This is a huge weekend for black college football in the SWAC and the MEAC, as two games should attract major attention.
In the SWAC, Alabama A&M battles Alabama State in the 71st annual Magic City Classic at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. The longstanding HBCU rivalry game should draw between 55,000 to 60,000 fans on Saturday afternoon and is for bragging rights for black college football in Alabama.
There’s a lot riding on this game. Alabama A&M (6-1 overall, 5-1 in SWAC) and Alabama State (4-3 overall, 4-2 league) are both coming off losses. Two weeks ago, Alcorn State nipped Alabama A&M, 21-20 in an upset, while Alabama State dropped a 37-34 decision to Jackson State. The first-place Bulldogs could put some distance between them and the Hornets in the Eastern Division. Conversely, the Hornets could tighten the decision race with a victory.
This game could be decided on the ground. Alabama A&M has a the league’s leading rusher in Kaderius Lacey. Alabama State has a terrific running back in Isaiah Crowell, who is the league’s second-leading rusher.
Meanwhile, in the MEAC, Bethune-Cookman will host North Carolina Central in a clash of two undefeated conference teams. B-CU (5-2 overall, 4-0 league) and NCCU (5-2 overall, 4-0 league) are well coached. In his second season, NCCU coach Henry Frazier has the Eagles playing at a high level. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Prior to arriving at NCCU, Frazier turned a struggling Prairie View A&M program completely around.
North Carolina Central was impressive in a 37-20 victory over Hampton last weekend.
In just his third season, Wildcats coach Brian Jenkins has established himself as one of the conference’s best after winning a MEAC championship two seasons ago. B-CU crushed Norfolk State 48-3 last weekend. This game could come down to a chess match between two of the league’s top coaches.
• Savannah State wide receiver Simon Heyward has been named the MEAC Offensive Player of the Week. Heyward caught six passes for 160 yards with three touchdowns in the Tigers’ win over Edward Waters University.
• North Carolina Central linebacker Tazmon Foster is the MEAC Defensive Player of the Week. He had eight tackles, including four solo, in the Eagles’ big win over Hampton. Foster also returned an interception 80 yards for a TD and recovered a fumble.
• Prairie View A&M quarterback De'Auntre Smiley has been named the SWAC Offensive Player of the Week. Smiley threw for 251 yards on 16-of-20 passes with four touchdowns in Prairie View A&M’s 52-37 win over Alcorn State. He also rushed for 30 yards on five carries.
• Arkansas-Pine Bluff linebacker Bill Ross was the SWAC Defensive Player of the Week. Ross had nine total tackles, one tackle for a loss, one forced fumble and an interception which he returned for a 60-yard TD in UAPB’s 50-21 victory over Southern.
2012 Boxtorow HBCU Football Media Top 10 Poll
1. Winston-Salem State
2. Tennessee State
4. Alabama A&M
5. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
6. North Carolina Central
10. Alabama State
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