There are nationally-ranked HBCU teams in all four black college conferences as play moves into Week Four of the 2022 season.
Three of the teams are 3-0. One, Albany State is 2-1. All four will be looking to add to their great starts in games this weekend.
HBCU teams: Virginia Union in the CIAA
At 3-0, Virginia Union is the ranked team in the CIAA as the Trojans get ready to travel to 2-1 Fayetteville State Saturday (4 p.m.).
The Panthers, after a big win over nationally-ranked Valdosta State two weeks ago, moved into Div. II polls after their 42-6 win over Livingstone Saturday.
VUU vs. Fayetteville State
The game against FSU Saturday could certainly be a preview of the Nov. 12 CIAA Championship Game on November 12 in Salem, Va.
FSU is the four-time defending CIAA South Division champ and appears ready to make it five in a row. With three-time North Division and league champion Bowie State sitting at 1-2, VUU looks to be the North Division favorite.
VUU and FSU did not meet in 2021.
The player to watch is Div. II rushing leader Jada Byers of VUU. Byers currently leads D2 in rushing yards (616) and rushing yards per game (205.3). He is tied with teammate Curtis Allen and Jesse Sherwood of Southeast Minnesota State for the lead in rushing touchdowns with six.
Elsewhere in CIAA inter-divisional play Saturday Lincoln (Pa.) is at JC Smith (12 noon), Elizabeth City State visits Shaw and Bowie State visits St. Augustine’s (1 p.m.). Virginia State plays at Livingstone (4 p.m.) and Chowan entertains Winston-Salem State (6 p.m.).
HBCU teams: Jackson State in the SWAC
Jackson State didn’t move up but stayed at 11th in the AFCA and STATS Perform national FCS polls despite its blowout 66-24 home win over Grambling State Saturday.
JSU quarterback Shedeur Sanders threw for 359 yards and four TDs in the win over GSU. Three of the scoring throws went to wideout Dallas Daniels, a Western Illinois transfer.
Delaware State transfer running back Sy’veon Wilkerson had 141 rushing yards and two TDs for the Tigers. It was the second straight strong rushing performance by Wilkerson and the JSU offense. WIlkerson had 81 yards on 15 carries in the 16-3 win over Tennessee State.
Sanders has thrown for just under 1,000 yards, 955 in three games, an average of 318.6 per game. His passing yardage is fifth-best in the FCS while the passing yards per game is sixth. His ten passing TDs is tied for fourth nationally.
JSU vs. Mississippi Valley State
JSU stays home this week to face Mississippi Valley State (1 p.m., ESPN+).
Last season, MVSU head coach Vincent Dancy’s Delta Devils led JSU at the half and into the third quarter. The Tigers eventually pulled out a close 28-19 win. JSU head coach Deion Sanders said MVSU “had us on the ropes last year. I know they will be prepared.”
In other SWAC games Saturday, Grambling State travels to Bethune-Cookman (2 p.m., ESPN+), Prairie View A&M visits Alabama State (5 p.m.), Alabama A&M is at Florida A&M (6 p.m., ESPN+) and Alcorn State entertains Arkansas-Pine Bluff (6 p.m., HBCUGO/The Grio).
HBCU teams; NC Central in the MEAC
North Carolina Central (3-0), led by QB Davius “Pee Wee” Richard’s two rushing TD and a passing TD, vaulted into the FCS Top 25 after knocking off New Hampshire 45-27. UNH was in the Top 25, at 25th last week, in the FCS poll.
NCCU debuts at No. 25 in the STATS Perform poll but did not get into the AFCA Coaches poll.
Through three games, Richard has completed 63.6 percent of his passes (53 of 83) for 607 yards with four TDs and just one interception.
“Pee Wee (Richard), he’s outstanding,” NCCU head coach Trei Oliver said Monday on the MEAC Coaches Teleconference. “He continues to improve. The biggest thing I’m pleased with is how he takes care of the ball. We’re not turning the ball over.”
The Eagles have a winless but dangerous opponent as they host winless Virginia-Lynchburg Saturday (4 p.m., ESPN+).
Non-conference action in the MEAC also has Delaware State hosting Merrimack and Norfolk State hosting Saint Francis (on ESPN+) both at 2 p.m.
HBCU team: Albany State in the SIAC
Defending SIAC champ Albany State (2-1), with its only loss to Florida A&M, is 17th in the D2 poll and 20th in the AFCA poll.
In its 42-20 win over Shorter last week, QB Dionte Bonneau threw for 248 yards and two scores while RB Marcuis Fulks ran for 117 yards and a TD. Fulks, a 5-10, 180-pound junior, is averaging 5.8 yards per carry, 94.0 rushing yards per game and has scored four TDs.
Gabe Gardina’s Golden Rams of Albany State play at 1-1 Clark Atlanta Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN+).
In other SIAC games, Miles is at Central State (12 noon), Allen plays at Tuskegee (1 p.m.). Fort Valley State is at 3-0 but unranked. The Wilcats are at Bluefield State (1 p.m.). Edward Waters is at Lane and Savannah State is at Morehouse at 2 p.m., and Kentucky State is at 3-0 but unranked Benedict at 6 p.m.
Hampton is not ranked but is 3-0 headed into its big date at 3-0 Delaware (6 p.m.) of the CAA Saturday. Langston is 3-0 as it plays at Arkansas Baptist (7 p.m.) Saturday.
GAMES THIS WEEK
SEPTEMBER 24, 2022
Eddie McGirt Classic
Johnson C. Smith vs Lincoln in Charlotte, NC 12n
West Virginia State vs. Notre Dame (OH) in Institute, WV 12n
Tuskegee vs. Allen in Tuskegee, AL 1p
Bluefield State vs. Fort Valley State in Bluefield, WV 1p
Saint Augustine’s vs. Bowie State in Raleigh, NC 1p
Shaw vs. Elizabeth City State in Durham, NC 1p
Lane vs. Edward Waters in Jackson, TN 2p
Northeastern State vs. Lincoln (MO) in Tahlequah, OK 2p
Wayland Baptist vs Texas College in Plainview, TX 2p
Delaware State vs. Merrimack in Dover, DE 2p
Morehouse vs. Savannah State in Atlanta, GA 2p
Texas-San Antonio vs. Texas Southern in San Antonio, TX 2:30p
Fayetteville State vs. Virginia Union in Fayetteville, NC 4p
Livingstone vs. Virginia State in Salisbury, NC 4p
Alabama State vs. Prairie View A&M in Montgomery, AL 5p
Benedict vs. Kentucky State in Columbia, SC 6p
Chowan vs. Winston-Salem State in Murfeesboro, NC 6p
Arkansas Baptist vs. Langston in Little Rock, AR 7p
STREAMING OR TV GAMES
Central State vs Miles in Wilberforce, OH – ESPN+ 12n
Jackson State vs. Miss. Valley State in Jackson, MS – ESPN+ 1p
Bethune-Cookman vs. Grambling State in Daytona Beach, FL – ESPN+ 2p
Norfolk State vs. Saint Francis (PA) in Norfolk, VA – ESPN+ 2p
NC Central vs VA-Lynchburg in Durham, NC – ESPN+ 4p
Alcorn State vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff in Lorman, MS – HBCUGO 6p
Clark Atlanta vs. Albany State in Atlanta, GA – ESPN+ 6p
Delaware vs. Hampton in Newark, DE – FloSports 6p
Florida A&M vs. Alabama A&M in Tallahassee, FL – ESPN+ 6p
NC A&T vs. SC State in Greensboro, NC – ESPN+ 7p
Ranked HBCU teams looking for more