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News and Notes from Week 7: Hall and Bowie State, Tennessee State continue to roll

The Bowie State Bulldogs passed major tests in back-to-back weeks, more recently defeating CIAA Northern Division rival Virginia State 38-37 on homecoming in Bowie, Md.

The Bulldogs found themselves down 37-20 with about 8:00 remaining in the third quarter.  Behind the play of quarterback Amir Hall’s two touchdown passes and Robert Chesson’s 24-yard touchdown run, the Bulldogs scored 18 unanswered points in about a 11-minute span, capped off by Hall’s two-yard touchdown run with 9:46 remaining in the fourth quarter.

VSU was having its way with a pretty solid BSU defense and scored its fifth touchdown of the afternoon on a Taryan Aires to Trenton Cannon 30-yard touchdown with 8:46 remaining in the third quarter.  From that point on the BSU defense did not allow any more points and held the Trojans to just 71 yards.  To that point, the Trojans had gained 334 yards.

Hall continues to be the leader for CIAA Player of the Year.  Remember, this is a young man essentially playing quarterback for the first time this year at the collegiate level.  He completed 25-of-36 passes for 332 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions and rushed for another touchdown.  He leads the conference in completion percentage (61.7), yards (2,363) and touchdowns (19).  His 2,363 yards passing ranks him fifth in Division II.

The win coupled by a Virginia Union loss has given the Bulldogs sole possession of first-place in the North.  Last week the Bulldogs defeated Chowan 21-14 on the road.

It doesn’t get any easier for BSU as the Bulldogs take on Virginia Union in Richmond on Saturday.  Last year’s game essentially decided the North as Bowie State won 23-19.  This year’s game could go a long way towards deciding the division champion.

Tennessee State ranked in top 25
TSU continues to have an impressive season as the Tigers get a homecoming victory, holding on to defeat Eastern Kentucky 35-28.  The Tigers remain No. 3 in both the BOXTOROW Coaches and Media Polls and enter the FCS Polls for the first time this season at No. 25.

Despite giving up 584 yards or total offense to EKU, it was the Tigers defense that was the key.  TSU forced five Colonel turnovers, four of which were interceptions.  Cornerback Ezra Robinson had two interceptions including a 93-yard return for a touchdown in the second quarter which put the Tigers up 21-0.  Perhaps the biggest pick of the day came as EKU was driving late to try and tie the game.  With the Colonels having the ball first and 10 from the TSU 17 with about :15 remaining, Bennine Coney’s pass was intercepted by Chris Collins at the nine yard-line, sealing the victory for the Tigers.

The Tigers are now 5-1 on the season, 2-1 in OVC play and step outside of conference play on Saturday to take on SEC foe Vanderbilt in a game that will be nationally televised on ESPNU.

Bethune-Cookman remains winless
The Wildcats were picked to finish second in the MEAC by the coaches and sports information directors yet have not won a football game.  Part of the problem is due to injury as 12 different starters have missed some time this year.

B-CU’s latest loss came at the hands of North Carolina A&T 52-37 in Daytona Beach.  The Wildcats didn’t look like a winless football team and had the Aggies on the ropes having leads twice in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Larry Brihm who is one of those who had gone down with injury played well, completing 23-of-42 passes for 376 yards and four touchdowns.  He threw a critical interception with about 9:00 remaining in the fourth quarter which A&T linebacker Jeremy Taylor returned 24 yards for a touchdown putting the Aggies in front 45-35.

The Wildcats season got off to an inauspicious start when its game against Alcorn State in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge was canceled in the first half due to sever lightning.  B-CU then played a respectable game against FBS opponent North Texas, falling 41-20.  The next week, the Wildcats fell to Tennessee State 31-24.

The worse loss of the season came the following week against Savannah State 16-10 in overtime.  It was only the third win for SSU since joining the MEAC in 2011.

Furthermore, Hurricane Matthew forced B-CU’s game last week against South Carolina State to me moved to the end of the season (Nov. 26) and the game against A&T that was played on Saturday, was originally supposed to have been played on Thursday.

B-CU will look to take some of what they were able to do that was positive in the game against N.C. A&T to Norfolk, VA on Saturday and try to get its first win of the season against an NSU team that that has lost five-straight, but is coming off a bye week.