Bethune-Cookman Football
Photo: Bethune-Cookman Athletics

It almost sounds cliche to say that another exciting weekend of HBCU football is in the books, but trust me, this past weekend embodies that perfectly.

While the CIAA and SIAC championship games were already set in stone, the same could not be said about the MEAC or the SWAC and it is most definitely not now in one of those conferences.

There was no shortage of anticipation from this weekend’s slate of games and if this was any indication, we are in for a roller-coaster finish to the year.

Here are the takeaways from Week 10 of the HBCU football season.

1. There were a wealth of upsets

Week 10 of the HBCU football season did not fail to deliver chaotic upsets making these games so fun to watch.

The week started off with the Morgan State Bears winning their first game of the season over the Delaware State Hornets, snapping a nine-game losing streak dating back to 2019.

That was not the only upset in the MEAC as North Carolina Central Eagles erased a 21-0 deficit to defeat the Norfolk State Spartans 38-36 in double overtime handing them their first conference loss of the season and snapping the Spartans’ six-game win streak.

The St. Augustine’s Falcons ended their season on a high note defeating the Shaw Bears 21-17 for their first and only win of the season.

The Arkansas Pine-Bluff Golden Lions snapped a seven-game losing streak beating the Grambling State Tigers 33-26.

However, there was one SWAC upset that stood above all the rest turning not just the conference upside down but all of HBCU football.

2. Bethune-Cookman won its first game of the season

After losing their first eight games of the season and their first five conference games, the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats finally secured that elusive victory since joining the SWAC defeating the Alcorn State Braves 35-31.

Alcorn State came into this game looking to bounce back from a loss against Southern in an effort to remain in the race for the SWAC West division title.

Although Bethune-Cookman had not won a game prior to Saturday’s contest, the Wildcats had come close on numerous occasions with four of their six losses against FCS opponents coming in one-possession losses.

The Wildcats erased a 10-point deficit in the third quarter scoring two unanswered peaking with a three-yard touchdown run by Laderrien Wilson to take and keep the lead with 12:27 remaining in the fourth quarter.

This is the first time Alcorn State has lost consecutive games against SWAC opponents since 2017 when the Braves lost to Jackson State in the last game of the regular season and to Grambling State in the SWAC championship game.

This is the first game Alcorn State has lost after leading by at least 10 points in the second half since losing to Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sept. 15, 2016.

This loss hurts so much for Alcorn because of how SWAC West division leader Prairie View A&M’s game played out. Speaking of…

3. Prairie View A&M escaped disaster against Alabama State

The Prairie View A&M Panthers averted disaster coming back from a 10-point deficit of their own to defeat Alabama State 24-20.

This was the Panthers’ sixth straight win giving them their longest win streak in a season since 2015 when they won their last five games.

With Alcorn State losing its last two games and Southern now officially out of the race for the SWAC West following a loss against Florida A&M, Prairie View A&M needed this win not just to increase its lead in the division but to remain unbeaten in conference play.

The Panthers entered this game comfortably having won six straight contests against Alabama State with their last loss coming in 2013 and their last home loss in 2012.

Although Prairie View came away victorious, it was not pretty as the Panthers were held to their lowest offensive output in conference play with 350 yards of total offense.

Also read: Prairie View makes first appearance in national FCS rankings on brink of division championship

In addition, quarterback Jawon Pass who has been sensational this season was held to a season-low 171 passing yards.

The Panthers are set to face Alcorn State next weekend which will still be a game that could keep the Braves in the race for the division.

However, even if the Braves do win against the Panthers, clinching the division will prove difficult seeing as they would also have to win their season finale against current SWAC East leader Jackson State. Speaking of the SWAC East…

4. The SWAC East is still up for grabs

While the Jackson State Tigers defeated Texas Southern 41-21 to stay undefeated in conference play, the Florida A&M Rattlers remained in the race for the division title beating Southern 29-17.

With their wins, both Jackson State and Florida A&M extended their win streaks to six games.

Neither team had an easy road to victory as Jackson State was tied with Texas Southern 21-21 going into the final quarter, while Florida A&M trailed 17-13 in the second quarter.

Since Jackson State has already beaten Florida A&M, the Rattlers need to win their two remaining games and hope for two JSU losses.

Fortunately for FAMU, the Rattlers have an easier schedule going forward with their last two games coming against UAPB and Bethune-Cookman who have a combined conference record of 2-10.

Meanwhile, Jackson State’s last two games will be against Southern and Alcorn State respectively, the former of whom they have not beaten since 2013 and the latter since 2017.

5. Albany State and Bowie State end the regular season in dominant fashion

CIAA North champion Bowie State and SIAC East champion Albany State each ended their seasons in dominant fashion heading into their respective conference championship games.

The Bowie State Bulldogs ended their regular season with a 79-6 victory over the Elizabeth City State Vikings on their home field.

Bowie State’s 79 points and the team’s 73-point margin of victory each were season-highs in the CIAA this season, beating Chowan’s 73 points and 66-point margin of victory set against Winston-Salem State.

The win extended Bowie State’s win streak to 20 games against conference competitors (including 2019 and 2018 conference championship games) with its last loss coming against the aforementioned Chowan on Oct. 6, 2018.

The Bulldogs will look to secure their third straight CIAA championship when they face Fayetteville State for the third straight time.

The Albany State Golden Rams, on the other hand, ended their regular season with a 57-0 shutout win over the Fort Valley State Wildcats in the Fountain City Classic.

The 57 points scored by the Golden Rams are symbolic as they represent the number worn by their fallen team member Adonis Butler who passed away on November 1.

This was Albany State’s fifth shutout win this season (fourth in conference play) more than any other team in all of HBCU football.

With the win, the Golden Rams end the season on a seven-game win streak, their longest since 2018, which was also the last time they ended a season unbeaten in conference play.


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