Grambling vs. Alabama A&M
Photo: GSU Athletics

Another fun weekend of HBCU football is in the books and this weekend was a mixed bag of compelling action.

We saw the trajectory of a conference changed by a huge upset loss to its reigning champion, an under-the-radar team continuing to dominate, while another kept up its monumental struggles.

In addition, we nearly saw one of the most epic comebacks we have ever seen in HBCU football history.

Here are five takeaways from week five of the HBCU football season.

1. Week 5 was a weekend of upsets

Hopefully, no one lost their money betting on games as this was the weekend of upsets in HBCU football.

The most glaringly obvious upset was the reigning SWAC champion Alabama A&M Bulldogs suffering a 37-28 loss at the hands of the Grambling State Tigers.

Noah Bodden, Grambling
Photo: GSU Athletics

Grambling State had lost each of its last three games including its conference opener against Prairie View A&M. Meanwhile, Alabama A&M had been on an eight-game win streak with its last loss coming on November 16, 2019.

After Alabama A&M took a 14-0 lead in the second quarter, Grambling State scored 34 unanswered points spanning from 7:58 in the second quarter to 11:37 in the fourth quarter to take full control of the game.

Of the 16 quarters the Bulldogs have played this season, their third quarter against Grambling was just the second time this season they finished without putting points on board (third quarter vs Bethune-Cookman).

Elsewhere, the Howard Bison came back from a 14-point deficit to win their first game of the season against Sacred Heart.

Tennessee State Tigers secured a win over a non-conference FCS opponent for the first time since Aug. 31, 2019, defeating Mississippi Valley State.

Finally, the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils snapped a nine-game losing streak winning against the North Carolina Central Eagles in their homecoming game.

2. The CIAA had several teams involved in blowouts

CIAA fans looking to see competitive games in the second week of conference play were met with a barrage of one-sided blowouts.

Of the six games in the CIAA this weekend, five of them ended in double-digit margins of victory with the only one-possession game being Elizabeth City State’s 19-13 win over Livingstone.

Outside of that matchup, the closest game was Shaw’s 27-7 win over Virginia Union followed by a 33-9 win by Virginia State against St. Augustine’s.

From there, the scores become more and more lopsided as reigning CIAA champs Bowie State won its homecoming game 44-7 over Johnson C. Smith while reigning CIAA runner-ups Fayetteville State defeated Lincoln (PA) 46-9.

However, wrapping up the spree of blowouts was Chowan not only producing the most lopsided game of the season but also the highest-scoring game of any CIAA team this season beating Winston-Salem State 73-7.

This was the first time a CIAA team has scored 70 points in a game since Chowan themselves scored 70 points against Alderson Broaddus.

Next week will surely have some fireworks as four of the teams that secured blowout wins this past weekend will face off on the gridiron in games that could determine who will be participating in this year’s CIAA championship game.

This includes a matchup of CIAA North favorites Bowie State and Chowan as well as CIAA South favorites Fayetteville State and Shaw.

3. Langston continued its dominant run

Being that the Langston Lions play in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics), they do not get as much media attention as a school in a major HBCU conference.

However, an argument could be made that Langston is one of the top HBCU football teams in the nation.

The Langston Lions improved to 5-0 on the season defeating Lyon College 30-0 in their second shutout win of the season.

In the Lions’ wins so far this season, they have outscored their opponents by an astounding combined score of 219-19.

Last week, they set a school record for points scored in a game defeating Arkansas Baptist College 85-6. Quarterback RaQuon Washington tied a school record scoring eight total touchdowns four through the air and four on the ground.

The Langston Lions will be idle this weekend returning to the field on Oct. 16 to play their homecoming game against Texas Wesleyan. The last time those two teams faced off, Langston destroyed Texas Wesleyan 69-7, so expect the potential for another scoring outburst from the Lions.

4. Texas College was shutout again

While the Langston Lions are an NAIA football team that could be considered among the best programs HBCU football has to offer, the same could not be said about the Steers of Texas College.

The Steers have had a rough start to the season culminating in a 71-0 loss this Saturday against the Lane Dragons dropping to 0-5 on the year.

Through just five games, this is the third time this year the Steers have been shutout giving up 212 points total in those games. The lowest-scoring game of those shutouts came against Panhandle State on their home field giving up 68 points.

The closest game the Steers have had so far this year was a 38-18 loss against Wayland Baptist.

Believe it or not, Texas College’s struggles pre-date this year and go back over a decade. From 2010-2019, the Steers finished with an overall record of 10-90 only winning more than one game in a season three times the same amount of times they went winless.

They have not won more than two games in a season since 2007 and have not recorded a winning record in a season since 2005.

5. Bethune-Cookman couldn’t complete an epic comeback against South Carolina State

South Carolina State vs. Bethune-Cookman
Photo: SCSU Athletics

For the first time since leaving the MEAC — becoming an official member of the SWAC — the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats faced off against a team from their former conference when they traveled to Orangeburg, South Carolina to face the South Carolina State Bulldogs.

Both teams entered the contest looking for their first win of the season with South Carolina State sitting at 0-3 and Bethune-Cookman at 0-4.

In the end, it was the South Carolina State securing its first win of the season beating the Wildcats 42-35.

The Bulldogs dominated the first three-quarters of the game going into the fourth quarter leading 42-7. This was the most points South Carolina State has scored through three quarters since putting up 55 points against Howard on November 9, 2019.

However, while many teams might have quit if put in Bethune-Cookman’s shoes, the Wildcats gave it their best shot to give themselves a chance to win scoring 28 points in the fourth quarter.

This included an 88-yard fumble recovery and culminated in a one-yard touchdown run by Devin Black with 45 seconds remaining in the game to trim the score down to a one-possession game.

Unfortunately, the Wildcats did not have enough time to complete the comeback as South Carolina State was able to recover the onside kick and kneel down to escape with the victory.



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