As if the HBCU football season could not feature any more twists, Week 9 showed that there is so much more to look forward to as championship time nears.
The MEAC may have just proved that it is the most unpredictable conference in all of HBCU football with a weekly shift in the standings.
There was also a game-of-the-year contender in the SWAC and an upset alert that was not the Boombox Classic.
Also, the race for the CIAA North is not over yet as an unlikely result forced teams into Week 10 division-clinching scenarios.
Jackson State drops the boom on Southern
In what was billed as a potential SWAC championship preview, Jackson State showed why they are the class of the SWAC, shutting out the Southern Jaguars 35-0.
This is Jackson State’s first shutout win of the season and improved its record to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the conference.
Meanwhile, Southern had its four-game win streak snapped and also dropped to second place in the SWAC West behind Prairie View A&M.
The Jackson State defense held Southern to a season-low 221 yards of total offense while also forcing two Jaguar turnovers.
Although Shedeur Sanders had a season-low 194 passing yards, completing a season-low 55% of his passes, he showed tremendous mobility scoring two rushing touchdowns, including a 42-yard score.
Sy’Veon Wilkerson chipped in 96 rushing yards on 21 attempts with a touchdown as well as a three-yard receiving touchdown.
Chowan upsets Virginia Union
The Virginia Union Panthers unbeaten run has come to an end following their 26-21 upset loss to the Chowan Hawks.
Defense and special teams ruled the day for the Hawks, accounting for two of the team’s touchdowns in the game. This included a 45-yard pick six which extended their lead to 26-14 with 1:10 remaining in the game effectively sealing their victory.
Hawks defensive lineman Traevon Mitchell played a huge role in the team’s win amassing seven tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. Meanwhile, quarterback Rashad McKee led the offense with 195 passing yards and two touchdowns.
For the first time this season, Panthers star running back Jada Byers was held without a touchdown. He was, however, able to compile 108 rushing yards, setting a new Virginia Union school record for rushing yards in a season as a result.
With this win, Chowan not only hands the Panthers their first loss of the season but also snatches first place in the CIAA North division away from them.
Chowan will now go home for their season-finale against Elizabeth City State with a chance to clinch the division. On the other hand, should the Hawks lose, Virginia Union would have a chance to win the division should they beat Virginia State.
Benedict, Tuskegee clinch SIAC divisions
While the CIAA is still up in the air, the same can not be said about the SIAC. Benedict and Tuskegee will represent their respective division in the conference title games.
Benedict locked up the SIAC East and improved to a perfect 9-0 on the season with a 49-20 homecoming win over Clark Atlanta.
Meanwhile, Tuskegee clinched the SIAC West with a 28-7 win against the Kentucky State Thorobreds securing their first conference championship appearance since 2017.
This will be the first time Benedict and Tuskegee have played against each other since 2010. History is on the side of the Golden Tigers as they won 34-18.
Alabama State uses magical drive to beat Alabama A&M
The Alabama State Hornets snapped a four-game losing streak in the Magic City Classic beating Alabama A&M 24-17.
This loss snaps a three-game win streak for the Bulldogs putting them in a tie with Alabama State in the SWAC East with both teams sitting at 3-2.
Alabama State overcame a slow start in which they trailed 14-3 at halftime before scoring two straight touchdowns to take a 17-14 lead with 13:56 remaining in the fourth.
After Alabama A&M tied the game with a 37-yard field goal, the Hornets put themselves back in front for good following a touchdown drive with two minutes left.
The Bulldogs had a chance to tie the game back up after driving into the red zone. However, they completed a pass shy of the endzone and were unable to spike the ball to get another snap.
North Carolina A&T completes greatest homecoming win on Earth
North Carolina A&T overcame an 18-point deficit to defeat Campbell 45-38 on homecoming.
With the win, the Aggies improve to a perfect 3-0 in the Big South atop of the conference as one of two undefeated teams remaining.
Trailing 28-10 at the half, NCAT scored 20 unanswered points to take their first lead of the game. After exchanging the lead with three scores, the Aggies kept the lead for good following a six-yard touchdown run by Wesley Graves.
Bhayshul Tuten extended his 100-yard rushing streak in spectacular fashion, recording a season-high 256 yards and two touchdowns.
Jalen Fowler got in on the action with 233 passing yards and two touchdowns. His top receiver, Zachary Leslie, accounted for four receptions 121 yards, and two TDs.
On defense, Jacob Roberts got in on the scoring for the Aggies returning an interception 39 yards.
Prairie View wins high-scoring game against Bethune-Cookman
Not too many people could have predicted Prairie View A&M and Bethune-Cookman would have the game of the weekend. But that is exactly what happened in a 58-48 Panthers win.
The win for Prairie View improves their record to 4-1 against SWAC competition catapulting them into first place in the SWAC West.
Bethune-Cookman was in control for the entirety of the game, leading by 42-24 with 9:27 remaining in the third quarter.
From there, the Panthers put their foot on the gas, scoring 20 unanswered points to take their first lead of the game. They then followed up a Wildcats touchdown with two of their own, including a 21-yard fumble recovery return with 59 seconds left to seal the win.
This game was an offensive explosion, with both teams combining for 1,111 yards of total offense, including a combined 11 rushing touchdowns.
It took until the third quarter before a team was finally forced to punt the ball. Both teams were also perfect in the red zone turning all of their 11 possessions into points.
Chaos in the MEAC
The biggest shock of the weekend came with the defending conference champion South Carolina State suffering a 41-14 loss to Morgan State.
This is the first time South Carolina State has lost against a MEAC opponent since November 2019 and the first time they have lost to Morgan State since 2014.
North Carolina Central scored a touchdown in the final minute to secure a 28-21 victory over Delaware State Hornets.
This win puts North Carolina Central in second place, improving to 2-1 in the conference while Delaware State drops to 1-2.
At the top of the conference is Howard, who improved to 2-0 in the MEAC following a decisive 49-21 win against the Norfolk State Spartans. This is the first time Howard has won their first two conference games since 2012.
With three games remaining in the season, there is no telling what could happen in the MEAC down the stretch.
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