News and Notes Week 8: Kentucky State wins West, CIAA North Convoluted

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The theme for Week 8 in HBCU football was upsets.

It is debatable what the biggest upset was between FAMU/Hampton and Kentucky State/Tuskegee.  Probably the Kentucky State win over Tuskegee because Kentucky State win gives them the SIAC West title.

Homecoming for whatever reason has presented difficulties for the Golden Tigers the last two years.  Last year after the Golden Tigers had a 20-3 halftime lead, Miles came back to defeat Tuskegee 26-23 and ultimately go on to win the SIAC crown.  Two years ago, Tuskegee obliterated Kentucky State 38-9 during homecoming on its way to the 2014 SIAC championship.

But this is a different Kentucky State program led by head coach John L. Smith who is in his first season as head coach and has been a head coach at the highest level of college football including stops at Louisville, Michigan State and Arkansas.

Yes, that John L. Smith.

KSU is on a three-game winning streak having knocked of Fort Valley State, Miles and the Golden Tigers.

When looking at the stats, you would have to wonder how is KSU getting it done.  They are last or in the bottom half of every major statistical category.  But they are the least penalized team in the SIAC.  They also excel in the red zone, ranking second and lead the conference in red zone defense as opponents score only 61 percent of the time which is top 15 in Division II.

The Thorobreds are leading in the most important stat; they are 3-0 in the West and will appear on their first SIAC championship game.

Conversely, Florida A&M used its homecoming to its advantage in its 31-14 victory over Hampton.  The loss was devastating to the Pirates who were playing some good football and were regarded as having an outside shot at the MEAC crown.

For the first time since 2014, FAMU has won back-to-back games and have won three of their last four.  They come off their homecoming win and face two-time defending MEAC co-champion North Carolina A&T for its homecoming.

Like KSU, the Rattlers aren’t going to wow you statistically.  They were sound against Hampton, forcing three Pirate turnovers.  Redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Stanley completed 18-of-31 passes for 212 yards two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Virginia Union takes control of CIAA North
Last week’s BOXTOROW National Game of the Week saw Virginia Union defeat Bowie State 42-35 in a shootout.  BSU jumped out to a 21-0 lead, but behind the play of quarterback Shawheem Dowdy and the running of William Stanback the Panthers were able to come back.  Dowdy completed 17-of-25 passes for 284 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.  Stanback, who was named BOXTOROW National Player of the Week had 32 carries for 194 yards and three touchdowns.

The Panthers now have control in the CIAA North, but still have a ways to go to try and win the crown.  Elizabeth City State shocked Chowan 40-21 all but eliminating the Hawks and keeping themselves in the race.  VUU plays at Elizabeth City State next week, then ends its regular season at home against Virginia State.