• It’s Championship Saturday as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference enters week 12 of football action highlighted by six contests overall and five conference match-ups. At stake this week for the winner of the North Carolina A&T State/North Carolina Central match-up is an outright MEAC Championship for the first time since 2012 and a postseason berth to the 2nd annual Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, Ga. on Dec. 17.
• With two non-conference games remaining, the MEAC is currently 4-25 against non-conference foes this season.
• Two games are on ESPN platforms this weekend as the 88th Aggie-Eagle Classic will be shown on ESPN3 and replayed later that evening on ESPNU while the Florida Classic will be shown on ESPN Classic live and on ESPN3.
• North Carolina A&T State leads the way in 11 of the MEAC’s 31 statistical categories. Tarik Cohen is the third-leading rusher (1,436 yards) in the FCS ranks and third in yards per game (143.6). He is second amongst FCS backs in rush yards per carry (8.16), tied for second in scoring (10.8 ppg) and third in all-purpose yardage per game (176.9). Florida A&M’s Kareem Smith (15.8) ranks third in punt returns while Hampton’s Rashawn Proctor ranks 14th in receptions per game (6.7) and 14th (92.6) in receiving yards per game. SC State’s Darius Leonard is the fourth-leading FCS tackler (11.3) in tackles per game and fourth in solo tackles (7). Savannah State’s Marquis Smith leads the FCS in tackles for loss per game (2.3) and second in sacks per game (1.06).
• North Carolina A&T’s win over Kent State on Sept. 10 was the Aggies’ first FBS win in school history and the first MEAC FBS win since Bethune-Cookman defeated C-USA’s Florida International 14-12 in 2014.
• South Carolina State’s Darius Leonard has the fifth-best single-game tackling performance amongst FCS defenders this season with 19 and ranks fourth nationally with 11.3 tackles per game. Tarik Cohen has the eighth-best rushing performance (256) and the 18th (264) all-purpose yardage outings this season while Hampton’s Adam Brown has the 15th-longest field goal with a 51-yarder. Cohen also has the third-longest run from scrimmage this season with a 94-yard scamper while FAMU’s Orlando McKinley has the longest interception return (100) followed by Colby Blanton’s third-longest punt (77).
• North Carolina A&T State running back Tarik Cohen and North Carolina Central quarterback Malcolm Bell was selected as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Co-Offensive Players of the Week. Hampton linebacker Devan Johnson was named Defensive Player of the Week. Florida A&M’s Ryan Stanley earned Rookie of the Week honors, while North Carolina A&T State’s Brandon Parker received Offensive Lineman of the Week honors. Cameron Marouf, of Norfolk State and Chase Powell, of Hampton, were selected as the Co-Specialists of the Week.
• Savannah State has made history with its first back-to-back wins since 2008 and most wins in a season since 2008. Florida A&M has won its most games since 2012 as they prepare to close out the season.
• The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced a partnership with the MEAC to reveal the league’s offensive and defensive players of the year as part of the festivities surrounding the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 6 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
• At stake once again for the MEAC Champion is a postseason berth to the 2nd annual Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, Ga. on Dec. 17. North Carolina A&T State claimed the inaugural bowl berth and defeated Alcorn State last season by a 41-34 margin.
• North Carolina A&T State was picked to win the MEAC during the annual preseason poll as the Aggies are the lone MEAC team ranked in either of the FCS polls. Despite NCAT’s 2015 title, parity is becoming the norm in the MEAC as the past three league titles featured co-champions.
• Howard University SID Ed Hill has witnessed 370 consecutive Howard football games dating back to 1984.
I am really disappointed in this MEAC press release. Central is ranked in both FCS polls. Maybe that sentence about A&T being the only MEAC school ranked in either FCS poll is poorly worded.