At this point, it sounds cliche to say that another exciting weekend of HBCU football is in the books, but to say this past weekend was exciting would probably be an understatement.
In terms of on-the-field action, this was arguably the most entertaining, unpredictable week of the HBCU football season so far.
As we inch closer and closer to conference championship play, teams are laying it all on the line for their chance to lift up the trophy.
This weekend saw what might just have been the best game in all of college football, a long losing streak snapped, a monumental upset, and a tease for an epic division matchup next weekend.
Here are the takeaways from week seven.
1. Bowie State-Virginia State Thriller
The rivalry between the Bowie State and Virginia State has arguably been the most entertaining in all of HBCU football in recent years.
Saturday’s matchup was no different as Bowie State walked away victorious in a 51-44 shootout win in what could possibly be not just the best HBCU football game of the season but the best game in all of college football this year.
This game was a tale of two halves with Bowie State dominating the first half leading 21-3 followed by Virginia State marching their way back in the third quarter scoring 14 unanswered points.
While Virginia State continuously fought back eventually tying the game up in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs had an answer for everything the Trojans threw at them on their way to victory.
This was the most points either team has scored or given up this season which is very impressive for the Trojans seeing as Bowie State had the number one defense in the conference entering the game.
Both teams combined for 1,007 yards of total offense including 522 rushing yards scoring 11 offensive touchdowns.
It is going to take a lot for another game to overtake this one for game of the year.
Bowie State will be in another important game that could decide the CIAA North when the team goes on the road to Richmond to face the Virginia Union Panthers.
2. Downfall of Spring SWAC Championship participants
There were huge expectations for Alabama A&M Bulldogs to be among the top contenders in the SWAC after winning the conference title in the spring over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
While the Bulldogs have been among the top offenses in the FCS, it has not translated to wins.
After winning their first three games of the season, they have lost their last three, culminating in a 35-31 loss on Saturday against Florida A&M.
Quarterback and reigning Black College Football Player of the Year Aqeel Glass had his worst passing output of the season in the Florida A&M loss completing just 44% of his passes for 199 yards.
This was also the first game of the season that Glass did not throw for more than one touchdown in a game.
The Bulldogs’ defense has been the biggest problem allowing 39.3 points (second-worst in SWAC) and 426.5 yards per game (third-worst in SWAC).
Even UAPB, the team Alabama A&M beat to claim the SWAC crown, has struggled — currently sitting at the bottom of the SWAC West division with a 1-5 overall record and a 0-4 record in conference.
The Golden Lions’ only win this season has come against SIAC member Lane in their season opener. Their conference schedule began on a rough note losing 39-38 to the Alcorn State after leading by as many as 19 in the third quarter.
Since then, UAPB has lost each of its last three games by at least 10 points including a 34-7 loss to Southern on Saturday.
This was a chance for the Golden Lions to dispel the myth that they only made the SWAC championship game in the spring because Alcorn State did not play but they have done anything but that.
Also read: It’s been a tale of two different seasons for high-profile SWAC newcomers
3. Lincoln (PA) snaps long losing streak
One thing that might have gone under the radar was the Lincoln (PA) Lions getting their first win of the season defeating the Elizabeth City State Vikings 17-14 in their homecoming game.
The win was the first for the Lions since October 13, 2018, when they ironically beat the Elizabeth City State Vikings on their homecoming game.
From that game to their win on Saturday, the Lions had lost 19 straight games. This includes a 2019 season in which the Lions finished with a 0-10 record in what was their second winless season in three years (also finished 2017 season with an 0-10 record).
Prior to this game, Lincoln had only led in one of their seven games this season leading 3-0 against the Shaw Bears in the first quarter lasting 2:56.
By virtue of leading 17-7 in the third quarter, this was the first time Lincoln has led by double figures in a game since leading 14-0 against Livingstone on September 28, 2019.
After rushing for a season-high 127 yards against Virginia Union, the Lions doubled that in their win recording 253 rushing yards, and scored two touchdowns on the ground after having just one in their first six games.
Lincoln’s defense also played a huge role in its win only allowing 176 yards of total offense including just 23 rushing yards.
4. Biggest Upset of the Weekend
Anyone who did not see any of the action on the gridiron in the SIAC this weekend missed some exciting, heart-stopping games.
The most shocking and what was arguably the biggest upset of the weekend came in a matchup between Morehouse and Fort Valley State.
Entering Saturday, the SIAC East had three unbeaten teams in conference play: Savannah State, Albany State and Fort Valley State.
Fort Valley State had won each of its last three games winning each contest by 10 points or more. FVSU’s last two games were both in conference play with its last game seeing the team beat Central State 35-14.
Morehouse entered with a 1-5 record with all of its losses coming by more than two touchdowns.
The Maroon Tigers played spoiler by absolutely dominating Fort Valley State, 51-3.
Fort Valley State had only allowed one 100 yard rushing game entering Saturday’s contest and had not allowed any team to score more than one rushing touchdown.
Morehouse rushed for 213 rushing yards, scoring five touchdowns on the ground.
The Wildcats gained a season-low 171 yards of total offense failing to score a touchdown in a game for the first time since October 13, 2018.
Fortunately for Fort Valley State, they are still in the race for a conference championship as this was just the Wildcats’ first conference loss of the season.
5. SIAC East Collision Course
Speaking of the SIAC East, following Fort Valley State’s loss to Morehouse, the division is now led by Savannah State and Albany State.
Both teams secured wins on Saturday with the Tigers dispatching Clark Atlanta and the Golden Rams beating Benedict on the road.
Week eight will see Savannah State and Albany State clash on Albany’s home field in a game that could not only determine who represents the division in the SIAC championship game but who walks away conference champion.
Each team is currently riding win streaks following losses to Valdosta State with Savannah State winning each of their last six games and Albany State winning four straight.
The biggest matchup to watch in this game is Savannah State’s run offense against Albany State’s run defense.
This season, Savannah State has scored the most rushing touchdowns this season (20) while Albany State has allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns this season (1).
The Tigers have not lost a conference game since re-joining the SIAC in 2019 while the Golden Rams’ only conference loss since 2018 came against Savannah State.
On the other hand, Albany State has not lost a home game in the regular season since losing to Valdosta State on September 7, 2019. In addition, ASU has not lost a home conference game since October 28, 2017, against Benedict (lost 2019 SIAC championship on their home field).
This is one game HBCU football fans should absolutely tune in to. It is sure to be an exciting affair.