CIAA Football Weekly Preview- Week Nine
“Preserving the Past,
Defending the Future”
The CIAA Championship Game Nears
November 12, 2011
Durham County Stadium- Durham, NC
CIAA Football Weekly Preview- Week Nine
Hampton, VA…Week nine of CIAA gridiron action opens with one participant in the CIAA Championship game already decided. Winston-Salem State clinched the Southern Division last week with a win over Livingstone. With their ticket to Durham already in hand, the Rams can now focus on finishing an undefeated regular season and climbing higher in the national polls. Over in the North, a showdown between the top two teams in the division looms. Elizabeth City State sits atop the division but a slip up in this game and Bowie State takes control.
Game of the Week:
Bowie State Bulldogs (4-2, 3-2) at Elizabeth City State Vikings (5-2, 3-1)
In a match-up of the top two teams in the Northern Division, red hot Elizabeth City State plays host to second place Bowie State. The battle-tested Vikings have won five straight since opening the season with slim losses to #1 ranked Delta State and 11th ranked Winston-Salem State. ECSU tailback Daronte McNeill has been virtually unstoppable during the winning streak, rushing for 824 yards and 12 touchdowns for an offensive unit that leads the CIAA and is 10th in Division II in rushing at 248 yards a game. Coach Waverly Tillar’s Vikings make no bones about their game plan; they want to line up and run the ball down your throat with their vaunted ground game. McNeill, ranked tenth in Division II in rushing, has run for 997 yards and 14 touchdowns, while backfield mates Kevin Swain and DeAundre Barfield have combined for 599 yards and nine touchdowns. All three average over 4.5 yards per carry. The Vikings are also one of the toughest defensive units in the country, ranking third in Division II in total defense. After dropping three straight, Bowie State got back into the win column with a 22-10 win over Lincoln on Saturday. Tariq Jones rushed for 171 yards and a touchdown and the Bulldogs’ defense limited the Lions to 233 yards of offense. Bowie State will counter ECSU’s vaunted rushing attack with a defensive unit that’s only allowing 120 yards a game…trench warfare at its finest. The battle for first place in the Northern Division kicks off at 1:00 pm at Roebuck Stadium.
Edward Waters Tigers (2-5) at #11 Winston-Salem State
Rams (7-0, 6-0)
After coming up short in their quest for a CIAA title last season, the 11th ranked Rams took care of business this season. Winston-Salem State clinched the Southern Division with three weeks to go with an easy 62-7 win over Livingstone. Coach Connell Maynor now has the unenviable task of trying to keep his troops focused and sharp as they finish out the regular season and prepare for postseason play. With the division title sewn up, the Rams can now focus on finishing the regular season undefeated and improving their regional and national rankings. WSSU probably won’t face much of a test this week when they host two-win Edward Waters. The Tigers picked up one of their two wins this season in a 14-13 win over Livingstone on October 8th. Winston-Salem State has accumulated 1,641 passing yards and 1,616 rushing yards through seven games this season and you’d be hard pressed to find a more balanced offense in Division II. Game time is 1:00 pm at Bowman-Grey Stadium.
Fayetteville State Broncos (2-5, 2-2) at Livingstone Blue Bears (1-6, 0-4)
Fayetteville State is coming off a disheartening 35-29 overtime loss to Shaw. The Broncos led 29-7 in the second half, only to see the Bears storm back and win it in overtime. Colon Bailey had a big game running the ball, finishing with 149 yards and two touchdowns, but the Broncos’ passing game was almost non-existent and they finished the game with six completions for a whopping 18 yards. Livingstone was limited to 100 yards of total offense and a single touchdown in a 62-7 loss to 11th ranked Winston-Salem State. It’s Homecoming at Livingstone. Game time is 1:30 at Alumni Memorial Stadium.
Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls (4-3, 3-1) at Saint Augustine’s Falcons (2-5, 1-3)
Saint Augustine’s dropped a heartbreaker when West Georgia nailed a 35-yard field goal as time expired to pull out a 23-21 win last Saturday. Quarterback Teddy Bacote followed up a 464-yard, four-touchdown performance against Winston-Salem State with 394 yards and three touchdowns against West Georgia. Receiver Jamian Smith had a school record 17 catches for 142 yards and Brian Richards added nine catches for 157 yards. Johnson C. Smith continues to impress. The Golden Bulls are coming off a 26-19 win over Virginia Union and having one of their best seasons in recent memory. Freshman quarterback leads the Golden Bulls, averaging a CIAA-best 292 yards of total offense per game. The Falcons will play their first on-campus game in over forty years when they take the field for Homecoming at the brand new George Williams Athletic Complex at 1:30 pm on Saturday.
Shaw Bears (2-5, 2-2) at Chowan Hawks (1-6, 0-4)
The Bears picked of their second win of season when they got by Fayetteville State in a 35-29 overtime thriller. Sophomore quarterback Quinshon Odom went lights out; throwing for a career-high 376 yards and three touchdowns. Odom passed for almost 250 yards in the second half as the Bears clawed their way out of a 29-7 hole for the win. Even though the Bears won’t be able to defend their CIAA title this year, if they can maintain this type of offensive output paired with a defensive unit that’s ranked second in Division II, they could be a difficult out for the rest of the teams on their schedule. Chowan got starting quarterback Cameron Stover back from an injury he sustained in September, who responded with 223 passing yards and two touchdowns. The Hawks still dropped their sixth straight game, but they led 6-1 Stillman deep into the fourth quarter before losing 24-21. Benefitting the most from Stover’s return were receivers Robert Holland and Kevin Hodrick who combined for 12 receptions, 178 yards and two touchdowns. The Hawks played better defensively on Saturday but still struggled to contain Stillman’s ground game, surrendering 200 rushing yards. The Hawks’ Homecoming kicks off at 6:00 pm.
Virginia State Trojans (3-4, 2-3) at Lincoln Lions (2-5,
Both the Trojans and the Lions picked up their third conference loss last weekend and in all likelihood were eliminated from contention for the Northern Division title. Virginia State is coming off a disappointing game against Elizabeth City State where they dropped a 28-7 decision to the division leading Vikings. The Trojans, who have been plagued by an anemic offense all season, were outgained 432-153 in total offense against Elizabeth City State. VSU is eleventh in the twelve-team conference in scoring at 16.9 points a game and in total offense with 276 yards per outing. Lincoln fell behind early and never recovered in a 22-10 loss to Bowie State. Despite their 2-5 record, the Lions aren’t a pushover. Junior defensive lineman Tim Green leads all of Division II in sacks with 10.5, while Brandon McElwee leads the nation with 53 solo tackles. Offensively, receiver Matthew Coston leads the CIAA, averaging 83 receiving yards per game; fellow wideout Phillip Juste-Jean is second in the conference, averaging 5.9 catches a game and freshman quarterback Doug Cook is third in the league in passing at 234 yards per game. The Trojans and Lions do battle at 1:00 pm in West Grove, Pennsylvania.