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SWAC Blogger Picks: Week Seven

(Photo Courtesy: On The Yard SU)
By Robert Harris HBCU Gameday SWAC Blogger
Southern vs. Jackson State

This is a matchup of two teams coming off their bye weeks, with Southern having even more time to prepare with an additional bye week. The keys to this matchup will be Jaguars star running back Lenard Tillery versus the top-ranked rushing defense in Jackson State allowing 125 yards per game. Preston Hughes leads the way for that unit with 25 stops. Tillery has dominated in every game this season averaging 125 yards per game, will the Tigers stop him in his tracks? 

The other matchup in this game will be JSU starting quarterback Brent Lyles versus the #1 passing defense in Southern allowing 186 yards per game. Lyles has not seen a secondary led by Danny Johnson of Southern before, Johnson leads the SWAC with four interceptions this season and he has returned one for a touchdown. Southern has an offense that, when it’s going, no one in the SWAC can stop. Its Big Three, quarterback Austin Howard, Tillery, Willie Quinn, are tough to stop individually and as a group.PREDICTION: Southern 49, Jackson State 21

(Photo Courtesy: On The Yard SU)

Mississippi Valley State vs. Alabama State

These two SWAC East teams suffered tough losses last week with Alabama State losing in overtime to Prairie View 24-17, and Mississippi Valley State lost to Montana 67-7. The key to this matchup will be the Hornets running back Khalid Thomas against the Delta Devils defense. Thomas is leading the SWAC in rushing this season with 530 yards, and the MSVS allows over 175 yards on the ground. If the Delta Devils cannot contain Thomas it will be a long day for that defense.

PREDICTION: Alabama State 40, Mississippi Valley State 13

Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. Alabama A&M

This matchup is pretty tricky because both of these teams have a four-game losing streak heading into this game. Alabama A&M lost their homecoming game to Alcorn State by a score of 42-19. The Bulldogs allowed the Braves to score 26 unanswered points on them in the second half of the game, when it was tied up at 16-16 heading into halftime. The key matchup to look for in this game will Arkansas-Pine Bluff quarterback Brandon Duncan versus the AAMU pass defense, which ranks dead last in the SWAC with 482 yards per game. Duncan has a very underrated receiving core with Willie Young (34 catches for 478 yards and 3 TDs), Cody Swain (34 catches for 389 yards), and John Hawkins (22 catches  for 235 yards, 2 TDs) which those guys are ranked in the top 10 in the SWAC for receiving this year. Duncan could have another break out game like when he threw for over 500 yards against Alcorn State earlier this season.

PREDICTION: Arkansas-Pine Bluff 35, Alabama A&M 20  

Texas Southern vs. Alcorn State

Is Alcorn State ready to reclaim its throne and take over the SWAC East?? Alcorn State dominated Alabama A&M Bulldogs 42-19 in Huntsville, Alabama. Alcorn quarterback LeNorris Footman return to rare form where he scored five total touchdowns (two passing, three rushing). The key to this matchup is going to be how will Texas Southern defense defend Footman? He is so explosive especially in the read option formation, and TxSO ranks third in total defense allowing 374 yards per game. Since this is Alcorn’s homecoming game you can expect them to come out with a lot of fire power in this matchup!

PREDICTION: Alcorn State 35, Texas Southern 28

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