The HBCU football season continues to ramp up in excitement as the weeks go on and week three may have just been the most exciting yet.
Several teams secured their first win of the season while others remained undefeated and we have seen yet another huge upset win against a nationally ranked opponent.
Here are the seven takeaways from week 3 of the HBCU football season.
1. North Carolina Central knocked off a top 25 opponent
Another week in HBCU football brings yet another monumental upset as North Carolina Central knocked off the No. 25 New Hampshire, 45-27.
The Eagles improved to 3-0 on the season making them the last remaining unbeaten team in the MEAC. This is also the first time they have started a season 3-0 since joining the MEAC.
North Carolina Central got off to a hot start outscoring New Hampshire 21-7 in the first quarter. This included NCCU’s first defensive touchdown of the season on a 33-yard pick-six by junior defensive back Khalil Baker.
From there the Eagles did not look back leading for the entire game securing their victory shutting out New Hampshire in the third quarter 10-0 giving them a 38-21 lead entering the fourth.
Quarterback Davius Richard had yet another fantastic performance completing 18-of-27 passes for 194 yards scoring two touchdowns adding a career-high 140 rushing yards and another touchdown.
Eagles receivers Joaquin Davis and Devin Smith recorded a combined 11 catches for 133 yards each scoring a touchdown.
North Carolina Central will look to remain undefeated when the Eagles return home next week to face Virginia University of Lynchburg.
2. A number of HBCU teams secured their first win of the season
Across the HBCU football landscape, several teams were able to put their first win of the season on the board.
Most notably, Shaw dethroned the reigning CIAA champion Bowie State 17-14 handing the Bulldogs their first conference loss since 2018.
The Bears sealed their victory thanks to a go-ahead rushing touchdown by Sidney Gibbs with 36 seconds remaining in the game.
Former Bowie State head coach Damon Wilson won his first game with Morgan State defeating the two-time reigning NEC champion Sacred Heart 24-9.
Elsewhere in the MEAC, Howard overcame a slow start to shutout Morehouse 31-0. Delaware State took down Virginia University of Lynchburg 35-19.
For the second straight season, Elizabeth City State defeated Winston-Salem State claiming its first win of the year.
The Lane Dragons got in the column with a 38-6 demolition win over the Clark Atlanta Panthers.
And last but not least, Tuskegee did something its SIAC counterparts Morehouse and Miles were unable to do; and that was to get a win over West Alabama, beating them 13-10. This win was a historic one giving them their 700th win in program history.
3. Texas Southern secured a shutout over Southern
Another team that got its first win of the season was the Texas Southern Tigers, shutting out the preseason SWAC West favorite Southern Jaguars 24-0.
This is the second season in a row the Tigers have gotten a win over the Jaguars following a nine-game losing streak against them.
This is also the first time a SWAC team has shutout Southern since Mississippi Valley State beat the Jags 6-0 in 2012.
The Texas Southern defense shined in this outing recording three interceptions (two in the second quarter) and forcing four sacks.
Tigers defensive end Michael Akins was the star of the game finishing with five tackles, 2.0 sacks and 2.0 tackles for loss.
Quarterback Andrew Body had one of the most efficient performances of his career completing 16-of-22 passes for 186 yards scoring two touchdowns, adding 39 rushing yards on seven attempts.
Receiver Derek Morton recorded his second straight 100-yard game finishing with six catches for 108 yards scoring his first touchdown of the season.
4. Mississippi Valley State fell to Delta State
The Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils’ home opener did not exactly go as planned, as they ended up on the wrong end of an upset losing 28-17 to the Division II Delta State Statesmen.
Delta State had control of the game from the kickoff outscoring the Delta Devils 18-0 in the first half. DSU’s first points of the game came on a safety on Mississippi Valley State’s second offensive possession
The Statesmen tallied 412 offensive yards on 69 plays in the game compared to 352 yards on 75 plays by Mississippi Valley State.
Despite the loss, MVSU got some solid individual performances from a number of their players. Among them is defensive lineman Ronnie Thomas who amassed 12 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks.
Quarterback Jamari Jones completed 17-of-25 passes for 182 yards scoring a touchdown while running back Caleb Johnson had 79 rushing yards on 17 attempts scoring a touchdown.
This is the first time these two teams have played against each other since 2013 a game that Delta State also won 24-14.
Things do not get easier for the Delta Devils as they go on the road next week to face the defending SWAC champion Jackson State Tigers.
5. Jackson State’s dominant second half secures victory over Grambling
Speaking of the defending SWAC champion Jackson State Tigers, they kept their perfect record intact Saturday when they defeated the Grambling State Tigers 66-24.
This is Jackson State’s second 60-point game so far this season the first time they have done this in over the past 15 years.
At halftime, the game was actually close with Jackson State holding a 21-17 lead. However, JSU took the game over in the third quarter outscoring Grambling 24-0 taking over the rest of the way.
Jackson State’s offense shined in this game putting for a season-high 628 offensive yards their highest total in the Deion Sanders era.
Shedeur Sanders added on to what has already been a phenomenal sophomore season completing 21-of-31 passes for 357 yards scoring four touchdowns and adding two rushing touchdowns. His top receiver Dallas Daniels had five catches for 85 yards reaching the end zone three times.
Sophomore running back Sy’Veon Wilkerson had his best performance in a Jackson State uniform rushing for 141 yards on 23 attempts, scoring two touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Jackson State defense forced four turnovers in the game (two fumbles and two interceptions) turning each into touchdowns on the ensuing offensive drive.
Jackson State was far from perfect in this game though, as the Tigers lost three fumbles — one of which Grambling State returned for a touchdown while also giving up three sacks. In addition, the defense gave up two 70-yard touchdowns one through the air and one on the ground.
These are mistakes the Tigers will look to clean up when they face Mississippi Valley State.
6. Hampton remained unbeaten in win over Norfolk State
The Hampton Pirates’ run in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) has gotten off to a very good start as they improved to 3-0 on the season following a 17-7 win over Norfolk State in the Battle of the Bay.
This is the first time Hampton has started a season with a 3-0 record since the 2007 season and the first time they have won three straight games in a season since 2018.
Meanwhile, Norfolk State drops to 0-3 making them the Spartans the last remaining team in the MEAC to win a game so far this season. Through their first three games, the Spartans have been outscored by a combined score of 135-17.
Hampton receiver Romon Copeland was the star of the game recording 11 receiving yards on just three catches including a 75-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
The Pirates will look to remain perfect as they play their first CAA conference game next week on the road against the Delaware Blue Hens.
7. Benedict and Fort Valley State are on a collision course
The SIAC East has been an interesting division to watch in the early going of the 2022 HBCU football season. The SIAC East division is the only division in all of HBCU football with two remaining undefeated teams in Benedict and Fort Valley State.
The Benedict Tigers kicked off the HBCU football weekend with a 24-6 Thursday night win over the Savannah State Tigers improving their record to 3-0.
Benedict had a great day running the ball recording 212 rushing yards, scoring two touchdowns. The effort was led by redshirt freshman Zaire Scotland who had 112 yards on 22 attempts and a touchdown.
The biggest star of the game, however, was junior defensive end Loobert Denelus who put up seven tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks a forced fumble and a blocked kick.
Meanwhile, the Fort Valley State Wildcats advanced to 3-0 on the season following a 29-27 comeback win against the Allen Yellow Jackets.
The Wildcats scored two unanswered touchdowns to erase a 27-17 third-quarter deficit and secure the victory.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Kelvin Durham was fantastic for the Wildcats completing 20-of-32 passes for 334 yards scoring his first three passing touchdowns of the season, adding a rushing touchdown.
Receivers Fralon Warren and Corintheus Edmonds combined for 289 yards on 13 catches scoring each of the team’s three pass touchdowns.
Next week, these two teams will face Bluefield State and Kentucky State respectively. If both teams are victorious, they will clash in Fort Valley State’s homecoming game in a matchup that could determine who represents the SIAC East in the conference championship game.
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