North Carolina Central and South Carolina State will meet in a pivotal MEAC contest.
North Carolina Central travels to Orangeburg on the heels of a 59-20 beating of Morgan State in what was a virtuoso performance by quarterback Davius Richard.
The Junior quarterback completed 17 of his 24 pass attempts for 217 yards and four touchdowns. He added another 66 yards and two additional scores on the ground.
But Richard was not the only Eagles offensive star who flew high that night. Junior running back Larrell Collier ran for 112 yards and a touchdown to lead a run game that piled up 292 yards.
The passing game featured eight different eagle pass catchers, led by E.J. Hicks, who hauled in five receptions for 83 yards and a score. The N.C. Central defense limited Morgan State to only 260 yards and 20 points.
South Carolina, the defending MEAC and Black College national champions, shut out Virginia University of Lynchburg 36-0.
Quarterback Corey Fields Jr. threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Shaquan Davis caught seven of those passes for 76 yards and a touchdown, while running back Kendrell Flowers led the ground effort with 72 yards.
Sophomore linebacker Aaron Smith and Preseason MEAC DPOY Jeblonskl Green, Jr. spearheaded a defensive unit that limited Virginia Lynchburg to a mere minus-22 yards of total offense.
Why South Carolina State will win
Fields will make throws. His completion rate on the season is a meager 44.9%. If he can somewhat replicate the 53.1% success rate he enjoyed against North Carolina A&T, this will be a boon to the Bulldog offense and take the pressure off Flowers. A moderately accurate Fields means that Davis can be more effectively utilized.
Defensively, Jeblonski Green and the SCSU defense must be able to get to Richard and disrupt his timing. Richard, as great as he has been this season, has thrown at least one interception in three of NC Central’s games this season. The Bulldogs’ secondary will need to take advantage of those opportunities to create turnovers to help an offense that averages the second-fewest points in the MEAC.
Why North Carolina Central will win
The Eagles are going to keep it simple by loading up in the box to stop Flowers and force the Bulldogs to put the ball more in the hands of Fields. Fields has only completed more than 37.5% of his passes twice this season, and the Eagles are going to continually force him to make throws. South Carolina State could find themselves in a hole that their offense will be unable to pull itself out of if the unit remains inconsistent as it has been all season.
South Carolina State: 17
North Carolina Central: 35