at the hands of Division I Samford. Kickoff is 5:00 pm at Stillman.
Saint Augustine’s Falcons (2-4, 1-3) at West Georgia Wolves (3-2)
The Falcons used a wide-open aerial attack to give 13th ranked Winston-Salem State all they could handle before dropping a 35-28 decision last Saturday. Sophomore quarterback Teddy Bacote riddled Winston-Salem State for a career-high 464 yards and four touchdowns, while senior wideout Jamian Smith hauled in a school-record 16 catches for 152 yards in the loss. Saint Augustine’s has struggled all season to find consistency in their running game and it was no more apparent than against the Rams, when they finished the game with minus three yards rushing. Any semblance of a running game on Saturday and the outcome might have been different. This week, St. Aug heads south to Carrollton, Georgia to take on the University of West Georgia. The Wolves, from the Gulf South Conference, are led by dual-threat quarterback Emmanuel Taylor who has accounted for 871 yards of total offense and 10 touchdowns. UWG is coming off a 41-24 win over Harding University. In that game, the Wolves’ got three touchdowns from Taylor and their defensive unit forced six fumbles and scored twice. This game is designated as Hall of Fame Saturday at West Georgia. Kickoff is 2:00 pm at University Stadium.
Shaw Bears (1-5, 1-2) at Fayetteville State Broncos (2-4, 2-1)
In most years, this would be one of the most important games in the Southern Division; a matchup of the two most dominant teams in the conference over the last decade. Since 2000, Shaw and Fayetteville State have combined to win seven CIAA titles. This year, they have combined to win three games. Needless to say, there is no title at stake this year. Shaw was held to 257 yards of offense and dropped a 36-27 loss to upstart Johnson C. Smith last week, while Fayetteville State got three touchdowns from tailback Colon Bailey and two defensive scores en route to a 49-21 win over Virginia State. Barring a meltdown of epic proportions, Winston-Salem State has all but locked up the divisional title, relegating this game to one to determine who finishes second in the South. This game is set for 2:00 pm at Luther “Nick” Jeralds Stadium.
#13 Winston-Salem State Rams (6-0, 5-0) at Livingstone Blue Bears (0-3, 1-4)
The task is simple for the 13th ranked Rams…post a win over the Blue Bears and they sew up the Southern Division title and a berth in the CIAA Championship game with three weeks to go. While the Rams have been dominant all season, the one chink in their armor has been their trouble defending the pass. In their 35-28 win over Saint Augustine’s on Saturday, the Rams’ secondary was torched for a career-high 464 yards and four touchdowns by Falcons’ quarterback Teddy Bacote. Winston-Salem State is allowing 311 passing yards a game over their last four and has dipped to tenth in the league in pass defense (230 yards a game); not good for any team with postseason aspirations. Livingstone just missed picking up their second win of the season when Edward Waters scored in the game’s closing seconds to post a 14-13 win over the Blue Bears. Despite their record, there is some good young talent on the Blue Bears’ roster. Freshman defensive back Justin Avery is tied for lead in the CIAA with four interceptions. Fellow classmate defensive end Bobby Williams is second in the conference in forced fumbles and fifth in tackles for a loss. Sophomore linebacker Tyheim Pitt is third in the conference with 9.7 tackles a game. With a solid nucleus of young talent, there should be better days ahead for LC football, but stopping a talented, deep, and experienced Winston-Salem State team this season will be a tall order for the young Blue Bears. Game time is set for 6:00 pm at Livingstone’s Alumni Memorial Stadium.
Virginia Union Panthers (4-3, 2-2) at Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls (3-3, 2-1)
Virginia Union is coming off a heartbreaking 43-41 triple overtime loss to Elizabeth City State. The Panthers surrendered a season-high 317 rushing yards but capitalized on several turnovers to make a ballgame of it. Quarterback Cheston Hickman tossed two touchdowns to Raymond Mack and rushed for two more scores to lead the Panthers’ offensive efforts. With their 36-27 win over Shaw on Saturday, the much improved Golden Bulls have posted wins over both participants in last year’s CIAA Championship game. Freshman quarterback Keahn Wallace accounted for 227 yards of offense and four touchdowns and Dedric Anderson added 119 rushing yards to help JCSU take down Shaw for the first time since 1978. On defense, the Golden Bulls held Shaw to 257 yards of total offense, including just 63 yards on the ground. Homecoming at Johnson C. Smith kicks off at 1:00 pm at Irwin Belk Complex.