Week 10 has started off on an exciting note with Morgan State getting its first win of the season defeating Delaware State 20-14.
With this being the final week in the regular season for the CIAA and SIAC, we could potentially see some upset alerts as teams look to end their season on a high note.
In addition, the SWAC and MEAC are still fighting for spots in conference championship games with opponents looking to play spoiler.
Let’s see what excitement this weekend has in store as we look at the four games to watch in week 10 of the HBCU football season.
1. Florida A&M at Southern
Florida A&M looks to remain in the running for the SWAC East division when the team goes on the road to face Southern.
Having already lost to current division leader Jackson State, the Rattlers will need some help to claim the East with three weeks remaining in the regular season starting with winning this game Saturday.
Should FAMU win, the team’s remaining games come against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Bethune-Cookman; two teams with a combined record of 1-15. FAMU will need to win the rest of its games and hope for two losses from Jackson State to reach the conference championship game.
Meanwhile, Southern is technically in the SWAC West division race having helped its case by defeating Alcorn State 38-35 last weekend via a game-winning field goal.
However, the Jaguars will need much more help than Florida A&M if they want to make the ultimate comeback to win the division.
In addition to needing to beat the Rattlers, the Jags need to win out and need both Alcorn State and Prairie View to lose this weekend along with an Alcorn State win over the Panthers the following week.
Along with these high stakes, this game will feature two of HBCU football’s top defenders that could be tearing it up in the NFL this time next year in Florida A&M’s Markquese Bell and Southern’s Jordan Lewis.
While this season has been a struggle for Southern, Florida A&M has gotten comfortable in its first season in the SWAC led by one of the top defenses in the FCS.
The Rattlers are the sixth-ranked defense in the FCS allowing just 15.1 points per game. In addition to Bell, they also have linebacker Isaiah Land who will be a contender for SWAC Defensive Player of the Year.
The Rattlers’ defense will have to contend with the Jaguars’ ground game that ranks 12th in FCS in rushing yards per game.
2. Virginia Union at Virginia State
In the final week of the regular season in the CIAA, the Virginia Union Panthers will go on the road to Ettrick, Virginia to face their fierce rival, Virginia State.
This has not exactly been a banner season for either team, especially for Virginia State who currently at 3-5 will finish with an overall record below .500 for the second time in the past three seasons (finished 2018 season 4-5).
Should the Trojans lose Saturday’s game against Virginia Union, they will have a conference record below .500 for the first time in the past 10 years.
Virginia State has won three of the last four contests.
Virginia Union is coming off a 44-14 win over Elizabeth City State while Virginia State lost 38-30 to Chowan.
Almost every time these two teams step on the field against each other it produces fireworks. Virginia State won the last matchup in overtime. In 2017 Virginia State scored on two fourth-quarter touchdowns to erase an 11-point deficit and win 40-39, and in 2015 Virginia Union erased a 17-point deficit to beat Virginia State 28-27.
If this game is anything like the past outings we are set for a thrilling game to end the regular season.
Also read: Bowie State moves up in national Division II rankings after clinching CIAA North
3. Miles at Tuskegee
In a pivotal game to decide the SIAC West, the Miles Golden Bears will go on the road looking to clinch their third straight division title when they face the Tuskegee Golden Tigers.
Miles enters this game in a three-way tie at the top of the SIAC West with Kentucky State and Lane all with 3-2 conference records.
However, Miles has defeated Kentucky State and Lane in prior matchups giving them the advantage going into the final week.
Tuskegee is looking to play spoiler coming off of back-to-back losses against Miles as competitors for the SIAC West title.
History is on the side of Miles in its matchup against Tuskegee as the Golden Bears have beaten Tuskegee in each of the last two contests including winning three of their last four games against them on the road.
The last time these two teams played each other, Miles defeated Tuskegee 20-6 on the Golden Tigers’ home field.
For Tuskegee to get back in the win column against Miles, the Golden Tigers will need to stop Miles’ ground game that is amongst the best in all of Division II football.
The Golden Bears are one of few teams that have two backs (Donte Edwards and Kingston Davis) that each average over 75 rushing yards per game and will look to have big games in order to ensure their team secures a spot in the conference championship game.
4. Fort Valley State at Albany State
Having already clinched a spot in the SIAC championship game, Albany State will look to finish off the regular season on a high note when it faces the Fort Valley State Wildcats in the Fountain City Classic.
This game could have determined the SIAC East had Fort Valley State won its matchup against Savannah State last week.
Albany State was able to clinch the division beating Morehouse 14-10 on the road.
The Rams have dominated Fort Valley State recently, winning seven of their last nine matchups including each of their last three. In the last two games, Albany State has won by a combined score of 82-12.
The last time the Wildcats beat the Golden Rams was in 2016, the same year that they last won the SIAC championship.
The key to this game will be, can Fort Valley State’s offense move the ball downfield against Albany State’s versatile defense?
The Golden Rams will be playing with a heavy heart this weekend, as this will be the first game the team has played since their sophomore linebacker Adonis Butler was killed in an accident involving a transit bus on campus.