For the 17th time, the Black college football season will kick off in Atlanta with the Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge.
This year’s contest, held at Center Parc Stadium, will pit Howard against Alabama State. The Bison will be making their first-ever appearance in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, while the Hornets will be in the game for the third time.
Saturday’s game will also mark the second-ever meeting between the two schools. Alabama State defeated Howard in their only previous meeting, 27-12 in 2004.
Howard is coming into its third full season under head coach Larry Scott, and the Bison (2-8, 1-4 MEAC in 2021) were picked to finish fifth in the MEAC’s predicted order of finish. Howard boasts five Preseason First Team All-MEAC selections: wide receiver Antoine Murray, offensive linemen Darius Fox and Anim Dunkwah, defensive lineman Darren Brokenburr and defensive back Kenny Gallup.
The MEAC is 11-4 all-time in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge.
For us, it’s to keep the streak alive,” said Bison coach Larry Scott. “The record right now is 11-4, and we don’t want to be the team that stops that,” said Scott. “So just for our young men to have the sense of urgency of what that means, you’re not only carrying the brand that is Howard, not philosophy and who we are as a football team, but we’re representing our conference as a whole. And that has to mean something.”
Alabama State is entering its first season under head coach Eddie Robinson, Jr. The Hornets were 5-6 overall and 3-5 in SWAC play last season, finishing fourth in the East Division. Safety Irshaad Davis and offensive lineman Robert Alston IV were both voted Preseason First Team All-SWAC.
The Hornets were picked to finish fourth in the East Division this season.
“For us, it’s going to be to showcase what our season is going to be about,” said Robinson. “Just to have our fans come and see what we’re going to be about in 2022.”