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CSN MEAC Review: There Can Be Only One
By Paul L. Thorpe, CSN MEAC Review Columnist
Orangeburg, SC is definitely in what I would consider a low elevation, however, for the second year in a row SC State plays the role of “Highlander” and they have been crowned MEAC champs (with one week to spare). The Bulldogs are virtually guaranteed a home game in the FCS playoffs, however, a win this week against border rival NCA&T and a little help from some CAA teams give SC State a real shot at the #4 seed. Florida A&M still have a distant chance to capture a FCS playoff at large berth, however, last week’s loss to Hampton will not sit well with the selection committee.
Bethune-Cookman – 21 at Howard – 10 11/14 @ 1:00
The Wildcats came away with another important win during a season saving push that has seen the team go from 4 straight losses to now winning 5 out of the last 6 games. This win has brought Bethune to an even record of 5-5 overall (4-3 conference) for the year. Two touchdowns scored early in the first quarter paved the road to a decisive Bethune-Cookman win. Bethune’s “Wyattbone” Option offense was implemented with a running by committee approach, with Jameil Mcleod, Daniel Rhodes, and Fred McCaskill each receiving several rushing attempts and each of them scoring touchdowns.
Norfolk State – 21 at Delaware State – 16 11/14 @ 1:00
Norfolk State showed the heart of a lion in the fourth quarter of this game to score three touchdowns in a row to walk away with a win. My prediction that DSU would win this game came close to fruition as they held Norfolk scoreless through the beginning of the fourth quarter. Dennis Brown made up for his 2 interceptions by throwing 2 touchdowns and leading his team down the field for a 77 yard scoring drive to seal the win with less than 49 seconds left in the game. On defense, NSU’s Terrell Whitehead disrupted the DSU passing attack and padded his career statistics with 2 interceptions in this game. Mr. Whitehead is looking to use his productive career at NSU as a launching pad to the NFL.
Florida A&M – 0 at Hampton – 25 11/14 @ 1:00
This loss really messed up my status predicting outcomes in the MEAC. I have not done the math but I think I am around 80% accurate on wins/losses and at least 25-50% correct on point spreads. Games like this come around and it totally screws up your predictions and all your schemes and plans as a sports writer. My only real complaint about FAMU this year has been that star QB Curtis Pulley has accounted for about 75% of the offense (throwing and running the ball). This past weekend FAMU’s strength became their weakness as Mr. Pulley left the game with a groin injury.
In truth this game basically came down to injuries and unfortunately for the Rattlers all of the injuries were on their side. In addition to Curtis Pulley, second string Quarterback, Eddie Battle, left the game with a shoulder injury. To compound matters further, three starting receivers, Kevin Elliott, Adrian Smith, and Isaac West also left the game hurt Hampton’s head coach, Donovan Rose showed true killer instinct by not only winning the game but making it look worse than it was by running up the score in a shutout. FAMU’s coach Joe Taylor is a Black College legend so for Mr. Rose to get a win on him (no matter the circumstances) in his first attempt speaks volumes. Additionally this win allows Hampton to move on and say they are just as good as when Big Joe left their program to move over to FAMU two years ago.
Morgan State – 13 at South Carolina State – 37 11/14 @ 1:30
The guys from O’burg rolled past another MEAC opponent showcasing their talent to the nation. The Bulldog’s Quarterback, Malcolm Long, had another superstar outing by passing for 319 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. Mr. Long gets my vote for MEAC Offensive player of the year as he has taken commanding leadership of the offense in his Junior year. His favorite target Oliver “Tre” Young caught 6 passes for 166 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tre was a busy bee in this game since he also showcased his skills as a kick and punt returner. Rounding out the SC State triple threat, star Runningback Will Ford got 107 yards rushing off 20 carries. Just for kicks and giggles SC State coach Pough let Mr. Ford also return one kick.
The Bulldog defense performed admirably and did not allowing MSU to score for the entire second and third quarter. The defense SC State frustrated the offensive rhythm of their opponent by snatching two interceptions from Morgan’s starting QB, Carlton Jackson. This year there can be only one MEAC champion and with the injuries that FAMU has sustained there will probably be only one team in the FCS playoffs.
COMMENTS ON THIS COLUMN
After I submit these articles it feels like I have just sent a child into the world that I never hear from again. This week was different because I actually got two corrections from a reader. I made two big mistakes regarding the bands and it was nice to get a correction from another MEAC fan. As a follow-up, I would appreciate if any readers with facebook accounts could “friend” me. I am on facebook under the name “MEAC Review”. The purpose of the account is so I can start tracking my loyal MEAC crew. I started writing this column because I believed that the MEAC was being misrepresented in the FCS. My goal is to be able to definitize the fan support for the MEAC to the people that write negative press about the conference and facebook seems like the best means to that end at the present time.