Another weekend of HBCU football is here and the race to a championship season kick-off with a slate of conference matchups.
Some highlights include rematches, a potential conference championship preview, and a notable conference debut featuring one of the last remaining undefeated teams in HBCU football.
Here are the five games to Watch in Week 4.
South Carolina State at North Carolina A&T
In a clash between the last two MEAC conference champions, the South Carolina State Bulldogs travel to Greensboro to face the North Carolina A&T Aggies.
North Carolina A&T is still searching for its first win of the season while South Carolina State is coming back from a week off following a win over Bethune-Cookman.
The Aggies have won six consecutive games against the Bulldogs, including a 27-17 win last season.
If the Aggies’ season-opening loss to North Carolina Central is any indication, we could be in for the end of another lengthy win streak.
Should South Carolina State win, it would be their first win at North Carolina A&T since 2010.
Virginia Union at Fayetteville State
In what could be a preview of this year’s CIAA championship game, the Virginia Union Panthers go on the road to take on the four-time reigning CIAA South champion Fayetteville State Broncos.
This will be the first time these two teams have faced each other since 2017, a matchup that the Panthers won 47-40.
Virginia Union enters this game coming off a dominant 42-6 win over Livingstone while Fayetteville State had to grind out a 19-7 win over Lincoln (PA).
The Panthers are the last remaining undefeated team in the CIAA, currently sitting at 3-0, its best start to a season since 2007.
They are led by running back Jada Byers who is likely the frontrunner for the CIAA Offensive Player of the Year. He leads the conference averaging 205.3 rushing yards per game and six rushing touchdowns.
He will be facing a Fayetteville State defense that has allowed the fewest points per game (13.7) through the first three games of the season.
The Broncos have not lost a conference home game since October 2019 and have not lost a regular season game against a CIAA North opponent since 2017.
Kentucky State at Benedict
The Benedict Tigers will look to keep their unbeaten run intact when they welcome the Kentucky State Thorobreds.
These two teams faced off against each other in last year’s Circle City Classic, with the Thorobreds scoring 17 unanswered points in the second half en route to a 34-28 win.
Benedict has not just been winning through their first three games, they have been dominant winning by an average margin of over 25 points.
Their offense has been very good early with Kennesaw State running back transfer Zaire Scotland giving the team a huge boost. In the team’s win over Savannah State, he rushed for 112 yards and scored a touchdown.
However, the biggest strength for the Tigers has been their ability to force turnovers on the defensive end recording 11 takeaways including eight fumbles.
Kentucky State’s run game was a key in their victory over Benedict last season. They gained 450 yards on the ground including two 100-yard rushers and three different players scoring TDs.
Hampton at Delaware
The Hampton Pirates, another team looking to remain undefeated, will play its first-ever CAA conference game against the nationally ranked Delaware Blue Hens.
Coming off a 17-7 win against Norfolk State, Hampton sits at a perfect 3-0, their best start to a season since 2007. The Pirates’ defense has been a huge reason for their success led by linebackers Mason King, Qwashin Townsel, and DeAndre Faulk.
The Pirates linebacker trio was instrumental in the team’s win over the Spartans tallying 26 total tackles and 5 tackles for loss.
Hampton’s offense had been powered by their run game featuring their duo of running backs Elijah Burris and Darran Butts. Burris and Butts are averaging a combined 6.6 yards per carry through the first three games.
They are facing a Delaware team that has given up 151.7 rushing yards per game. One of their strong suits, however, is forcing turnovers. The Blue Hens have complied six takeaways so far this season, including five fumbles.
On offense, Delaware is a very efficient passing team with quarterback Nolan Henderson completing 68.6% of his passes. He is backed by a loaded receiving group that features at three receivers with multiple touchdowns this season.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Alcorn State
Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Alcorn State are each looking for their first conference win of the season when they match up in Lorman.
In the last outing between the Golden Lions and Braves, Alcorn State overcame a 32-13 third-quarter deficit to steal a 39-38 win.
Braves running back Niko Duffey was instrumental in the team’s win and will look to have a similar impact along with fellow backs Jarveon Howard and Javonta Leatherwood.
Each of Alcorn State’s trio of running backs rushed for over 60 yards in the team’s win against McNeese State. The Braves defense also shined against McNeese State recording 10 sacks, including four players posting at least two sacks.
For the Golden Lions, senior linebacker Isaac Peppers took center stage in UAPB’s matchup against Oklahoma State posting eight tackles, a tackle for loss, a sack, and a forced fumble.