We are in the final weeks of the regular season, meaning there is a heightened sense of urgency for teams looking to secure their spot in their respective conference championship games.
This weekend features a potential deciding game in the MEAC, a SIAC team looking to remain at the top of its division, and a CIAA team looking to keep itself in contention.
Here are five games to watch in week eight of the HBCU football season.
1. Jackson State vs. Campbell – (TV: ESPN+)
The Jackson State Tigers look to maintain their hold of the top of the SWAC when they play in their homecoming contest against the Campbell Camels.
Campbell is looking to hand another HBCU football team its first loss of the season following the Fighting Camels’ decisive 48-18 win over North Carolina Central that ended NCCU’s unbeaten run.
Both teams enter this game off of blowout wins, with Jackson State defeating Bethune-Cookman 48-8 and Campbell beating Robert Morris 41-10.
Shedeur Sanders will look to make a big impact against a Campbell defense that has forced two interceptions in each of their last three games.
The Tigers will also look to establish their backfield duo of Sy’Veon Wilkerson and Santee Marshall.
JSU will look to contend with a Campbell defense that ranks among the top pass defenses in the country, forcing eight interceptions on the season.
2. North Carolina Central vs. South Carolina State – (TV: ESPN 3)
The reigning MEAC champion South Carolina State Bulldogs begin their quest for back-to-back championship runs when they play their conference opener against the North Carolina Central Eagles.
Last season, this game was the deciding factor in South Carolina State winning the MEAC when the Bulldogs defeated North Carolina Central 27-24, handing NCCU its lone conference loss.
These two teams are the last remaining MEAC teams to win a conference championship. With a win in this game, either squad could be one step closer to clinching another title.
Eagles quarterback Davius Richard, who is coming off a season-high six-touchdown performance against Morgan State, will be of top priority for the Bulldogs’ defense.
South Carolina State running back Kendrell Flowers will look to have another great performance against North Carolina Central. In their matchup last year, Flowers was splendid, compiling 121 rushing yards on 17 attempts scoring a touchdown along with a receiving touchdown.
3. Tuskegee vs. Lane
The Tuskegee Golden Tigers will be looking to remain unbeaten in SIAC play when they travel to Jackson, Tennessee, to face the Lane Dragons.
Last season, Lane defeated Tuskegee 21-17, defeating the Golden Tigers for the first time in school history and snapping a 25-game losing streak.
This game is important for the Dragons, who are trying to keep themselves alive in the race for the SIAC West division championship. Lane currently sits at 3-1 against the SIAC, while Tuskegee is a perfect 4-0.
Tuskegee, on the other hand, has a chance to clinch the SIAC West should it win and Kentucky State loses.
Tuskegee’s duo of running backs, Taurean Taylor and Donte Edwards, will be players to watch in this game. They will be looking for big games against a Lane defense led by the country’s leader in tackles for loss Andrew Farmer.
Meanwhile, Lane’s passing attack featuring quarterback Michael Huntley with top receivers Jacquez Jones and Virgil Young will need to make an impact for the Dragons to come out victorious.
4. Bowie State vs. Chowan
The Bowie State Bulldogs are looking to avenge their first home loss of the season when they welcome the CIAA’s only non-HBCU Chowan Hawks.
Last weekend, Bowie State lost their first home game since October 2014, falling short to Virginia Union losing 27-24 in overtime.
Meanwhile, Chowan defeated Virginia State 43-40 to improve to 4-1 in CIAA play. Should Chowan lose to Bowie and Virginia Union beat Lincoln (PA), the Hawks would be eliminated from conference championship contention.
Bowie State quarterback Dion Golatt has been on a tear averaging 328 passing yards per game, and has scored seven passing touchdowns in his past three games.
Chowan will look for a productive game from its deep secondary, highlighted by Kmare Carey, who ranks second in the CIAA with four interceptions.
5. Hampton vs. Richmond – (TV: FloSports)
Coming off their first conference win of the season, the Hampton Pirates look to keep their momentum rolling when they play their homecoming game against the Richmond Spiders.
This is the first time these two teams have played against each other since 2015. In that game, Richmond erased a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Pirates 31-28.
The Hampton defense will have to contend with Richmond quarterback Reece Udinski who is the most efficient quarterback in the country with a 76% completion percentage.
The Pirates’ secondary is the best in the CAA forcing eight interceptions coming from eight different defenders.
Meanwhile, Richmond will have to contend with Hampton’s top receiver Jadakis Bonds who leads the CAA in receiving touchdowns (8) and is third in receiving yards per game (91.3).
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