I don’t know what to make of Alabama State’s 14-7 loss to Eastern Michigan.  While the Hornets should be lauded for staying within a touchdown of an FBS opponent on the road, from the outside looking in, it appears Reggie Barlow’s bunch should have never been in the game by examining just one stat.

Eastern Michigan rushed for 336 yards.  Alabama State didn’t net a single rushing yard.  In fact, they finished with -13 on the ground.  A disparity that great, more often than not, means the game is no contest.

However, Eastern Michigan only gained 61 yards in the air and turned the ball over twice.  Oh, and Eagles committed 12 penalties for 135 yards.  That might explain why the Hornets were able to hang around.

***

Mississippi Valley State has something in common with Tennessee-Martin.  They are the only two programs in the last eight years to be blanked by Murray State.

The Racers shutout an opponent for the first time since a 38-0 win at home against UT-Martin on Nov. 13, 2004. The Delta Devils one upped UT-Martin by losing 39-0 at home.

How bad was it for Mississippi Valley State?  Quarterbacks Eddie Ivory, Garrick Jones and Marvin Pittman combined to throw for 154 yards and suffered eight sacks.

So far this year, Mississippi Valley State has been outscored through two games at Rice-Totten Stadium 80-9.

***

Grambling State was 2-of-15 on third down in their 35-7 loss to Louisiana-Monroe.  The score is a by-product of having a true freshman quarterback in D.J. Williams running the offense during in his first collegiate road  game as starter.

That is part of the growing pains D.J. Williams will have suffer through as the season unfolds.  Williams, in his maiden voyage last week against Alcorn State, went 7-of-17 on third down as Grambling held the ball 33 minutes.

It also didn’t help matters that four Tigers ball carriers totaled 26 yards.  With a untested young quarterback in unfamiliar territory, being able to run the ball effectively eases the pressure of Williams having to beat the opponent with his arm. The Warhawks did that, and won the game.

***

Will next year’s game between Tennessee State and Jackson State be a nail-biting thriller too?  For the second straight year Jackson State won the battle of the Tigers in the Southern Heritage Classic in the fourth quarter, this time winning 35-29.

Tennessee State pulled within two points, 28-26, on a safety with 6:17 to go in a wild game that saw both teams combine for 37 first half points.   Jackson State quarterback Casey Therriault capped an 82-yard, 11-play drive on a 21-yard pass to Rico Richardson for a 35-29 lead with 2:04 in regulation.

***

After giving up more than 300 rushing yards to Tennessee State last week, the Southern University defense manned up and held Alabama A&M to just 137 yards on the ground in their surprising 21-6 win.

Last week the Jaguars started their first two drives of the season with a turnover and punt.  Saturday, Southern began the game with two touchdowns.  The offense ended the night with 358 yards in all, and more importantly no turnovers.  Stump Mitchell’s job might be safe for the moment. But there is a long way until the end of the season.

***

If Alcorn State loses to a team in UAPB, who laid an egg against (NAIA) Langston the week before, what does that say about Alcorn State?  It says the Braves aren’t a very good football team.

I said Arkansas-Pine Bluff would not shackle Brandon Bridge and the Alcorn offense.  They didn’t for the first half giving up 20 points.

In the second half, the Golden Lions shut out the Braves, and Adrian Moore, who led the game in rushing with 130 yards, including a 57-yard run in the fourth quarter that put his team in place for the winning touchdown three plays later.  Melvin Spears has a lot of explaining to do after the 27-20 loss.

***

A week after being embarrassed on national TV 63-14 in Orlando, the Prairie View Panthers bounced back with a heart-stopping 37-34 win against defending SWAC champion Texas Southern.

Quote of the Week:

“Last week was shocking,” said Southern head coach Stump Mitchell after Saturday’s win against Alabama A&M.  “This week wasn’t shocking.”

My pick for SWAC Player of the Week:

Southern quarterback Dray Joseph. He threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns.

Week 2 Report Card:

Jackson State: A
That’s two wins in a row against Tennessee State.

Southern: A
They bounced back to beat the Bulldogs after being taken to the wood shed one week earlier.

Alcorn State: D
No excuse to lose to an Golden Lions team that struggled against a NAIA foe.

Grambling: F

I know it was an FBS school, but it looked like Grambling wasn’t ready to play.

Mississippi Valley State: F

And it will only worse before it gets better.

Alabama State: D

I’m not sure if the Hornets deserved to win or lose.

Alabama A&M: F

I guess  they were unable to recover from their loss in the Chicago Football Classic.

Texas Southern: C

Considering they were the last SWAC team to start the season, the effort couldn’t be better. But there are no moral victories after a loss.

Prairie View: B

The Panthers displayed some moxie after being blown out last week.



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