As the weeks go by, the games matter more and Saturday was no different.
There were a couple of important divisional matchups that took place in the Division II ranks, a long losing streak ended and a sleeper in the MEAC emerged.
Here are the six takeaways from Week 7 of the HBCU football season.
Benedict, Virginia Union dethrone conference champions
Both the Benedict Tigers and the Virginia Union Panthers kept their unbeaten streaks alive as well as extended their division leads by knocking off 2021 conference champions.
The Tigers improved to 7-0 with a 24-20 win over the Albany State Golden Rams, snapping Albany State’s 11-game win streak against SIAC opponents.
Tigers quarterback Eric Phoenix had one of the most efficient performances of his career completing 22-of-28 pass attempts for 253 yards and one passing touchdown along with a rushing TD. Zaire Scotland chipped in 105 rushing yards on 22 attempts.
Loobert Denelus anchored the defense posting 10 tackles, three for loss and a snack while Ja’ron Kilpatrick had nine tackles and a forced fumble.
Meanwhile, Virginia Union secured yet another win on their record beating Bowie State 27-24. This is the first time BSU has lost a conference home game since Oct. 18, 2014.
Jada Byers had yet another spectacular performance in the Panthers rushing for 277 yards on 30 attempts and a touchdown. Defensive end Armonii Burden came up huge for the Panthers with three tackles for loss and two sacks.
The Panthers have a chance to clinch the division next weekend should they beat Lincoln and Bowie State tops Chowan.
Southern takes control of SWAC West
The Southern Jaguars are in the driver’s seat in the SWAC West after handing Alcorn State their first conference loss of the season.
This is the Jaguars third straight victory following their 24-0 shutout loss against Texas Southern shooting to the top of the division.
Quarterback Besean McCray amassed 199 passing yards completing 12-of-19 passes scoring two touchdowns. His top receiver August Pitre III contributed four catches for 127 yards.
The run game was also sharp for Southern led by Karl Ligon with a season-high 92 rushing yards on 16 attempts and a touchdown.
Following a weekend in which they play their homecoming game against Virginia University-Lynchburg, the Jaguars will go on the road in what could be a SWAC championship preview against the Jackson State Tigers.
Florida A&M escapes with win over struggling Grambling
Florida A&M Rattlers kept their winning ways going beating Grambling State 20-16 for their fifth straight victory. The loss is Grambling State’s fifth in a row and drops them to 1-6 overall on the season.
Trailing 10-3 at the half, the Rattlers scored 14 unanswered points to take the lead and never looked back.
Jeremy Moussa was great once again throwing for 226 yards while completing 61% of his passes and adding a rushing touchdown. Jah’Marae Sheread led the team in receiving, catching eight passes for 106 yards followed by Xavier Smith, who had six catches for 61 yards.
Rattlers defensive lineman Kamari Stephens gave the team a huge boost recording three sacks, three tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup.
Florida A&M will look for their sixth win in a row when they play their homecoming game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Delaware State makes statement against Norfolk State
The Delaware State Hornets kicked off their conference schedule with a decisive 28-7 over the Norfolk State Spartans. This is the first time Delaware State has won its conference opener since 2014.
Freshman quarterback C.J. Henry had his best performance to date throwing for 194 yards and accounting for three of the team’s four touchdowns. Jerrish Halsey helped out with three catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns.
Freshman running back Marquis Gillis also had his best game of the year with 123 rushing yards and a touchdown.
The Hornets improved to 4-2 with the win the most wins they have had in a season since 2013 when they finished 5-6. They have not concluded a season with a winning record since 2012.
Winston-Salem State upsets Shaw
Winston-Salem State has entered the win column for the first time this year.
The Rams defeated Shaw 17-10 on Saturday The win snaps a seven-game losing streak for the Rams dating back to last season.
Defense ruled the day for Winston-Salem State recording seven sacks and forcing three Shaw turnovers including two interceptions.
Sophomore defensive end Camar Kyle made the biggest impact with seven tackles, three tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks in the game.
Other players who played an important role in the team’s win included Karron Jeter, who had 1.5 tackles for loss and two sacks; Freddie Johnson Jr. returned an interception 81 yards; and Willy Blackstock returned a blocked field goal 68 yards for a TD.
Texas College snaps losing streak in spectacular fashion
Speaking of snapping losing streaks, the Steers of Texas College saw one of their own come to an end when they defeated Lyon College, 38-34.
This was the Steers’ first win since October 2019 that snapped a 19-game losing streak. This also broke a 13-game road losing streak.
The Steers improbable win saw them come back from a 34-16 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter. The victory was culminated by a 99-yard touchdown pass connection from quarterback Isiah Saddler to Derrick Cooper.
Saddler threw for 545 passing yards and five touchdowns. He got help from top receiver Terrell Hookfin, who put up 13 catches for 217 yards scoring three touchdowns while Cooper caught three passes for 117 yards.
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