HBCU Headliners: Week Three’s Must-See Games

Jackson State and Tennessee State will face off in the Southern Heritage Classic on Saturday. (Commercial Appeal photo)

Jackson State vs. Tennessee State

Headlined as the Southern Heritage Classic, both teams enter this match up looking for their first winning streak of the season. Tennessee State had its way with Florida A&M last week, picking up a relatively easy 27-7 win in Tallahassee. Jackson State found itself in a dogfight with SWAC East rival Alabama State, but survived 30-23.
This game features two of the top cornerbacks in not only Black College Football, but FCS football as well: Jackson State’s Qua Cox and Tennessee State’s Steven Godbolt. It also marks the return of quarterback Mike German, who was suspended for the first two games of the season after legal and academic troubles. He’s listed as the backup to freshman Ron Butler, but don’t be surprised if you see him take over at some point in this game.

Many HBCU “classics” don’t really live up to that title. But if both these teams put their best foot forward, it’s possible we could have one on our hands. These are two of the titans of black college football. Both are seeking to return to the level of success they attained when Hall of Fame coach John Merritt roamed their sidelines. Tennessee State owns the all-time record in this series by a margin of 24-20-1. \

Isaiah Crowell and Alabama State are still searching for their firs win of the season. (Montgomery Advertiser) 

Alabama State at UAPB
It may be early in the season, but it’s not much of a stretch to call this a desperation game for both Alabama State and UAPB. Despite being picked to win their respective SWAC divisions, these teams enter this contest 0-2, with ASU already 0-1 in conference play.
The game will feature many of the SWAC’s top individual talents. For Alabama State, the key man is running back Isaiah Crowell, the former SEC Rookie of The Year at Georgia. UAPB will need a strong performance from quarterback Ben Anderson, the conference’s preseason Offensive Player of The Year.
Tuskegee at Albany State
After taking care of D1 rival Alabama A&M last week, Tuskegee will take on SIAC foe Albany State this week. (Hunstsville Times photo)

Tuskegee at Albany State

As with the SWAC, this contest pits the predicted winner of East and West Divisions in an early season matchup. Albany State put together a big time comeback against North Greenville last week before a last second field goal handed them a 26-24 loss. Tuskegee comes into the game riding high off a season opener in which it made the SWAC’s Alabama State look like it was the team from the lower division.

One matchup to watch will be Tuskegee quarterback Justin Nared (3 touchdowns over AAMU) against the Albany State defense, led by D2 All-American candidate Dexter Moody.

Bethune-Cookman will be looking for a win over FBS opponent Florida International (Miami Herald photo)

Bethune-Cookman at FIU 

One of the big stories this season has been FCS teams beating FBS teams. The MEAC and SWAC have yet to pull off such a win, but defending MEAC champion Bethune-Cookman has perhaps the conference’s best shot at pulling off an upset over a team from college football’s top division this week. BCU will travel head south to Miami to take on Florida International, a member of the FBS’s Sunbelt Conference.

BCU actually enters the game as a three point favorite over FIU. When was the last time an FCS HBCU could say that? BCU enters the game 2-0, with wins against FCS foe Tennessee State and D2 Virginia Union. And though FIU (0-2) is one of the weaker FBS teams in the country, it would still be a major victory for the Wildcats.

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