Tennessee State football
Photo: Tennessee State Athetics

We only have a few weeks remaining in the HBCU football season and the excitement continues to ratchet up as we head down the stretch.

Looking at some of the games that were not featured on this list, the Miles Golden Bears remained atop the SIAC West following a win over Kentucky State.

Prairie View A&M and Alcorn State are building toward their eventual Week 10 clash to decide the SWAC West division securing wins over Southern and Texas Southern respectively.

Last, but not least, the MEAC completed its first full week of conference games with Norfolk State, North Carolina Central, and South Carolina State all walking away victorious.

Let’s see who made the cut as we highlight the five takeaways from week eight of the HBCU football season.

1. The Tennessee State Tigers are streaking

Following a 47-13 loss against Southeast Missouri, the Tennessee State Tigers have been on a roll winning each of their last three games.

They secured their third straight victory this past Saturday with a 28-0 shutout win over Eastern Illinois, which in the process surpassed the team’s win total from the 2019 season.

This was the first shutout for Tennessee State since 2017 and its first shutout against an FCS team

The Tigers’ three-game win streak is the longest they’ve had in a single season since they won the first three games of their 2017 season.

The key to Tennessee State’s winning ways has been its defense. In their first four games of the season, the Tigers allowed 12 offensive touchdowns. During their three-game win streak, they’ve allowed just three total.

The Tigers will go for their fourth straight victory next week in their Homecoming game against Murray State. Should they win, it will be the Tigers’ first four-game win streak since the 2016 season.

2. Bowie State and Fayetteville State are on a collision course to a conference championship rematch

Through eight weeks in the CIAA football season, all roads could be leading to a conference championship trilogy between the Bowie State and Fayetteville State.

Bowie State handled business on the road in Richmond, Virginia knocking off the Virginia Union Panthers 27-7, while Fayetteville State went to Raleigh, North Carolina to defeat St. Augustine’s 40-12.

Both teams have played the upper echelon of their division with the Bulldogs holding wins over Virginia State and Chowan (in addition to their aforementioned win over Virginia Union) while Fayetteville State beat its only competition in the CIAA South, Shaw.

The combined record of the remaining opponents for both Bowie State and Fayetteville State is 8-23 including two teams with just one win on the season.

Next week, the Bulldogs will look to clinch the CIAA North when they go on the road to face the Lincoln (PA) Lions.

If Lincoln’s 1-7 overall record was not enough to make Bowie the heavy favorites to win, history sure would, as the Bulldogs have won their last 12 matchups against the Lions dating back to 2008.

Not only that, but almost all of the games have been complete blowouts with just one game finishing with a one-possession margin of victory coming in 2010 when Bowie won 24-18.

While Lincoln will look to play spoiler in the CIAA North, Livingstone will look to do so in the CIAA South as the Blue Bears face Fayetteville State on the road as the Broncos attempt to lock up the division.

Consequently, history has not been on the side of the Blue Bears against Fayetteville State as they have lost 15 of their last 16 matchups against the Broncos.

However, Livingstone has beaten Fayetteville State recently, defeating them 42-35 albeit on their home field.

In their last two matchups, the Broncos won handily by a combined score of 77-7.

3. Bethune-Cookman’s struggles continue

It has not been a good showing for the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats in their first season in the SWAC coming over from the MEAC.

On Saturday, Bethune-Cookman failed to get in the win column falling 42-12 to the Jackson State Tigers, dropping its overall record to 0-8 and 0-5 in the conference.

The Wildcats are the only team in the SWAC that has yet to win a game and is one of two FCS HBCU teams that are winless on the season (Morgan State).

Bethune-Cookman actually started off hot in its game against Jackson State, getting out to a 9-0 lead in the second. Then, things got off the rails quickly as the Tigers scored 28 unanswered points between the second and third quarter culminating in a touchdown on the opening kickoff of the second half to make the score 28-9.

To be fair to the Wildcats they have been involved in numerous close games, including the three games prior to their loss to Jackson State, with all finishing within one possession.

BCU’s loss to the Tigers was its largest margin of victory against an FCS opponent. In fact, the Wildcats’ only other loss to an FCS opponent by more than one possession was against Alabama State when they lost 38-24.

Having already clinched their first losing season since 2016, the Wildcats will look to keep from going winless for the first time in school history when they play Alcorn State on their home field this Saturday.

If unsuccessful against Alcorn State, their last chance to get a win will be on the road against the Grambling State Tigers.

Also read: Breaking down potential Celebration Bowl combinations

4. Hampton upsets North Carolina A&T

The award for upset of the week goes to the Hampton Pirates who defeated North Carolina A&T 30-9 in their first matchup against the Aggies since they joined the Big South.

These two teams had not played against each other since 2016 which was Hampton’s penultimate season in the MEAC.

The Aggies had won each of their last three meetings against the Pirates with Hampton’s last win coming in 2013.

The win Saturday snapped a three-game losing streak for the Pirates, while the Aggies have cooled down following a three-game win streak, losing their last two.

North Carolina A&T has failed to score rushing touchdowns in back-to-back games. In 2019, they had just one game where they did not score a rushing touchdown.

Aggies’ running back Jah-Maine Martin has struggled in his final college season with just one game recording over 100 rushing yards and two with 50. In addition, he is averaging 3.5 yards per carry, less than half of his 7.7 yards per carry from the 2019 season.

Meanwhile, by virtue of its win over North Carolina A&T, Hampton secured its second conference win since officially joining the Big South, while also snapping a five-game conference losing streak.

Hampton will look to win consecutive games in conference play for the first time in the Big South next week when the Pirates face Robert Morris.

5. Lane’s historic win over Tuskegee

Prior to this Saturday, the Lane Dragons had never defeated the Tuskegee Golden Tigers in their school history.

That all changed when Lane went on the road against Tuskegee and walked away with a 21-17 win.

This was also Lane’s first divisional win of the season after suffering back-to-back losses against Kentucky State and Miles.

Normally an effective passing team, this game was won on the ground as the Dragons recorded a season-high 259 rushing yards scoring two touchdowns.

Freshman running back Ike Brown scored each of his team’s two rushing touchdowns while recording a season-high 145 rushing yards for his second 100-yard rushing game of the season.

Currently sitting at 5-3 overall, the Dragons have a chance with two games remaining to finish with a record above .500 in a season for the first time since 2013.

The Dragons will have a chance to clinch their winning season next week when they face the Central State Marauders on the road in what will be their divisional finale.

While it has beaten the Marauders in two of their last three meetings, Lane has not beaten them on the road in its last three attempts losing each game by an average of 19 points.


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