Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Alabama A&M off to best start in decades
By Donald Hunt
Special to ESPN.com
It’s no surprise that Alabama A&M is one of the best teams in HBCU football. The Bulldogs are off to a 5-0 start (4-0 in the SWAC) for the first time since 1966 when Alabama A&M finished 8-1.
Last season, they played for the SWAC championship, losing to Grambling State for the league title. Alabama A&M defeated Grambling State, 38-17, on Sept. 29 in a rematch of the championship game.
The Bulldogs have some great players in quarterback Deaunte Mason and running back Kaderius Lacey. They also have a coach who has been around for a long time. Anthony Jones is in his 11th year as the program’s head coach and has an overall record of 77-45.
Jones has won five division titles. In 2006, he guided Alabama A&M to a 9-3 overall mark and a SWAC championship. He could be headed for another conference title this season. Alabama A&M will visit Mississippi Valley State (1-3 overall, 1-1 SWAC) on Saturday aiming for its sixth consecutive win. Nobody is playing better than the Bulldogs in the SWAC, and there aren’t many teams playing as well as them in the FCS.
In spite of his success, it hasn’t been all about winning football games for Jones. He takes responsibility for not only developing good players but great human beings as well.
Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis, who played for Jones at Alabama A&M, has won a Super Bowl and has been to five Pro Bowls in 10 seasons. Although Jones is impressed with what Mathis has accomplished on the field, he was extremely pleased when Mathis received his college degree from Alabama A&M in 2010.
“For him to go back and get his degree, it just validates our institution,” Jones said. “It just validates him. He understood his purpose here, but also went back and finished his degree. I just think it’s a great story.”
- Alabama A&M QB Deaunte Mason has been named the SWAC Offensive Player of the Week. Mason completed 13-of-18 passes for 247 yards while throwing three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 38-17 win over Grambling State.
- Alabama State LB Brandon Roberts and Southern LB Anthony Balancier have been chosen as the SWAC Co-Defensive Players of the Week. Roberts has earned two consecutive defensive player of the week honors. He had a team-high 10 tackles including seven solo in Alabama State’s 54-14 win over Alcorn State. Balancier led the Jaguars with a team-high 10 tackles including 1.5 tackles for a loss of eight yards and one sack in Southern’s 21-14 win over Florida A&M.
- Howard University RB Aquanius Freeman was named the MEAC Offensive Player of the Week. Freeman rushed for a career-high 212 yards on 13 attempts while scoring two TDs in Howard’s 56-9 win over Savannah State.
- Bethune-Cookman FS Nick Addison was named the MEAC Defensive Player of the Week. Addison had 11 tackles, nine solo, with 0.5 for a loss. He also had two interceptions and returned one pick 90 yards for a touchdown in Bethune-Cookman’s 38-26 win over Hampton.
Boxtorow HBCU Football Media Top 10 Poll
1. Tennessee State
2. Alabama A&M
3. Winston-Salem State
6. Alabama State
8. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
9. South Carolina State
Contact Donald Hunt with HBCU questions, comments or story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.